Seen & Heard: Mike Gannon

6 09 2016

Mike Gannon is our other Seen & Heard profile in the September/October 2016 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). I met and photographed him at HLAA Convention 2016 in Washington, D.C. this past June. Mike is an inspirational speaker, motivational trainer, success coach and CEO of Fit for Success in Northern Virginia. His book, If These Ears Could Sing! The Living Law of Attraction in Action, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

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.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

S&H Mike Gannon

MIKE GANNON / Reston, Virginia / Born October 9 in Livonia, Michigan

MY HEARING LOSS… I was born profoundly deaf in both ears and wore very crude hearing aids (in the 1960s as a child). I never learned to sign, but learned to speak and read lips to communicate.

FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT…  At the first birthday party I attended at age five, I observed all the kids moving their lips at the same time and I knew you were not supposed to speak when others were talking. It seemed like they were all saying the same thing. In actuality, they were singing “Happy Birthday.”

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY…  Being the only deaf child in the school I attended,
I performed in the school choir with no one in the audience guessing I lip synced.

THE BEST GIFT I EVER GOT… my cochlear implants at age 40

THE FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY WAS… Arnold Schwarzenegger’s
first edition of Muscle and Fitness.

BEST ROAD TRIP EVER WAS… my trip to the Grand Canyon, where I heard the echo
of my own voice for the very first time

I LOSE ALL TRACK OF TIME WHEN I’M… coaching my clients.

MY LIFE IN CHAPTERS… A Prelude to Sound, If These Ears Could Sing, and Song Without
End (which happen to be actual chapters in my book, If These Ears Could Sing).

PETS? I have 19-year-old cat who believes I am her designated servant, which of course I am.

THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE WAS… to understand at age nine that my little brother who died from complications during heart surgery was never coming back.

I LOVE THE SOUNDS OF… nature—especially hearing geese flying over the lake at dusk.

FIVE PLACES I’VE LIVED… Michigan, Connecticut, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and in my imagination

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… a dash of Bailey’s Irish Cream and Kahlua in my morning coffee—to honor my heritage, of course.

MUSICALLY INCLINED? I play the drums, keyboard and create music on the computer.

FIVE JOBS I’VE HAD… author, personal trainer/nutritionist, hypnotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner, success and life coach

GET ANYTHING GOOD IN THE MAIL LATELY? Notice of my last mortgage payment

FAVORITE PLACE TO BE… on my deck at sunset with a cold beer

HAPPINESS IS… connecting each morning to sound. Thank you, bionic ears!

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… being a relentless questioner.

I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT… a recluse or an introvert.

I AM… unrelenting, introspective and purposeful.

MY FRIENDS SAY I AM… the energizer bunny!

I REALLY SHOULD STOP… listening to my inner critic.

I REALLY SHOULD START… taking the advice others pay me for.

WORDS I OVERUSE… drop down and give me 20

I HAVE A FEAR OF… losing electricity and being unable to recharge my batteries for my implants.

THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD IS… more of it!

IF I RULED THE WORLD… there would be no calories.

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS… being able to speak as well as any hearing person.

I was amazed at the innovations that were showcased at HLAA Convention 2016. I stand in awe of the dedicated professionals who continue to give of their time and energy in service to others and making the world of sound richer than ever before.





Seen & Heard: Brenda Schmidt

6 09 2016

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!

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.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

S&H Brenda Schmidt

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!

 





Seen & Heard: Chameen Stratton

7 09 2015

Chameen Stratton is our Seen & Heard profile in the September/October issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which I design bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). I photographed Chameen at Convention 2014 in Austin, TX.

Chameen S&H

CHAMEEN STRATTON

Denver, Colorado / Born March 10, grew up in Freemont, California

“The HLAA Convention is one of my absolute favorites to attend! HLAA provides a unique experience that brings together people of all ages with one thing in common—hearing loss. I like the resources, the communication access and the people!”

CHAMEEN, WHY ARE YOU WEARING A COWBOY HAT? They just put it on my head for the Seen & Heard photo, no special reason other than we are shooting this photo in Austin, Texas at HLAA Convention 2014.

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT HLAA? through working at Sprint

MY HEARING LOSS… I was born without any signs of hearing loss. Around age two my parents noticed that I wasn’t responding to them or any loud sounds when my back was to them. Even after several visits to various doctors the results were the same: my hearing was fine and that I was ‘just a kid being selective to what I responded to.’ My parents didn’t agree and took me to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, CA. The doctors administered a BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test. The results surprised the doctors and my parents. I had a 90 dB loss in my right ear and a 70 dB loss in my left. I was fitted for my first hearing aid shortly after.

Back then (late 1970s) no one knew why I had experienced a hearing loss. Genetics and pregnancy complications were ruled out immediately. Overall I was a healthy child so it was puzzling to many as to what caused my hearing loss. In 2004, I met with an ENT who administered some tests and diagnosed Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome, one of the most common inner ear deformities which results in hearing loss during childhood.

WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL? I communicated well using my hearing aid—sitting in the front of classrooms and didn’t use any special services. It wasn’t until I went to college at California State University, Northridge, that I began to use note takers, CART, services and, once in a while, sign language interpreters.

ANY CHANGES IN YOUR HEARING LOSS SINCE THEN? In 1998 I woke up one morning, put my hearing aid on and nothing sounded right. I had tinnitus in both ears, sound was muffled and I couldn’t understand a thing! My parents quickly called the House Ear Institute (now known as House Research Institute) in Los Angeles. I met with the doctor that afternoon and was diagnosed with a sudden hearing loss (yes, one with hearing loss can also experience sudden hearing loss!). It was crucial that I begin Prednisone to reduce the inflammation of the ear immediately. After about ten days, I could hear some sounds again with my hearing aid and, by the time I was done with the medication, my hearing was restored back to its ‘before’ state. Since then, I’ve had eight episodes of sudden hearing loss and each time I must get to an ENT doctor within 24 hours to get medication. After the medication my hearing has been restored each time. Today my hearing loss is stable.

DISADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… It confuses people. I can hear well enough to have a conversation in most environments and I speak well. As a result, many people forget that I have a hearing loss which causes frustrations, many misunderstandings and a lot of assumptions!

ADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… peace and quiet when I take out my hearing aid!

WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? a teacher

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… babysitting. I loved the Babysitters Club books and actually started up a similar business with a few good friends. Parents would call me and let me know the date/time/location they needed a sitter. If I couldn’t take the job, I would reach out to five others to find a babysitter who could work at that time and then report back to the parent on who was assigned to that job. It was a one-phone-call-away approach to finding a babysitter. The parents LOVED it!

A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR, WHAT ELSE? Each of us babysitters had a Babysitters Kit that we’d always take to our assignments. The kit was filled with various activities, simple toys and a stopwatch (because every kid knows that other kids’ toys are a lot more fun than their own!). Just before parents would arrive home from their outing, we would pull out our stopwatch and document how fast the kids cleaned up the play area. The next time we were asked to babysit, we’d encourage them to beat their previous times. The parents loved this (clean house), the kids loved this (a challenge) and we loved it too (being called back to babysit again).

ANY PETS? Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix named Jade

HARDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE? delivering my first child

FIRST MEMORY OF BEING REALLY EXCITED… holding my first-born son for the very first time

I LOVE THE SOUNDS OF… my kids’ giggles and laughter, music, the ocean.

IN MY SPARE TIME, I… spend as much time as I can with my kids and husband outside hiking, running around and enjoying all that Colorado has to offer! When not with the family, I love creating photo albums to preserve all the amazing moments in life!

I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT… shy.

HAPPINESS IS… being surrounded by family and friends!

HOBBIES? photography

IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD FOR A YEAR, WHERE WOULD IT BE? Wellington, New Zealand

WHO HAS HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE IN YOUR LIFE? My mom. She’s always been my rock, my role model and best friend.

CITY, BEACH, COUNTRY OR MOUNTAINS? All of the above! That’s one of the best things about Denver—we get three out of the four all within driving distance.

FAVORITE PLACE… outside doing anything from hiking to running to playing around in the backyard with the kids and the dog

FAVORITE SEASON… fall—the colors, the crisp cool air and football

I COLLECT… memories. From photographs to keepsakes, I enjoy preserving my family’s moments in albums for future generations to see.

FAVORITE COLOR? pink

HIGH SCHOOL JOB… stage crew for the Mega-Mess-a-Mania Show at Paramount’s Great America Theme Park. I got to dump slime on contestant’s heads and throw whipped cream pies in their faces.

ANY JOBS IN COLLEGE? I worked for the National Center on Deafness, California State University, Northridge. I researched and wrote sections of curriculum.

JOBS AFTER COLLEGE? marketing manager for Sprint Relay/Sprint CapTel and program manager for Wyoming and South Dakota Relay Services. I started as an administrative assistant and have been with them for 12 years—an amazing journey!

FAVORITE FOODS… tuna melt sandwiches, chocolate milkshakes and strawberries

FIVE FAVORITE MOVIES… Rock of Ages, Where the Heart Is, Footloose, Men in Black, The Blind Side

FIVE FAVORITE SONGS… Dancing in the Dark, Bruce Springsteen; Happy, Pharrell Williams; Dizzy, The Goo Goo Dolls; Patience, Guns N’ Roses; Counting Stars, One Republic

I AM… adventurous, energetic, and sympathetic.

