HLAA member Ettalois (Lois) Johnson

2 05 2010

The May/June 2010 Hearing Loss Magazine (which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America) features Ettalois (Lois) Johnson, an HLAA member. Lois began her career as a public librarian then went back to school to get her master’s degree in Library Science from Sam Houston State University in Texas. While in graduate school, she decided to become a school librarian. She has served as secretary, co-president, vice-president and committee volunteer for her local HLAA Chapter in Houston. In 2000 she became the first state director of the newly-formed Texas State Office. She is now the Texas state director of the organization. I met and photographed Lois in Nashville last year at HLAA’s annual convention.

Excerpt from A Journey Into the World of Hearing Loss:

Lois Johnson is a native New Yorker born and raised in the South Bronx and has lived in Huntsville, Alabama, and Wiesbaden, Germany. She has lived in Texas for the past 28 years, raising a family, furthering her education, and learning how to live with hearing loss, and in turn, helping others do the same. 

For the past 20 years, Lois has suffered from Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance to varying degrees. It is characterized by episodes of dizziness and tinnitus and progressive hearing loss, usually in one ear. It is named after the French physician Prosper Ménière, who first reported that vertigo was caused by inner ear disorders in an article published in 1861. The condition affects people differently; it can range in intensity from being a mild annoyance to a chronic, lifelong disability. 

Lois is soft-spoken, but don’t let that fool you. She is the epitome of the expression “still waters run deep.” She is a stalwart in Texas, working on behalf of people with hearing loss. However, when asked how she has survived hearing loss, a heart attack, and a hurricane, she says, “I have three wonderful kids (and two grandkids) who have been such a great help to me in this past year and a half—and have been very supportive during my journey into the world of hearing loss.”

This issue also features an article titled, Hurricanes and Hearing Loss: Surviving the Storm, by Lise Hamlin, HLAA’s Director of Public Policy. The article chronicles Lois Johnson’s harrowing experience when Hurricane Ike hit Houston in 2008. Her home was badly damaged during the storm. Hamlin’s article offers tips for emergency preparedness and is followed by an article titled, FEMA’s Are You Ready? Guide on Hurricanes. This document can also be found on FEMA’s website here.

HLAA’s Convention 2010 is June 17-20 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!
Milwaukee is more than just the beer capital of the country, it is a beautiful city along the shores of Lake Michigan filled with amazing architecture, parks, museums, shopping, world-class restaurants, and of course breweries. But it’s the people there—the Midwestern friendliness abounds among people whose ancestors came from Germany, Ireland, Poland and many other countries. According to one HLAA member, the convention is a “transforming experience,” so come to Convention 2010 and be inspired! Learn more about Convention 2010 on HLAA’s convention page here.

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