Laurie D. Pullins, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made her Seen & Heard profile debut in the July/August 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which just arrived in member mailboxes. Laurie is also the cover feature author for this issue. She had already signed up for the Seen & Heard column before we approached her to write her feature, and her answers were so interesting that we included her Seen & Heard profile as well! Seen & Heard is a new column I developed for the magazine in 2011 and we had 48 members get enthusiastically involved in our first outreach effort! During Convention 2012 in Providence last month, I photographed 21 new profile subjects. We’ll be publishing one or two profiles (as space allows) in each issue of the bimonthly magazine.
Join the Hearing Loss Association of America!
Do you have a hearing loss or know someone who does? Consider membership in the Hearing Loss Association of America. Student annual dues are $20, individual annual dues are $35, and family/couple annual dues are $45. Fees outside the U.S. are slightly higher. All memberships include discounts on hearing-related products, convention and special event early bird discounts, AVIS and Alamo car rental, and the award-winning Hearing Loss Magazine. Sign up for membership here.
LAURIE D. PULLINS Maryville, TN / born April 1, 1957 in Columbus, OH
MY HEARING LOSS… My hearing loss was discovered at the age of two. There was no real explanation for it or a family history of hearing loss. I wore hearing aids for 40+ years and received my first cochlear implant in August of 2005 and my second in January 2007.
SAGE ADVICE… There is no better time than today to be deaf or hard of hearing. It is not the end of the world and there are so many options and services available today compared to 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Technology is improving by leaps and bounds, making it possible to hear in different ways through hearing aids and cochlear implants. Most importantly, surround yourself with a strong support system. Advocate for yourself or your family member who has the hearing loss.
FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENTS… #1: Shortly after my hearing loss was discovered, I started therapy in Buffalo’s Children’s Hospital first and then transferred to Ohio State University’s program after my parents were relocated. The room where I had therapy was in a highrise building (don’t remember how many floors up). While my mother and therapist were discussing my latest therapy session, I climbed out the window and sat on the ledge, looking at the activity and passersby below me. Needless to say, I caused some anxiety for my mother and therapist and it was a challenge for them to get me back in the room off that ledge! #2: Forgetting to tell my husband that I set my Sonic Boom Alarm clock for the first time. I had to pry him off the ceiling the next morning! #3: I attended my first HLAA Convention in Oklahoma City with Jennifer Thorpe and we were roommates. Neither one of us had shared a room with a deaf person before. The first morning, I woke up before she did so I made sure I was quiet as I got dressed, tiptoeing around the room, not making a sound. She did the same for me when she got up before me. A day or two later we both realized, “Duh! Neither one of us can hear with our “ears” off as we sleep!” We could make all the noise we wanted and not wake each other up. We have laughed about that so many times.
WHEN I WAS LITTLE I WANTED TO BE A… dental hygienist. Today my passion is to “pay it forward” and help others with hearing loss.
FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… I remember swinging in a handmade swing in a big maple tree on my grandparents’ farm. I would swing for hours as high as I could over the garden and sing a song that was actually a poem “How do you like to go up in a swing, up in the air so blue…” I loved spending time with both sets of my grandparents on their farms.
THE BEST GIFT I EVER GOT… was the gift of time from my best friend, Dawn. When I got the call that my mother had slipped into a coma after a short battle with pancreatic cancer, Dawn helped me pack my suitcase and said, “Just go be with your mother. I will take care of your family for you.” She took care of our four children plus her own three (all the kids were between the ages of 2–11) for eight days so I could spend my mother’s last days with her. I love to be with people and the gift of time is always special to me.
THE FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY WAS… contact lenses. I wore glasses starting in third grade and wanted contact lenses so bad. My parents told me that if I saved $100, they would pay the rest. So, I saved my babysitting money and got my contacts at the age of 15.
THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE WAS… returning to college while working and raising a family of four children.