MY KIDS HAVE TAUGHT ME… the meaning of patience and how to see the world through a child’s eyes!

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME… about the bond of a family and how to cherish every moment.

MY FATHER TAUGHT ME… punctuality; importance of being on time (if not early) when someone else is expecting you

WHAT’S THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD? Sprint CapTel Services and having access to everything in the palm of your hand (smartphones).

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… my amazing circle of family and friends.

THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS… DSLR Camera, CapTel Phone, Hydro Flask Water Bottle

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS? Morgan Fairchild

BIGGEST PET PEEVE… people smoking near me and my kids

RIGHT NOW I AM CRAVING… a good hike in the mountains!

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?… my kids (both birth and stepchildren). They are growing up to be such amazing people!

“I enjoy the articles and stories about others experiencing hearing loss in Hearing Loss Magazine. Hearing loss comes in so many different shapes and sizes. No two people are exactly alike, nor are their experiences. Reading about the different causes, experiences and solutions available help me make choices and decisions about my own hearing loss and the technology available to me.”





Seen & Heard: Larry Herbert

8 07 2015

Larry Herbert is profiled in the Seen & Heard column of the July/August 2015 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I photographed Larry at Convention 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island.

LARRY HERBERT, Richmond, Virginia
Born May 24 in Portsmouth, Virginia. Larry says, “I’m a Baby Boomer!

Larry joined HLAA in 2010 and has been a member of the Augusta, Georgia and Central Virginia, and Greater Richmond, Virginia Chapters.

Larry S&H

MY HEARING LOSS…moderate-to-severe sensorineural hearing loss, from my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. I first realized my hearing loss when I was in my 40s, and I have worn wear hearing aids for about 15 years.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS…go to hearingloss.org and read HLAA’s materials on getting hearing aids. Get a copy of your hearing test so you can
shop around.

TECHNOLOGY I USED 25 YEARS AGO…sitting in the front row when I was in graduate school

TECHNOLOGY I USED 15 YEARS AGO…texting with my father, who couldn’t communicate with me over the phone. He used a pager dedicated to texting.

TECHNOLOGY I USE TODAY…hearing loops, personal FM system, Bluetooth streamer

TECH DREAMS…a smartphone with a telecoil; accurate, real-time, voice-to-text translation for captioning; teleaudiology with my audiologist, including remote tweaks; wireless, automatic charging of my devices by harnessing the electric power already in my home; a “universal ear”

TECH PET PEEVES…the high cost of hearing aids, hearing health care professionals clueless about the benefits of telecoils and hearing loops

IN YOUR DREAMS…a dance with Julianne Hough or Cheryl Burke (from “Dancing with the Stars”)

FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT…I thought someone had stolen my golf clubs when they had fallen unnoticed (and unheard) off the back of my cart.

BUCKET LIST…participate in Starkey’s Hearing Foundation mission, join the Peace Corps

BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN HLAA MEMBER…the annual HLAA Convention—getting to know HLAA members and leaders, the workshops, exhibits, and visiting different parts of the country

TECHNOLOGY FAILED ME WHEN…thinking a hardware upgrade would have no effect on setting up remote captioning for my chapter meeting—WRONG!—then frowns from my fellow chapter members

TECHNOLOGY MADE ME CHEER WHEN…I texted with my nearly deaf father before I had the Palm Treo, the Blackberry, and the iPhone.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?…a Major League Baseball player

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY…summer vacations at the beach, listening to the sounds of Ricky Nelson

IF YOU COULD SIT NEXT TO SOMEONE ON AN AIRPLANE WHO WOULD IT BE?…the late Arthur Ashe, tennis champion and humanitarian

SOUNDS YOU LOVE…beach, blues, and country music

SPARE TIME…I dance—Carolina Shag, West Coast Swing, and the Hustle.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT…I was a teacher’s union executive and a tennis instructor.

MY FRIENDS WOULD SAY I AM…congenial, curious, and compassionate.

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT…books, chocolate, my iPhone, iPad, dancing and hearing assistive technology.

MY THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS…sunglasses, La-Z-Boy, and my iPad

THESE DAYS I’M LEARNING…some ballroom dances—rumba and foxtrot.

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?…a good friend and father

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT…two great sons

“I love the personal stories about members in Hearing Loss Magazine. Give me more readable (lay person perspective) tech articles and edginess—you asked!”





Seen & Heard: Dave and Carrie Welter

29 05 2015

Dave and Carrie Welter are profiled in the Seen & Heard column of the May/June 2015 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I photographed Dave and Carrie in Austin at Convention 2014.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Dave&Carrie

DAVE WELTER   Augusta, Georgia / Born August 7, 1936 in Lorain, Ohio

MY HEARING LOSS…I don’t have a significant hearing loss.

I FOUND OUT ABOUT HLAA…from my wife, Carrie.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS…Join a chapter of HLAA and learn all you can learn.

DISADVANTAGES OF HEARING LOSS…it separates you from the real world.

ADVANTAGES OF HEARING LOSS…You don’t have to sit through boring lectures.

BEST THING ABOUT HLAA…information available on the website

I LIKE BEING INVOLVED IN AN HLAA CHAPTER BECAUSE…I am able to help people with hearing loss communicate better.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY…driving a 1935 John Deere tractor when I was five

THE BEST GIFT…my wife

THE FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY WAS…a college education.

THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE WAS…say good-bye to my 16-year-old brother when he died.

HOBBIES…wood-turning, fishing, vehicle restoration, historical preservation, etc.

MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT IS…turning wood trash into treasures.

I WISH I HAD A TALENT FOR…playing the piano.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR…good beer.

I COLLECT…wood stumps, burls, walnut, cherry and any other beautiful wood.

IF I HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER, I WOULD…become more focused on my family.

YOU’VE WON A $1,000 SHOPPING SPREE TO A FAVORITE STORE…I would go to Highland Woodworking in Atlanta and buy woodworking tools.

FIVE JOBS I’VE HAD…mix mud for a plasterer, dig ditches for a plumber, lay brick, cut trees, and professor of cellular biology and anatomy

MY FRIENDS SAY I AM…can’t divulge that

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD…my one-way wood lathe

I HAVE A FEAR OF…not getting my chores done.

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS?…President Eisenhower

MY LONG-TERM GOAL IS…to live to 114.

I’M CRAVING…a Red Bull.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?…taught a lot of students human anatomy

_________________________________________

CARRIE WELTER

Augusta, Georgia / Born August 21, 1942 in Statesboro (Bulloch County) Georgia

MY HEARING LOSS…I inherited it from my father. When I was in the fourth grade a hearing test revealed a mild hearing loss, although I probably had it from birth. In my mid-thirties I got my first hearing aids and now have bilateral cochlear implants.

I FOUND OUT ABOUT HLAA…I got a notice about a chapter meeting in nearby Aiken, South Carolina, with Pat Pennington as the organizer. I truly found my place.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS…Acknowledge it, accept it, join HLAA and do all you can to communicate with others.

DISADVANTAGES OF HEARING LOSS…misunderstandings, loss of communication

ADVANTAGES OF HEARING LOSS…selective hearing—great excuse!

BEST THING ABOUT HLAA…meeting others with hearing loss and their families and friends

I LIKE BEING INVOLVED IN AN HLAA CHAPTER BECAUSE…I can help people with hearing loss at the local level, one-on-one.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY…happy family gatherings eating boiled peanuts, drinking Coca-Cola® in the hot summer, swimming in the river and eating fried chicken on our river picnics

MY FIRST MEMORY OF BEING REALLY EXCITED WAS…learning to swim at the river at age four.

THE BEST GIFT…my cochlear implants

THE FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY WAS…a 1963 Comet.

I LOVE THE SOUND OF…birds, which I can now hear with my cochlear implants.

IN MY SPARE TIME…I never seem to have any

I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT…an artist.

HOBBIES…scrapbooking, gardening and hiking

I WISH I HAD A TALENT FOR…playing the piano.

FAVORITE PLACE TO BE…the mountains with their splendor

FIVE PLACES I’VE LIVED…just Georgia

FIVE JOBS I’VE HAD…Christmas wrapper, 45-rpm vinyl record salesperson, library clerk, English teacher and school media specialist

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME…about God.

MY FATHER TAUGHT ME…to be honest.

GET ANYTHING GOOD IN THE MAIL LATELY?…Hearing Loss Magazine

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD…my cochlear implants

I HAVE A FEAR OF…the unknown.

I REALLY SHOULD…stop and smell the roses.

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT…my Dave.

THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS…my sight, my hearing, and my mind

MY MOTTO IS…serve others.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? learning that I am not defined by my hearing loss—my hearing loss has made me stronger





Seen & Heard: Candace Meinders

6 01 2015

Candace Meinders was our Seen & Heard profile for the November/December 2014 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I photographed Candace at HLAA Convention 2011 in Washington, D.C.

S&H Candace Meinders

CANDACE MEINDERS  St. Paul, Minnesota / Born June 5 in Granite Falls, Minnesota

MY HEARING LOSS… I had high fevers when I was 6, but my parents didn’t take me to see a doctor until I was 13 years old when it was diagnosed.

HOW I LEARNED ABOUT HLAA… In 1994, my sister, Linda, encouraged me to become a member and get the magazine.

THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED WAS… a cochlear implant…now I can really hear!

HLAA CHAPTER MEMBER… Twin Cities Chapter in Golden Valley, Minnesota

WHEN I GREW UP, I WANTED TO BE… a librarian. I remember asking my school librarian about her job as a senior in high school.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… mailroom clerk, janitor, library clerk, accounting clerk, data entry operator

FAVORITE BOOKS… anything written by Joyce Meyer

THE LAST BOOK I READ WAS… One Nation by Dr. Ben Carson.

I AM… honest, quiet and strong willed.

MY LONG-TERM GOAL IS… to be happily married.

MY SHORT-TERM GOAL IS… to vacation in Germany or Hawaii.

SOMETHING I HAVE IN MY HOME THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T… International Poet of Merit Award presented to me by the International Society of Poets

MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE IS… people smoking around me.

THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS… my gray Tabby cat Sebastian, my Bible and my iPhone

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME… that I can do anything I set my mind to.

MY FATHER TAUGHT ME… to not forget to go to church.

I HAVE A LITTLE-KNOWN TALENT FOR… research. I’ve advanced so far in my genealogy research that I now need to visit Germany to research Ostfriesen culture.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… ice cream.

THE KINDEST THING ANYONE EVER DID FOR ME… When I was 24, my penpal from Florida sent me a big bouquet of flowers for Christmas. I was so touched because I had never received a bouquet of flowers.

GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… cochlear implants

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… my short-term mission trip to Haiti in 1991

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED… as a Christ follower.

I love the Seen & Heard profiles in Hearing Loss Magazine. Attending HLAA Convention allows me to explore different cities.

 





Seen & Heard: Meredith Segal

27 08 2014

Meredith Segal is our Seen & Heard profile for the September/October 2014 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I photographed Meredith at HLAA Convention 2011 in Washington, D.C.

MeredithSegalS&H

MEREDITH SEGAL / Hockessin, Delaware / Born April 6, 1978 in Bogota, Colombia

THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN HLAA MEMBER IS… knowing that I am not alone in what I am dealing with and that there are people who I can reach out to and know that together we can come up with a plan to get through the challenges. It helps to brainstorm with others who truly know what you’re dealing with.

MY HEARING LOSS… My parents didn’t discover my hearing loss until I had testing in kindergarten. I didn’t get my first pair of bilateral hearing aids until first grade (I was 6). My hearing had always stayed the same until I got to high school and I knew once I was switched from in-the-ear to the behind-the-ear hearing aids, my hearing was worse. I qualified for a cochlear implant and got it March 5, 2013. I now have a cochlear implant in my left ear and wear a hearing aid in my right ear.

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE A… basketball player (got a lesson in reality from my mom, who informed me that I couldn’t be a professional basketball player because of my height—I was in either fourth or fifth grade).

MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS… spending time with my family, trips we took together, and getting to go to Honduras with my parents to get my new sister and brother!

I LOVE THE SOUND OF… thunder (until my cochlear implant I couldn’t hear it at all). I love hearing my nephews and niece telling me they love me.

I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT… taller than three feet (91 cm)!

I MISS… my dad and late orthopedic surgeon Dr Kopits.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… took Taekwondo and broke a one-half inch thick board with my foot; that I used to take horseback riding lessons.

HAPPINESS IS… loving yourself and accepting the things that make you different.

I HAVE A FEAR OF… bugs and bats. Also, I am wary of dogs tails—especially if they are wagging. I have been knocked off my feet with a dog’s tail!

I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… my birth parents (my adoption was a closed adoption).

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… I worked for Discover Card, Kmart (seasonal), Kohl’s (seasonal), assistant to the manager of my ENT doctor’s practice (before my hearing got really bad) and as a volunteer at the local hospital in their mail room.

I AM… a little person, a loyal friend and loving.

KINDEST THING SOMEONE HAS DONE FOR ME… In my senior year in high school we had a banquet and all the senior guys got on their knees to dance with me. That same year the senior class took a trip to New York City. One teacher said I couldn’t go unless my mom came with us because if my scooter broke down, I would be a liability. My friends found out what this teacher said and they told him that if my scooter broke down they would carry it back to the bus and load it, and would carry me around! He wouldn’t budge and told them I would be a liability. They said “no, you are the liability, not Meredith.” When the senior trip day came, about 50-75 percent of the senior class choose to not go on the class trip as a direct result of what the teacher said.

I like all the feature articles in Hearing Loss Magazine, especially the Seen & Heard profiles of people with hearing loss.

 





Seen & Heard: Molly Corum

30 06 2014

Molly Corum is our Seen & Heard profile for the July/August 2014 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I photographed Molly at HLAA Convention 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Like artist Timothy Chambers, who is our cover feature in this same issue, Molly has Usher syndrome, an inherited condition characterized by hearing impairment and progressive vision loss. The vision loss is due to retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative condition of the retina, and usually appears during adolescence or early adulthood.

Molly S&H

 

 

MOLLY CORUM   Tampa, Florida / Born August 4, 1948, in Tampa

MY HEARING LOSS… I had a high fever when I was a few days old. I was profoundly deaf. I started speech therapy at age three at a local oral-deaf residential school. I was mainstreamed in kindergarten and received my first hearing aid in first grade. School wasn’t easy—my teachers had no training to help a ‘handicapped’ child.

I noticed my vision changing in my mid-30s. I was diagnosed with Usher syndrome in 1988 at age 40. I started using my white cane in 2006. I named it after my late boyfriend and it feels like we are still holding hands. Today I have a small tunnel of vision in my left eye, but the vision in the right eye is gone.

My life improved when I read an Ann Landers column in 1988 that referenced the SHHH Journal. I sent in for a copy, read it, and five seconds later I wrote a check for dues! In 1992 I learned about Foundation Fighting Blindness and attended their convention in Orlando. It was a positive experience.

I experienced a drop in my hearing in 1993 and learned I was a candidate for a cochlear implant. I attended my first HLAA Convention in 1994. For someone with hearing loss, it was the perfect place to be—captions everywhere! The vendors, volunteers and staff were all very understanding. I received my first cochlear implant in 1995 and went bilateral in 2006. Now I’m surrounded by a beautiful symphony of sounds!

I am encouraged because a lot has happened in the medical field since I was diagnosed with Usher syndrome. More genes have been identified and there are more trials and positive research. I am an avid advocate and participate in the Walk4Hearing and VisionWalk.

SAGE ADVICE… I was born in 1948. We never discussed disabilities in those days. With 48 million people having some degree of hearing loss, you are not alone. Research is easier with computers. Meet others with hearing loss, learn how they cope, and find out what services and products are available. Help us to advocate. Your hearing loss might be stable. Some hearing folks have had sudden deafness and became candidates for cochlear implants.

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE… a speech teacher. In 1970 I volunteered with my speech teacher, Mrs. Denney Bolesta of Tampa. Two of the students are now my Facebook friends.

THE FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY WAS… a movie ticket. I then understood my dad’s quote, “Do you know how long it took me to make this much?”

PETS? I had a few pets growing up. From 1962–67, I showed American Saddlebred Horses in Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky. I loved the competition, made lots of friends and loved the parties. I also won a few blue ribbons.

I LOVE THE SOUND OF… classical music, happy conversation, squawking seagulls, the wind and the waves at the beach, babbling brooks (just as long as it is not dripping water in my condo!). After my cochlear implant, I was microwaving a small pizza. I opened the door and heard
the amazing sound of cheese bubbling.

MUSICALLY INCLINED? I once asked my mom if I could hear better, could I carry a tune? She said my dad could hear and he could not carry a tune. That made me feel so much better.

IN MY SPARE TIME, I… will talk your ear off about my fabulous cochlear implants, Hearing Loss Association of America, Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), Walk4Hearing, and VisionWalk. FFB has their newsletter and they share on Facebook the updated medical trials and research. I believe that in my lifetime we will have a cure for blindness.

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… Cochlear implants. I have two and they are my diamonds!

MY FRIENDS WOULD SAY I AM… Sassy. I say thank you.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME… I am a fifth generation Floridian.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… I worked at the Tampa Public Library for two years, the Tribune Times library for two years and for Hillsborough County Property Appraiser for 11 years.

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS? Marilyn Van Derbur, Miss America 1958. I still have a picture of us together. I was a scrawny kid. I met her again in 1991 and asked for a re-take! I met Heather Whitestone, Miss America 1995, at the HLAA Convention in Atlanta in 2003. In Savannah, Georgia, in 1973 I was in a hotel elevator with my mom and saw Van Cliburn, the concert pianist. I’ve also met April Lufriu of Tampa. She became Mrs. Florida, Mrs. America, then Mrs. World.

LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT ME… I enjoyed my ballet lessons and I was good! I know the basics of water skiing and snow skiing and love the speed. The surgeon who did my first cochlear implant surgery taught me how to water ski in ninth grade. And finally, I am good at whacking my white cane—I am like the Red Sea—people jump out of my way!

I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… Dr. Samuel Nunez. Through genealogy research I have learned about my new Jewish heritage. I am a descendant of Dr. Samuel Nunez of Portugal (1668–1744), the first Jewish person to step foot in Savannah on July 11, 1733. The original colonist’s only doctor had died and Dr. Nunez was a great help. His great-great-grandson was Uriah Phillips Levy (1792-1862), the first Jewish Commodore of the U.S. Navy. Uriah was a great admirer of President Thomas Jefferson. He purchased and restored Jefferson’s home, Monticello.

HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… In 2000, I had to take my dad’s car away from him because he was in the early stages of dementia. I could not have done this without my wonderful brother. I stopped driving in 1996.

IF I RULED THE WORLD… children would be required to read more books and to memorize English grammar rules. I think texting is ruining kids’ writing skills.

Hearing Loss Magazine is a very professional magazine that highlights personal stories of people with hearing loss.

 





HLAA members! Here’s your chance to be Seen & Heard at Convention 2014 in Austin, Texas!

25 05 2014

If you haven’t been Seen & Heard yet with the Hearing Loss Association of America, now’s your chance. We still have HLAA members to profile from past sessions in D.C. and Providence, RI, but we want to collect even more. You could be profiled in the magazine or on the HLAA website!

Fill out our fun questionnaire for a chance to be profiled in Hearing Loss Magazine. Email me at dyerdesign@aol.com for the questionnaire. Fill it out, then email the file to Barbara Kelley, editor-in-chief, at bkelley@hearingloss.org. You must be a member of HLAA to participate.

Or just answer four short questions on-site and we’ll share your thoughts on our website and/or in Hearing Loss Magazine.

Wear something colorful on Friday, then pop into photographer Cindy Dyer’s traveling studio for a quick portrait session.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at Convention 2014 next month!

Friday, June 27 • 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Studio will be located in the Rio Grande Exhibit Hall.

S&H Group





Seen & Heard: Jane Seifert

12 03 2014

Jane Seifert, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), just made her Seen & Heard profile debut in the March/April 2014 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. I photographed Jane at HLAA’s Convention 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island.

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. Sign up for membership here.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Jane Seifert S&H

JANE A. SEIFERT   / New York City / Born July 25, 1949 in Detroit, MI

MY HEARING LOSS… I had slight hearing loss (called “sensitivity”) as early as high school. My hearing started deteriorating over the 30-year period when I was working off and on in Africa. I had to take anti-malarials (quinine) when I traveled or lived there. Quinine destroys the cilia in the ear. No one told me that until I came back from five months in Cameroon and my hearing had plummeted.  My audiologist and ENT were ordering brain scans and every imaginable test. Nothing showed up. Finally my audiologist of 10 years said, “When you go to all those strange places, you never take quinine, do you?” I said, “Of course I do.” “Well,” she said, “it took me long enough to ask.”

Six years ago I got a cochlear implant, and one-and-a-half years ago I got a second one. It’s like a miracle! I’ve even started listening to music and going to musicals, not because my friends want to, but because I enjoy them.

SAGE ADVICE… Don’t be in denial. It wastes a lot of time that could be used to figure out how to overcome the problem and avoid going into a cocoon.

WHEN I WAS LITTLE… I was totally without ambition. The assumption by my parents and everyone else was that I would go to college, marry the boy next door and raise little Janes and Johns. I knew I didn’t want to do that, but I had no idea what I did want to do. My subsequent careers (banking, international financial and economic development, teaching) happened quite serendipitously, with a combination of luck and seizing the moment.

MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS… my mother reading to me at night before I went to sleep.

THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED… was my cats, Tuffy and Shadow—they have been very loyal friends. I never had a pet before and I’ve been astonished at how much positive influence they have over my life.

THE FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY… I didn’t buy a thing. I put every dime into a savings account so I would have the money to go to Paris for my junior year of college—and I did!

IN MY SPARE TIME, I… do word and number puzzles, work out, read voraciously, watch old and foreign movies, go to restaurants, tell stories, cultivate and maintain friendships. I am also a history buff and an avid traveler.

I WISH I HAD A TALENT FOR… drawing and painting. I would find it so relaxing to be able to paint and draw. I would settle for being a good photographer.

I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… Bill and Melinda Gates. I feel they have been given bad advice on education and would hope they would be open to different viewpoints.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… chocolate and anything that’s blue and yellow—like the blues and yellows in Monet’s kitchen.

I COLLECT… jewelry from around the world, pottery, old lace, paintings, art books, friends and good memories of them.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… banker, economic and financial development officer, special ed teacher, teacher of English as a foreign language, translator/interpreter

HAPPINESS IS… a sunny Sunday afternoon. Brunch with friends. Coming home and reading the Sunday New York Times. Taking a nap with the cats curled around me.

I AM…  inquiring, hopeful and adaptable.

I HAVE THE UNCANNY ABILITY TO… use very few clues (mostly non-verbal) to deduce what is going on around me.

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… good friends, good food and good conversation.

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… was making loans to Bosnian women after the Civil War so they could start their own businesses and recover—and they did.

The personal articles in Hearing Loss Magazine make me feel less lonely and isolated.





Seen & Heard: Chelle George

15 01 2014

Chelle George is our Seen & Heard profile in the January/February 2014 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I  photographed Chelle at HLAA’s Convention 2012 in Providence, R.I.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

S&H Chelle George

CHELLE GEORGE

Salt Lake City, UT / Born 2.6.1968, in Redlands, CA

MY HEARING LOSS… I was talking to my mom on the phone, answering questions wrong when she said loud and clear, “For God’s sake, get some hearing aids!” I was 23 years old and 22 years later, I’m still wearing hearing aids.  My current pair are translucent red and I love to show them off.

SAGE ADVICE… In the beginning, have the audiologist adjust the hearing aids to a lower volume to get used to noise again.

FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… Getting lyrics wrong. Some years ago, my kids popped a new Eminem CD into the stereo while we were driving. A ballad came on and I just knew a big bad rapper wouldn’t be singing about that. I turned the music off with a smile and asked the kids, ‘Is he singing about being queen of his carpet?’ When their laughter died down, they told me he was singing, “I’m cleaning out my closet.” We never could sing the right lyrics after that.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… Watching thunderstorms with my family in the middle of the night. We would get up and gather in front of the sliding glass door to watch.

PETS? Squeaker, my 19 lb. cat. He’s my buddy. The reason I named him Squeaker was I thought his meow was ‘broken.’ Only later did my family tell me his meow is fine and it was my hearing that was broken! At least Squeaker meows a lot, so the name still fits.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… hairdresser, day care, hairdresser again, worked with people with intellectual disabilities (loved working with them) and back to hairdresser again.

I LOVE THE SOUND OF… I love it when it’s quiet enough I can hear the clock tick (only possible with my hearing aids in). Big wind chimes charm me. I love my grandson’s laughter and listening to drums.

IN MY SPARE TIME, I… write about hearing loss trying to get hearing people to understand what it’s like. There are so many misconceptions and I want to set them straight as much as I can.

I COLLECT… butterflies. Butterflies are about transformation, metamorphosis, a process of becoming which I identify with. A friend once told me, ‘Butterflies are Free’, and proceeded to tell me about the movie. I like that too. “There is nothing in the caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” —R. Buckminster Fuller

I AM… dependable, honest and easy going.

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… Digital hearing aids. When I switched from analog to digital, I was amazed at the difference. There are so many options to chose from now and I’m glad I live in the technology age.

I AM DEFINITELY NOT… stuck up as many people assume. I just can’t hear them until they have my attention first.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… attended the Burning Man event for years. I still go to the regional events and find that all the people are patient and accepting of hearing loss.

MY THREE FAVORITE THINGS ARE… My computer, my smartphone and my car. They keep me independent.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… Helping to pull together Salt Lake City’s first Walk4Hearing in 2010. It was the first big event I ever organized and it was all done by volunteers.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… homemade cookies!

FIVE PLACES I HAVE LIVED… Blythe, CA; Twentynine Palms, CA; Albany, GA; Bullhead City, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT

I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… my hearing aids, a book in my hand and laughter.

FAVORITE QUOTE… From Auntie Mame—“Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”

I like reading people’s personal stories in Hearing Loss Magazine.

 




Seen & Heard: Carol Halla

6 11 2013

Carol Halla is our Seen & Heard profile in the November/December 2013 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I  photographed Carol at HLAA’s Convention 2012 in Providence, R.I.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Seen & Heard Carol Halla

CAROL HALLA  Charleston, SC / born January 3 in Evanston, IL

MY HEARING LOSS…I started losing my hearing in both ears rapidly while I was in the Air Force, stationed in Hawaii, when I was 26. I was tested extensively. Over the course of the next 10 years, my hearing loss continued to deteriorate. It would seem to level off only to drop again. No definite cause was ever found, but a lot of scary stuff was ruled out. Through the 80s and 90s I wore increasingly large and powerful hearing aids and remained on active duty. After my retirement from the Air Force in ’97, my industrial strength hearing aids no longer provided the benefit I needed.

I felt the frustration, isolation, and grief that only a person with a profound hearing loss can truly understand. When I found out that I was a possible candidate for either one or two cochlear implants, I was at a total loss as to what to do. After doing my own research, working with the helpful folks at the Veterans Administration, our local CI center, and receiving a wealth of information, I took a giant leap of faith and had my CI surgery in July 2010. Now, I wear one CI on the left ear and a hearing aid on the right ear.

