Hearing Loss Association of American (HLAA) member Brenda Schmidt is our first Seen & Heard profile in the September/October 2016 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by HLAA. We’ve been Facebook friends for awhile but I finally got to meet and photograph her at HLAA Convention 2016 in Washington, D.C. this past June!
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BRENDA SCHMIDT / Naperville, Illinois / Born January 20 in Columbus, Ohio
I LEARNED ABOUT HLAA… I work in the field of education for individuals with hearing loss.
THE BEST THING ABOUT HLAA CONVENTIONS IS… being around people who are experiencing similar life challenges. We rarely find others in the same situation nearby.
MY HEARING LOSS… I was about four years old when my parents started questioning whether I had a hearing loss. I was diagnosed at the age of seven, which was back in 1970. The first sound I heard with my new hearing aid was my footsteps on the ground. I had so many questions—‘What’s that sound? What’s that sound?’ I still do this today. With each improvement in technology I am hearing sounds for the first time, even at my age. The last new sound I heard was a hummingbird in my garage. I thought, ’Oh that’s why they are called hummingbirds!’ I was amazed!
SAGE ADVICE… do not try to fake your way through situations where you are having a
hard time communicating. Be honest and let people know you need them to speak up, repeat or rephrase. It’s all about having a sense of humor about the situation.
A FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… I was a cashier at a local drugstore in my town. A lady came to the counter and said something and smiled. I responded with, ‘Yes it is, isn’t it?’ thinking she had said, “It’s a beautiful day outside.” She had a confused expression as she walked out, so I asked a colleague what happened. The colleague told me she actually said, “You have such beautiful red hair!”
WHAT ACTOR WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE? I most identify with Lucille Ball because of her red hair and the predicaments she got herself in. I’m always finding myself in predicaments.
MY BEST VACATION EVER WAS… Cancun and swimming with the dolphins.
SOMEONE REALLY NEEDS TO DESIGN A BETTER… captioning service for cell phones that can be used at any time. I wish there was an app or device that could take spoken language and put it into print, accurately and in real-time.
I RECENTLY LEARNED… how to make infographics. All technology fascinates me.
THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… was say goodbye to my father, who passed away last December.
PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… am a talented memorizer of names of people and phone numbers.
I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… Cheetos.
I COLLECT… dust bunnies.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO OVER? I would probably do my high school career over and try even harder than I did with the hearing loss challenges I faced. I would be more of a self-advocate for my needs.
FIVE PLACES I HAVE LIVED… Ohio, Texas, California, Illinois, and Michigan
FIVE JOBS I HAVE HAD… specialized children’s shoe fitter, drugstore clerk, pharmacy technician, teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, and special education administrator
I AM… positive, cheerful, and optimistic.
MY FRIENDS WOULD SAY I AM… warm, a good listener, and empathetic.
BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD IS… my Bluetooth streamer for my hearing aids.
NAME SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOME THAT YOU ARE SURE MOST PEOPLE DON’T… ghost hunting paraphernalia
MY THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS ARE… my animals, my hearing aids, and my comfy pajamas.
MY FAVORITE QUOTE… I am famous for messing up quotes and making my own. One of them is, ‘You are walking on thin eggs.’
EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS? Minnie Pearl, Charlie Daniels, and Lloyd Bridges
I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED… as a kind person who was considerate of others.
MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… is overcoming challenges with hearing loss
and showing the world I can’t be stopped by that barrier.
I love articles in Hearing Loss Magazine about access to communication
for people with hearing loss. I wish there was more info for us!