For many of us who live with the challenges of hearing loss, the notion that one can live well with constraints on our ability to effortlessly participate in listening and understanding might seem like quite a stretch!
With a little bit of luck, however, many of us are able to find the resources that are available to help us develop the skills and attitudes that are the foundation of living well. Access to hearing healthcare professionals who provide best practices – and to the opportunities offered by hearing loss consumer and support groups – can make all the difference.
For many of us, Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) has been the life-changing discovery that has made a critical difference in our ability to learn to live well.
On these pages, people with with hearing loss offer their stories.
Rocky founded SHHH in 1979, serving as its volunteer executive director until 1993. Having overcome the challenge of childhood poverty and a profound hearing loss, Rocky believed in the ability of individuals to help themselves.
It was a history-making moment on Dancing with the Stars as Nyle DiMarco became the first deaf contestant to take home the mirror ball trophy.
DiMarco was the show’s first deaf contestant, and said he had never danced until he started training for the series. “In the beginning, I was definitely scared,” he said, using sign language. “I didn’t want to be off time and mess up the dance and people would assume deaf people can’t dance.” He is one of 25 people deaf people in his family, he said. But the genetic condition has never left him feeling less than equal to his hearing counterparts. “I am very happy the way I am,” he said.
Jan Blustein serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is a professor of health policy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and a professor of medicine and population health at the NYU Medical School. Her research focuses on issues related to elderly hearing loss.
THE HEARSTRONG MISSION recognizes the accomplishments of those who have overcome hearing loss.
Prolific hearing loss educator and advocate, Barbara Johnson has touched the lives of countless people by sharing her knowledge about hearing loss management and showing people in the workplace the skills and models for creating accessible environments.
Ed Grogan is living well with hearing loss as he learns to listen with his cochlear implant with the help of auditory training.
Gael Hannan, pictured here with MA Commissioner for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Heidi Reed, is a very funny woman. She is also a force for hearing loss advocacy. As an author and performer, as as editor of a popular blog on Hearing Health and Technology Matters, Gael explores every corner of the hearing loss life with humor and poignancy.
Sarah Honigfeld is a young adult who is on the road to creating a rich professional and personal life – and who happens to have a hearing loss.
Among her many roles and interests, Sue Schy is an athlete, mother, nurse practitioner and HLAA Boston Chapter Secretary.
Holly Cohen is past president of the New York City chapter of HLAA. Holly She is an avid theater goer – and an advocate for captioning in theaters through the Theater Development Fund. Holly coaches persons with and without hearing loss on issues related to employment. She will be presenting a workshop on practices to reduce hearing loss stigma at the 2016 HLAA Convention in Washington, D.C.
Stu Nunnery is a writer, composer, singer, musician, recording artist, actor and activist from Rhode Island. He writes for HearingLikeMe.com on the Phonak website.
Stu has a special kinship and interest in musicians and singers with hearing loss, but writes on a variety of hearing issues from his 34 years experience with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. He has hearing in one ear and sight in one eye, which makes for interesting sensory challenges from time to time. He hopes he will be of help, hope and inspiration to those of whom he affectionately calls the “hearing lost.”
Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Health Foundation and Hearing Loss Association of America. In 2015 she was named a HearStrong Champion for her work to change the stigma surrounding hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing loss. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Pianist, scholar, and person with hearing loss are among the many roles that HLAA member Nancy Williams lives as she pursues her passion at the piano.
Betsy McCarthy is a corporate librarian in Boston where she helps her firm and their clients with their research and information needs. She serves HLAA Boston chapter as treasurer and is Vice-Chair for the Statewide Advisory Council for the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Betsy also serves as Chair of the Legislative Task Force subcommittee. She is a past board member for the state chapter of AGBell where she ran the Bell’s Kids program for hard-of-hearing 8-12 year-olds. Betsy is also a member of the Deaf Catholic Council for the Deaf Apostolate in the Boston Archdiocese. She is an avid Red Sox fan and enjoys walking around Boston. Betsy has a severe-profound hearing loss due to life-saving but ototoxic medication after contracting bacterial meningitis as a toddler and wears digital hearing aids. She is conversational in ASL.
After her children were in school Carol Agate returned to college for a law degree. She worked as a prosecutor and defense attorney, a law clerk to the chief justice of the high court of American Samoa, and a clinical professor at Loyola Law School. As a volunteer lawyer for the ACLU she went to the US Supreme Court on the case that got women admitted to Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs. Her final 21 years was as an administrative law judge in California.