SAGE ADVICE…Educate and advocate for yourself! If you need a hearing aid, wear it and take pride in not allowing yourself to be too stubborn, shy or self-conscious. Be up front with your friends and family—they should offer the most support—but only if they are fully informed! Don’t give up easily—most hearing aids are programmable or adjustable to fit your needs.

FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT…Last year during my annual routine mammogram, when the technician had placed me in the position then went behind the screen to activate the machine, she said over her shoulder what I thought was “say cheese!” But what she really said was “don’t breathe!” Too funny! We both cracked up.

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE…a vet because I love animals.

PETS? Yes—three crazy furball cats—Snickers, Doodles and Katie.

THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE…During my Air Force career, I deployed to the Persian Gulf twice. The first time I lived in a tent in the desert for seven months with 2 other women. The bathroom facilities were one-quarter mile from our tent and were—shall we say—very primitive! The second time it was an apartment-type dwelling in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with a different group of women for four months. When I got home each time, I really appreciated all the little comforts of home—like my own bathroom!

I LOVE THE SOUNDS OF…With my new CI, I never tire of hearing the birdsong in my backyard. After activation, the sounds blew me away and brought tears to my eyes.

IN MY SPARE TIME, I…love to read, follow my friends on Facebook and the Hearing Journey, work in the yard on a nice day, continue organizing old pictures, crafts and learning more about my new Canon camera.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I…completed three marathons while I lived in Hawaii.

WHO HAS HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE IN YOUR LIFE? Other than my parents, it’s my loving husband of 28 years, Bruce.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR…vintage jewelry.

I COLLECT…dust bunnies under the furniture (shhh!).

MY FAVORITE COLOR IS…sunny yellow—a real mood lifter.

FIVE PLACES I HAVE LIVED…Wilmette, IL; Stuttgart, Germany; Selma, AL; Aiea, Hawaii; Rapid City, SD; Las Vegas, NV; Charleston, SC. Okay, that’s more than five, but who’s counting?

WORKING NINE TO FIVE…drug store clerk, shoe store clerk, Pizza Hut waitress, 22-year Air Force career, inventory management at an engineering company

I AM… stubborn, persistent and caring.

I HAVE THE UNCANNY ABILITY TO…think the same thing my husband is thinking at the same time. Great minds think alike, right?

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT…love and hugs.

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED…as someone who looked for the good in people without being judgmental.

“I love the interviews and articles in Hearing Loss Magazine. I love reading about how other people are successful in what they chose to do and don’t let hearing loss rule their world.” 





Seen & Heard: Debbie Mohney

7 09 2013

Debbie Mohney is our Seen & Heard profile in the September/October 2013 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I met and photographed Debbie at HLAA’s Convention 2011 in Washington, D.C.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

S&H Debbie Mohney

Debbie Mohney / Boulder, CO / born June 5 in Boulder, CO

MY HEARING LOSS… I was born with a bilateral high-frequency hearing loss, but it wasn’t discovered until I was in kindergarten. I had speech therapy in kindergarten, and then learned how to advocate for myself by sitting in the front row and getting to know my teachers very well. I got my first hearing aid at 18 when I realized I needed to be able to hear professors in college who often face the blackboard while they write. I now wear two BTE Phonak Nios. They have Sound Recover, which is a frequency transposition program. I make sure all my hearing aids have a telecoil so I can use assistive listening systems. I also have an iCom—a Bluetooth streamer—which allows me to use my cell phone, listen to my iPod, and gives me TV in stereo surround sound—very cool!

SAGE ADVICE… Learn everything you can and attend a Hearing Loss Association of America chapter meeting. Learn what works from other people and all you can about the technology that is available. Stop bluffing your way through conversations and start educating about your needs. Easier said than done sometimes, but I used to be the same way.

MY FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… The funniest one that wasn’t at the time: I would often meet my parents for lunch, and one day my Mom called and said “We are going to be a little late, Daddy’s dead in the car.” My heart started racing and I shouted out “What???” She replied, “Yeah… Daddy’s down in the garage and the battery is dead in the car.” For many days after that, every time I saw or talked to my Dad, I asked him how he was doing.

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE… a teacher and a writer.

THE BEST GIFT I EVER RECEIVED… My grandma taught me how to read when I was three years old, so I have no memory of actually learning how to read. It gave me advantages that I would not otherwise have with my hearing loss.

MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS… sitting in my Dad’s lap to go to sleep as a toddler, watching Johnny Carson. Really, I think I watched more Johnny Carson than I got sleep!

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… I’ve been a babysitter. I’ve worked in a print shop putting publications together. I’ve been an accounts receivable clerk and an office manager.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… Disneyland and Disneyland.

I LOVE THE SOUND OF… my son playing saxophone. He has a swing band and his music has inspired me to learn how to dance.

IN MY SPARE TIME… I volunteer with HLAA and other hearing loss-related organizations and Boy Scouts. I love to listen to music and enjoy museums, movies and hiking.

MEETING ROCKY STONE… I met Rocky Stone several times—the first time at the New Orleans SHHH Convention. He was so warm and friendly to talk to, and he always asked me about Ann Pruitt from Colorado. From then on, he always remembered me and always had a big smile for me.

Hearing Loss Magazine is a great magazine. In each issue there is so much timely information about everything to do with hearing loss. From more technical articles to personal stories and advocacy, you come away from the magazine empowered to do something.





Seen & Heard: Barbara Johnson

12 07 2013

Barbara Johnson is one of two Seen & Heard profiles in the July/August 2013 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I met and photographed Barbara at HLAA’s Convention 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Barbara Johnson S&H

BARBARA JOHNSON

Newton, Massachusetts / Born March 23 in Lowell, Massachusetts

MY HEARING LOSS… I stopped cheating on my hearing tests in the fourth grade. Each year the school nurse gathered us in her office where we’d put on heavy rubber headphones and I would raise my hand when I saw the other kids raising theirs. I finally realized the point of this test and stopped raising my hand unless I actually heard the tone.

Hearing loss runs in my family—four out of my five brothers have serious hearing loss and I am the one sister out of four who has hearing loss. My oldest brother wears two hearing aids. My second brother has bilateral cochlear implants. My fourth and fifth brothers are deaf in one ear.

We didn’t talk about our hearing loss when I was growing up. My loss was essentially untreated until I decided this year, at 51, to get my first cochlear implant. I still have about 30 percent residual hearing in my non-implanted ear.

I’m very new with my cochlear implant, activated March 23, 2012, on my birthday. It’s exciting and challenging.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS… Talk about it. Find out what technology can help you, such as hearing aids, assistive listening devices, captioning, CART. Figure out what you need to communicate your best and ask others in your life to help. Seek out others who also have hearing loss. They’re out there and it’s so helpful to connect with someone else who really “gets it.”

WHEN I GREW UP, I WANTED TO BE… a teacher, a ballerina, or a stewardess (yes, that’s what we called flight attendants when I was a kid).

THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE WAS… get a cochlear implant. It’s a big deal!

MY LITTLE-KNOWN TALENT IS… drinking coffee in the shower.

HOBBIES? dance, photography, foreign language study, backpack travel to far-flung corners of the globe

PETS? Hank the Cairn terrier, who thinks he’s a cat; Scooter the Jack Russell, who would love to eat a cat; Hildie the Aussie shepherd, who is a scaredy-cat; and Anoush, the Shitzu-terrier mix, who just cuddles better than a cat

I DEFINITELY AM NOT… a couch potato!

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… lifeguard, cashier, ice cream scooper, computer programmer, IT project manager

HAPPINESS IS… hanging out with my husband and four dogs.

MY FAVORITE SEASON IS… summer. I love being outside anywhere on the New England coast, especially the Outer Cape.

I AM… optimistic, energetic and fun.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… home-baked goods.

I HAVE THE UNCANNY ABILITY TO… connect with others no matter who they are and find common ground.

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… coffee.

MY THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS ARE… my MacBook Air, orange ballet flats and my paid-for car!

IF I RULED THE WORLD… there would be mandatory global travel for all! Get to know the world, people!

MY LONG-TERM GOAL IS… to make peace with my hearing loss. (Right now we’re kind of fighting…)

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IS… being successful in life and love while living with a severe hearing loss.

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED… as a kind, loving, helpful and positive person who made a difference in someone’s life.

I love reading other peoples’ stories in Hearing Loss Magazine and encourage the publication to reach out to readership on a regular basis for input and ideas.





Seen & Heard: Edward Ogiba

12 07 2013

Edward Ogiba is one of two Seen & Heard profiles in the July/August 2013 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I met and photographed Ed at HLAA’s Convention 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Edward S&H

EDWARD F. OGIBA

Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida / I came flying out on August 4 in New York City in the final year of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s reign.

MY HEARING LOSS… My hearing loss started in the military and progressed until Ménière’s disease left me deaf. Today I am totally grateful for the cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS… Find the right audiologist and give him or her the feedback they need to help you get the most out of your hearing devices. Join an HLAA chapter. Focus at communication strategies with your family, friends and co-workers so they know how to best help you hear them.