I LOVE THE SOUND OF… music, the little voice of my grandson, the wind softly blowing through the trees, the sounds of the birds—just to name a few.
IN MY SPARE TIME I… love to write and read. I also love quilting, sewing, gardening, ballroom dancing, reading and knitting.
I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT… bored.
I MISS… my mother.
HAPPINESS IS… being loved and accepted.
MUSICALLY INCLINED… piano, hand bells, recorder
DO YOU SPEAK ANY LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH? Yes, a little bit of Latvian (just the basics). I’ve gone to Latvia several times on mission trips.
WHO HAS HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE IN YOUR LIFE? My mother was my best friend, prayer partner and confidant, and understood me better than anyone else.
PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… used to go deer hunting.
MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT IS… synchronized swimming.
FAVORITE PLACE TO BE… Every year I escape to my aunt’s house in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, for a week-long sabbatical away from my obligations and family. We talk, eat, sleep and quilt to our heart’s content. “Gilead” means “healing waters” and this place is a “healing place” for me.
I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… crème brûlée, my favorite dessert.
I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… Heather Whitestone McCallum.
I COLLECT… anything related to the Drummer Boy.
PLACES I’VE CALLED HOME… Ohio, Florida, Idaho, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Tennessee
WORKING NINE TO FIVE… dental assistant, department store manager, bank teller, information technology assistant, accountant
FAVORITE TUNES… Amazing Grace, Annie’s Song by John Denver, Colour My World (Chicago), Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin), Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel), Christian music, Loving You Forever (Carole King)
ON MY BOOKSHELF… The Bible, Heaven is for Real, Ken Follett books, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, James Patterson books
ON THE BIG SCREEN… I love any movie with Denzel Washington or Morgan Freeman (Book of Eli, Hurricane, etc.), The Sound of Music, Shall We Dance, The Ten Commandments, The Chronicles of Narnia series and Harry Potter movies.
THE LAST BOOK I READ WAS… Ken Follett’s World Without End and The Hunger Games.
I AM… loving, encouraging and industrious.
MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME… to hear and to communicate, that I could do anything that I put my mind to, and she encouraged me to try new things.
MY FATHER TAUGHT ME… how to play Scrabble and card games.
GET ANYTHING GOOD IN THE MAIL LATELY? My aunt sent me some old letters that my mother had written years ago.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD? The World Wide Web and technology (cell phones, Bluetooth, etc.) enables the deaf and hard of hearing to be “connected” to the outside world.
I HAVE A FEAR OF… bridges.
I REALLY SHOULD STOP… procrastinating.
I REALLY SHOULD START… spending more time with my grandchildren.
WORD OR PHRASE I OVERUSE… “Bless Your Heart” (it’s a southern thing!)
I HAVE THE UNCANNY ABILITY TO… misplace everything.
I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… my cochlear implants or my glasses!
SONG YOU LOVE BUT ARE EMBARRASSED TO ADMIT TO… “Popcorn”—I used to listen to this all the time back in the
70s. It really sounds like popcorn popping!
NAME SOMETHING YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOME THAT YOU ARE SURE MOST PEOPLE DON’T… Latgale pottery from Latvia (bowl and plates)—they are my favorite pieces
MY THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS… are my cell phone, computer, and my favorite chair.
MY LATEST OBSESSION… is ballroom dancing.
MY FAVORITE QUOTE… “As long as I live I’ll always hear birds, waterfalls, and winds sing.” —John Muir
MY MOTTO IS… “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.” In other words, we should listen more than we talk!
MY LONG-TERM GOAL… is to retire and build an energy efficient “green home” in the Smoky Mountains.
MY SHORT-TERM GOAL… is to take photography classes at our local community college.
I LOVE… my husband, Steve Pullins. He has a great sense of humor and is a calming influence on me and others around him. He is my best friend and dance partner for life!
MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS… our four children.
I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED… as a kind, loving, and giving Christian woman making a small difference in someone’s life.
Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.