MY FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… When I got my cochlear implant, my vanity prevented me from wearing it to client meetings. But when I had to facilitate an all-day workshop for a board of 24 people I had no choice. After the meeting, a board member approached me and she said: “I will give you credit as this was the most productive meeting we have had in a long time. But you are the rudest person whom I have ever encountered in a meeting.” I was mortified and said: “I am sorry, madam. What did I do?” She barked: “What did you do? How can you be so inconsiderate to carry on multiple conversations? Not once all day did you have the courtesy to turn off your cell phone.” I checked to confirm my cell phone was off before I realized: “Do you mean this?”pointing to my implant. She gave a disapproving nod, snipping “you must be a phone freak to have one implanted.” I laughed and told her, “This is a cochlear implant that allows me to hear despite my hearing loss.” There was a chuckle from another board member as he apparently had told her it was an implant. She then expressed her embarrassment and apology, but I countered: “You have given me a wonderful gift. If you thought it was a phone, others might too, and regardless you have given me the courage to stop being such a bozo about wearing it.”

WHEN I GREW UP, I WANTED TO BE… the starting second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… Ebbets Field at age five. I never saw grass greener.

FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY WAS… a ’57 Caddy convertible.

PETS? Moka. She’s a crazy Russian Bear Hound.

MUSICALLY INCLINED? I play a mean shower. With my hearing aids out, I can actually stand my own singing.

DO YOU SPEAK ANY LANGUAGES OTHER THAN ENGLISH? Mon Français est pathétique, mais le langage est si romantique et la cuisine est si fabuleux. Il ne m’échoue jamais excepté toutes les fois que je suis servi les goûts d’un plateau de cendre sautéed. (Translation: My French is pathetic, but the language is so romantic and the food is so fabulous. It never fails me except when I have used the likes of “ash tray sautéed.”)

YOU JUST WON A $10,000,000 LOTTERY. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? CPR.

I WOULD LOVE TO MEET…Thomas Jefferson, the consummate multi-tasker.

FAVORITE COLOR? I used to say “blue.” But after living in Martha Stewart’s county for 16 years, I have been conditioned to say Araucana Teal or perhaps Aragon Sky.

FIVE PLACES I HAVE LIVED… Long Island, Manhattan, Toronto, Weston (CT), Sarasota

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… an ad or Mad Man in Manhattan, again in Toronto, head of New Products Company in Toronto, again in Connecticut, development director for the Ear Research Foundation.

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS? Prince Phillip, Barbara Streisand, Doris Day, Ricardo Montalbán, Margaret Hamilton, Patricia Neal, Peter Ustinov—some of the few sane moments for me as a Mad Man.

Hearing Loss Magazine always delivers a warm hug of support, the inspiration to do more and the guidance from the legions of superheroes in hearing loss nation to blaze the way. Thank you, HLM.





Seen & Heard: Teri Wathen

21 05 2013

Teri Wathen is our Seen & Heard profile in the May/June 2013 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I met and photographed Teri at HLAA’s Convention 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

TeriWathen S&H

TERI WATHEN
Richmond, TX / Born April 2 (not quite a fool) in Houston, TX

MY HEARING LOSS… I was born with a mild hearing loss and got my first hearing aid at age 12. My hearing loss progressively grew worse as I aged (I aged?). I am now a bilateral cochlear implant user and love them.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS…Get hearing aids as quickly as possible. They are not a cure-all, but they sure do help. Find other people with hearing loss and ask a lot of questions. Your local HLAA Chapter is a good place to start. Educate yourself. Do not bluff.

MY FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… While walking down the street with a friend, looking at her in order to read her lips, I ran into a light pole. This really happened!

WHEN I GREW UP, I WANTED TO BE… an airline stewardess. I don’t think they call them that anymore, though.

FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY WAS… my first car, a 1967 red and white Ford Mustang convertible. My sons wish I still had that car. “It’s worth at least $40 – $50,000 now, mom!”

HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… I was a business teacher and taught typing, shorthand, business law and accounting. When computers first came out, I had to teach programming. I had never taken that course, had never programmed anything, and had no idea how to teach it. Some of my students knew more than I did. It was agonizing and embarrassing!

I LOVE THE SOUND OF… I never thought I’d say this, but I love the sound of trains. We just moved into a new subdivision that has a train close by. We hear the train horns all times of the day and night (except when my processors are off). Now when I hear trains, it reminds me of “home.”

IN MY SPARE TIME, I… love to play Sudoku, the Jumble, crossword puzzles, and Spider Solitaire on the computer.

I MISS… my friend, Karen, who passed away way too young.

WHO HAS HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE? My husband, Ray. He is kind, talented, humorous, loves to play with words (puns), a poet, and a great husband, father, and grandfather. We just celebrated our 40th anniversary by renewing our wedding vows.

MY KIDS HAVE TAUGHT ME… Both of my sons have hearing loss. My younger son has two sons and they also have hearing loss. All of them have inspired me to advocate for others with hearing loss.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… have a black belt in Karate.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… When I was a teenager, I gift wrapped in my mother’s dress shop. In college, I worked as a secretary for my aunt and uncle’s advertising agency. I was a teacher for 32 years. I have been a hearing loss resource specialist for the past 10 years. (That’s only four jobs in the last 50 years!)

I AM… passionate, tall, laid back, forgetful, and very sensitive. (I cry at the drop of a hat.)

WHAT’S THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD? My iPhone. I love that I can text, e-mail, talk, and play games all in the palm of my hand.

MY GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS… getting my master’s degree, getting my black belt, having two wonderful sons, and being married to Ray
for 40 years!

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED… as someone who had a passion to help people with hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Magazine is great! I love reading about new technology and inventions that can help those of us with hearing loss. I love reading about others and what they have accomplished.





Seen & Heard: Gary Trompower

6 01 2013

Gary Trompower, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made his Seen & Heard profile debut in the January/February 2013 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which just arrived in member mailboxes. Our Seen & Heard column first made its debut in the magazine in 2010 and was met with great enthusiasm. We’ll be publishing one or two profiles (as space allows) in each issue of the bimonthly magazine. Other members previously profiled were Danielle NicosiaJohn KinstlerJudy Martin, Anne TaylorSam SpritzerJeff BonnellEloise SchwarzGlenice SwensonLaurie PullinsRosemary Tuite and Kathy BorzellTommy Thomas and Marisa Sarto. I met and photographed Gary in Providence at HLAA’s convention in June 2012.

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.

And what is the top thing you’ll learn about Gary? The man has it bad for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! (They’re my favorite, too!)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

S&HGaryTrompower

Canton, Ohio / Born May 5, 1956 in Canton, Ohio

ALL ABOUT MY HEARING LOSS… I was 17 years old and diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. It’s come to rest now at 95% loss in my left ear and 80% loss in my right ear. I wear one behind-the-ear aid on my right ear, which helps to hear some sounds.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS… Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything! Go out and enjoy life the best you can.

FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… People will telephone and ask for me and my wife will tell them, “Gary is deaf and I will ask him your questions.” The person calling will say they’ll call back or call tomorrow. Huh? Like I’m going to be able to hear them tomorrow or sometime later? I only wish it worked that way!

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE… Batman!

FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… Quit smoking cigarettes (more than six years tobacco free). My stress level went sky high, but the health benefits are worth the effort.

I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT… a snobbish or a stuck-up person. Some people get that impression, but it’s just that many of us have the, as Rocky Stone would say, “invisible condition,” and we just don’t hear them.

HOBBIES? Woodworking and computers

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… like math. I always have and it’s been very useful in this life.

I WISH I HAD A TALENT FOR… hog wrestling and playing bass guitar.

FAVORITE PLACE TO BE… with my wife

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… At 14, I flipped burgers at the local ice cream stand. At 19, I managed a Radio Shack. At 21, I tried selling hearing aids. At 22, I ran my own small lawn care business, and then I started my current engineering career (35 years) with a local medical center.

I AM… a traditional, red-blooded, American dude!

MY FRIENDS WOULD SAY I AM… really, really cool!

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD…  Texting—it’s a fantastic way for people with hearing loss to communicate.

I REALLY SHOULD STOP… eating Reese’s Cups, but they’re so good!

PHRASES I OVERUSE… What was that? What did you say? Yes…I’ll have another Reese’s Cup.

I HAVE THE UNCANNY ABILITY TO… fix anything but a broken heart.

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… tough one, huh? Reese Cups!

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS? For many years, we have attended the Clark Gable foundation birthday parties (Cadiz, Ohio) where I met many of the cast from Gone with the Wind, including Fred Crane, Rand Brooks, Cammie King, Butterfly McQueen and Patrick Curtis.

Hearing Loss Magazine has great stories and valuable information about hearing loss. It is a wonderful publication!

 





Seen & Heard: George Kosovich

15 11 2012

George Kosovich, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), just made his Seen & Heard profile debut in the November/December 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which just arrived in member mailboxes. Other members previously profiled were Danielle NicosiaJohn KinstlerJudy Martin, Anne TaylorSam SpritzerJeff BonnellEloise SchwarzGlenice SwensonLaurie PullinsRosemary Tuite and Kathy BorzellTommy Thomas and Marisa Sarto.

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.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

George Kosovich

Rockville, MD / Born December 10, 1941, Bingham Canyon, UT

MY HEARING LOSS… I had a hearing loss in childhood, but it wasn’t discovered right away. In elementary school, I started wearing a body aid and hated it. Now, I use both a cochlear implant and a hearing aid and love it.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS… Get that hearing aid—you don’t know what you’re missing!

HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… School was hard—all the way from elementary school through my two master degrees!

IN MY SPARE TIME… I play golf, tennis and pool.

MY LITTLE-KNOWN TALENT IS… dancing.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… the angel Gabriel.

I MISS… my brother, Jerry.

I AM… friendly, lovable and handsome.

FAVORITE COLOR? Purple

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME… not to smoke cigarettes. The one time I did try when I was 10, she caught me. That day, I smoked until I was sick and told her. She told me I was not going to find any sympathy from her. I suffered that time but learned my lesson and I never smoked again.

MY FATHER TAUGHT ME… the basics of football, and then was a big support to me when I was playing football in high school and college.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… OSERS at the U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.; VR counselor in Portland, OR; juvenile center counselor, Portland, OR; Short order cook at the Sheraton, Portland, OR; Newspaper delivery boy, Portland, OR

I HAVE A FEAR OF… guns. One time I shot a guy. I was around 12 years old, working at a berry picking farm in the summer. It was in the evening and we had gone back to the workers’ cabins. My brother and a guy also named Jerry were in the cabin. I was playing around with a rifle and I thought I took all the bullets out, but when I pulled the trigger, a bullet hit him in the thigh. I was shocked. My heart was racing. We carried him out down to the house which was quite a ways down. We took him to the hospital in a car—it was the longest ride of my life. The guy was okay once patched up, but he couldn’t play football for a year. And I never played around with a gun again!

IF I RULED THE WORLD… everyone would have a smile on their face!

WHAT IS THE KINDEST THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE FOR YOU? Love me

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? Being a father

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED? As a good guy

Hearing Loss Magazine is great! I like the stories about people and how they deal with hearing loss, but I also like the information about technology that makes our lives easier.





Seen & Heard: Marisa Sarto

14 11 2012

Marisa Sarto, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), just made her Seen & Heard profile debut in the November/December 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which just arrived in member mailboxes. Marisa also wrote the cover feature article for this issue. I had the pleasure of spending a fun afternoon with her, photographing her around Providence, and discussing everything from hearing loss to creativity to photography. Other members previously profiled were Danielle NicosiaJohn KinstlerJudy Martin, Anne TaylorSam Spritzer, Jeff Bonnell, Eloise Schwarz, Glenice Swenson, Laurie Pullins, Rosemary Tuite and Kathy Borzell, and Tommy Thomas.

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.

MARISA SARTO
North Hollywood, CA / Born May 17, 1989, Tarzana, CA

MY HEARING LOSS… My parents discovered that I had hearing loss when I was a few months old. I’ve been wearing hearing aids since I was one.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS… Learn to love yourself and learn everything you can about hearing loss. And talk and share your feelings with others.

WHEN I GREW UP, I WANTED TO BE… a grocery clerk at my local Ralph’s.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… Extravagant family Halloween parties

PETS? I have two yin-yang cats—Jinx is one-year-old, white and deaf. Kiki is 21-years-old, black and almost blind in one eye. My family has a lovely blue-nose pit pull named Friday.

HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… break someone’s heart

IN MY SPARE TIME… I apply for jobs.

HOBBIES? Expressing myself through photography, making jewelry, creating veggie and fruit juice with my juicer, harvesting fruits from around the neighborhood, thrift shopping with my partner, and watching movies.

WHO HAS INFLUENCED YOU THE MOST? Besides my parents—my baton and life coach, Gail Pearson

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT… I can twirl fire.

MY LITTLE-KNOWN TALENT IS… I can punch really hard

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… Rite Aid’s Thrifty’s mint-flavored ice cream

I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… myself ten years ago.

THE LAST BOOK I READ WAS… Running Out of Summer by Peter Morgan (my uncle)

I AM… brave, friendly, and funny.

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME… to speak my mind.

MY FATHER TAUGHT ME… to love myself first before loving someone else.

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… air conditioning (I live in the valley!)

I REALLY SHOULD STOP… putting my clothes on the floor.

I REALLY SHOULD START… learning about cars, so I don’t change the oil twice.

I HAVE THE UNCANNY ABILITY TO… guess people’s age, see things like an eagle, smell food, and notice when my food has been touched.

LEARNING SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY… I’m learning how to identify fruit trees and new photography tips.

MY MOTTO… is when presented with choices, try to make the good one; and if not, learn from the bad ones and try not to repeat them. Not learning is the biggest sin.

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED… as an amazing woman who was a good friend and someone who made a difference.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… earning a Posse Foundation Scholarship to attend The University of Wisconsin-Madison

I like reading member stories in Hearing Loss Magazine, and appreciate the opportunity to share mine!





Marisa Sarto: The Hear Nor There Project

14 11 2012

Marisa Sarto wrote the cover feature article for the November/December 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). Marisa recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in film on a Posse Foundation scholarship. She has worked as an intern for an acclaimed documentary artist and as an intern for a television production company and is currently pursuing her passion—photography and photo/visual journalism—in Los Angeles.

I met Marisa in Providence, R.I. this past June during the Hearing Loss Association of America annual convention. I was going to profile her for our Seen & Heard column but after learning about her photo book project, we decided to make her story a main feature for the magazine. I photographed her one afternoon in a park near the hotel.

Marisa’s inspiration for her book-in-progress, Hear Nor There: Images of an Invisible Disability, came from her experiences as a woman growing up with a hearing loss that made her feel self-conscious and set apart from others. The project will be a documentary monograph, showcasing photographs and stories of individuals of varying ages, ethnicities and genders and their challenges of living with a hearing loss. Learn more about the project on her website here and sample images and narratives here.

Download and read her feature article for Hearing Loss Magazine here: Marisa Sarto Feature

Also in this issue: Audiologist Brad Ingrao’s article, Better Hearing, Better Health, explores the relationship between hearing loss and health-related quality of life; HLAA’s Director of Marketing and Events, Nancy Macklin, shows us why It’s Time to Head West! with her Convention 2013 Sneak Preview; Hayleigh Scott, owner of Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms, and Netegene Fitzpatrick prove there isn’t a generation gap among people with hearing loss in their feature, An Unlikely Friendship; HLAA’s Director of Public Policy, Lise Hamlin, reports good news in Shopping for Phones; long-time HLAA member Vern Thayer explains why he is Lucky he discovered HLAA in 1983; and HLAA members George Kosovich and Marisa Sarto are both profiled in Seen & Heard.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Marisa is helping spread the word about “100 Portland,” a movement to recruit 100 young adults with hearing loss to gather at the HLAA Convention 2013 in Portland, Oregon. Check out the video below to learn about Marisa’s experience at Convention 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island and an introduction to “100 Portland” and its mission. “100 Portland” also has a Facebook page.





Seen & Heard: Tommy Thomas

18 10 2012

Tommy Thomas, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made his Seen & Heard profile debut in the September/October 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine. I photographed Tommy during Convention 2012 in Providence, RI. Other members previously profiled were Danielle NicosiaJohn KinstlerJudy Martin, Anne TaylorSam SpritzerJeff BonnellEloise SchwarzGlenice SwensonLaurie Pullins, and Rosemary Tuite and Kathy Borzell.

TOMMY THOMAS 

Vine Grove, KY / born April 15, 1955, Bowling Green, KY

MY HEARING LOSS… I had German measles at age four and developed a high fever. My parents noticed the hearing loss at age five. I was fitted with a body aid and then went to a BTE (behind-the-ear) on my left ear. There was total loss in my right ear. I was implanted with a cochlear implant in my right ear about eight years ago. I still wear a BTE on the left ear.

SAGE ADVICE for SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS… Join a hearing loss support group for advice; lots can be learned from them.

A FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… On the third date with the woman who would later become my wife, my hearing aid battery died. I said, ‘Excuse me, but I need to change my hearing aid battery.’ She was curious because she had never been around anyone who wore a hearing aid, so she asked, ‘How often do you have to do that?’ I said, ‘well, with you it will be more often—because you talk quite a bit.’ The look on her face was priceless. After we married, and it was time to go back to work after the honeymoon, at 4:20 in the morning she was awakened by a strobe light and a shaking bed. She sat straight up in the bed, startled and thinking there was an earthquake or something. I intentionally had not told her about my alarm clock. She had never considered how a deaf or hard of hearing person awoke in the mornings to go to work.

WHEN I GREW UP, I WANTED TO BE… a farmer and a welder.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… riding horses and going on trail rides

PETS? Morgan, a one-eyed Corgie mix and Trouble (a very appropriately named cat)

HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… at age 14, I took a tractor motor completely apart and reassembled it without any manuals or instructions.

I LOVE THE SOUND OF… my antique tractor running.

IN MY SPARE TIME… antique tractor rides, antique tractor shows, work in my shop

I MISS… being in my 30s when my body didn’t ache.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT… I am 5’15” tall—do the math.

MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT… is that I am an exceptional lip reader.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… Smarties (the candy).

PLACES I’VE CALLED HOME… nine months in my mother’s womb, Bowling Green, KY; Bardstown, KY; Radcliff, KY and then Vine Grove, KY

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… I’ve had only three jobs—(1) farm laborer as a teen; (2) meat cutter for 33 years; and (3) full-time farmer.

MUSIC TO MY EARS… Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, Standing on the Promises, Jesus Loves Me

I AM… honest, dependable and fun.

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… first, the hearing aid and second, the cochlear implant

I HAVE A FEAR OF… ferris wheels.

SONG I LOVE BUT AM EMBARASSED TO ADMIT TO… She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy

MY FAVORITE POSSESSIONS… my tractors, all my tools, and my teddy bear that I’ve had for 53 years and it still looks good

PET PEEVE… school buses—they stop every 20 feet

IF I RULED THE WORLD… everyone is treated equally, no one goes hungry, and no politics

WHAT IS THE KINDEST THING ANYONE HAS DONE FOR YOU? My friend, Charlie, took me out every day to walk after my back surgery to help me get my strength back.

HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED? as Sir Tom—the name I have used in the hearing loss chatroom for years

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… I built my house at age 21 and I’m still living in it.

I like everything in Hearing Loss Magazine, but I wish it came monthly.

 






Seen & Heard: Rosemary Tuite and Kathy Borzell

18 10 2012

Siblings Rosemary Tuite and Kathy Borzell, both members of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made their Seen & Heard profile debut in the September/October 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, along with Rosemary’s service dog, Janet. I photographed them at Convention 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Rosemary Tuite

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MY SISTER KATHY BORZELL… Kathy and I have had a support system going with each other because we both have hearing loss. I believe it has made us even closer than we would have been. She has been an incredible support to me and I think she feels the same about my support of her.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MY SERVICE DOG, JANET… Janet has changed my life. I sleep better knowing she will be there if need be and she is my comfort and strength when I get into a stressful situation due to my hearing loss. She has become a support to both my husband and I as he has a physical disability that she understands.

MY HEARING LOSS… I’m not sure when my hearing loss was first discovered, but it was probably in my late teens. There was severe-to-profound hearing loss in our family; mine was considered mild so I didn’t get hearing aids until I was 40 even though I needed them years before. I wore them religiously once I got them and was implanted with my first cochlear implant in November 2007 and my second in September 2010.

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS…
Get with peers, join HLAA and a local HLAA Chapter.

MY FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… When I received my first cochlear implant, I was waiting in the audiologist’s office at Mayo Clinic for my second mapping. I thought I was doing so well and could hear most of all the conversations around the waiting room except for two elderly ladies sitting on the other side of my husband, Jim. I leaned to Jim and said, ‘I can’t understand a word those two people are saying.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Rose, maybe because they are speaking Spanish.’ We were both laughing so hard; my audiologist came out to get us and said this has to be about a CI moment. There are been many CI moments that bring a smile to my face.

DISADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… When you can’t hear, and you are by yourself in a room full of people, it is so lonely.

ADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… the incredible people I have met because of my hearing loss, the smile on someone’s face when you give them advice about their own loss that they never knew before, or just the look on their face when they know you truly understand

WHEN I GREW UP, I WANTED TO BE… a teacher.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… Christmas was my favorite time, I was about three years old; but another favorite memory is sitting on my dad’s lap in the evening and he would sing what I called the ‘Moon Song,’ I don’t remember what the real title was. I can remember the chair we sat in each night outside on
the patio.

FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY… clothes! I love clothes and my mom made almost all of my clothes when I was young.

HARDEST THING I’VE DONE… let my children make choices that I knew would not be in their best interest

FIRST MEMORY OF REAL EXCITEMENT… Christmas morning. I would get so excited I often got sick on Christmas day from all the excitement.

SOUNDS I LOVE… with my cochlear implants, it’s the sound of everything. I never believed I would hear this well.

IN MY SPARE TIME… I love to play golf or read.

I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT… shy!

I MISS… Those who have gone before me. I also miss the things that my husband and I did together. He was 13 when he became an amputee and has worn prosthesis for 63 years. We found things to do together; he loved golf, so I learned it. We don’t golf anymore but we go out more to be with people as I can now better communicate with others.

HAPPINESS IS… hearing; being married to a wonderful husband for 46 years, enjoying family and friends

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… really cherish my time alone.

MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT… If I have one, I really am not aware of it.

CITY, BEACH, COUNTRY OR MOUNTAINS?… Mountains for sure—I feel peace and serenity when I can
see mountains.

FAVORITE PLACE TO BE… home

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… chocolate.

I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… Jesus, but if I met Him when he was on this earth, would I have really known Him at that time?

FAVORITE SEASON… Fall, because I love and marvel at the colors each day brings. I love the change of seasons and Asheville has all of them.

I COLLECT… Longaberger baskets.

YOU’VE JUST WON A $1,000 SHOPPING SPREE TO A FAVORITE STORE… I’d go to Chico’s and buy clothes.

FAVORITE COLOR?… Green, all shades.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… babysitter, secretary, homemaker, gift shop sales, volunteer (more volunteer jobs than any paying jobs)

FAVORITE FOODS… pizza, lasagna, mountain trout, lobster tail, chocolate malts

LAST BOOK I READ… A Lucky Irish Lad by Kevin O’Hara

MY FRIENDS WOULD SAY I AM… a good friend.

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME… that I was not better than anyone else in God’s eyes.

MY FATHER TAUGHT ME… to pray.

GET ANYTHING GOOD IN THE MAIL LATELY? A memorial program and pin for someone dear to me whose memorial service I could not attend

THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… This makes me laugh as I have said it so many times—my iPad!

I HAVE A FEAR OF… heights when there are no barriers.

PHRASE I OVERUSE… “It is what it is.”

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… my faith.

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS?… Arnold Palmer

PET PEEVE… People think you hear everything because you wear hearing aids or cochlear implants.

MY MOTTO... “Let go and let God!”

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… my children

Hearing Loss Magazine has many articles of interest to people with all levels of hearing loss It keeps going on from me, I share it and know the people I share it with also share it.

______________________________

Kathy Borzell

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MY SISTER, ROSEMARY… She’s made my life easier being able to share my hearing loss journey with her. She has always been there for me.

MY HEARING LOSS… I was about 19 when it was noticed that I wasn’t hearing normally. My father and my oldest brother were also hard of hearing so I just figured I had ‘it’ too. Little did I know at that time how much ‘it’ would impact my life!

SAGE ADVICE FOR SOMEONE NEWLY-DIAGNOSED WITH HEARING LOSS… Find support through others who have hearing loss. Your hearing loss professional can be wonderful and helpful to you, but there’s nothing more empowering than being in a safe environment of your peers. You’ll be so much better equipped to deal with life in the hearing world!

MY FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… I was in my late 20s and at a cocktail party with my husband. I was having a conversation with a gal who was talking about being a “Buddhist.” She told me she had a special room in her house where she practiced. The conversation went on, and I just nodded my head (knowing nothing about Buddhism!) when I finally realized she was telling me she was a flutist. Now that made sense!
We’ve done a lot of laughing at this over the years.

DISADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… it impacts every aspect of your life. Until you come to terms with hearing loss, it can eat you up.

ADVANTAGES OF A HEARING LOSS… Silence can be very nice.

WHEN I GREW UP I WANTED TO BE…I had no clue.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… Christmas—I am the youngest of five children, and my siblings spoiled me so much.

THE BEST/WORST GIFT I’VE RECEIVED… my hearing loss

FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY… my first car—a Toyota Corolla that was a lemon, but I loved it anyway

HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… say goodbye to my late brother

FIRST MEMORY OF REAL EXCITEMENT While I can’t remember a specific time, I’m sure it must have been at Christmas time.

SOUNDS I LOVE… the wind blowing and birds chirping.

IN MY SPARE TIME… I play golf, read, cook, take care of my plants and garden.

I MISS… listening to John Denver without assistive equipment.

HAPPINESS IS… feeling okay with oneself.

IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD FOR A YEAR, WHERE WOULD IT BE? Right here, where I am, in these beautiful mountains

I WISH I HAD A TALENT FOR…line dancing.

YOU JUST WON THE $10 MILLION LOTTERY. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? I go into hiding.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… pizza and chocolate.

I WOULD LIKE TO MEET… Joe Namath.

FAVORITE SEASON… Fall—it’s just so gorgeous here and, oh, football season!

YOU’VE JUST WON A $1,000 SHOPPING SPREE TO A FAVORITE STORE! Chico’s for clothes!

FIVE FAVORITE SONGS… Looking for Space by John Denver, Carolina on My Mind by James Taylor, Kathy’s Song by Simon & Garfunkel, Up on the Roof by James Taylor and No One in the World by Anita Baker

MY KIDS HAVE TAUGHT ME… that I’ve done a better job of being a mother than I give myself credit for.

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… sliced pizza

I HAVE A FEAR OF… driving over bridges.

I REALLY SHOULD STOP… shopping online.

PHRASE I OVERUSE… can’t repeat it here

SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOME THAT YOU ARE SURE MOST PEOPLE DON’T… a Shake-Awake alarm

MY THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS… my engagement ring, my home, my dog

FAVORITE QUOTE… “Bless the beasts and the children—they have no voice, they have no choice.”

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS? Donald Trump—while working at The Bowery Savings Bank in Manhattan

MY LONG-TERM GOAL IS… to grow old gracefully.

PET PEEVE… Sitting in a noisy restaurant or bar or airport where there is a TV but no captioning. Then again, the rest of the crowd is as clueless as I am.

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED AS… a caring person who tried to make a difference.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? Raising my kids—they’re good people





Seen & Heard: Laurie D. Pullins

17 07 2012

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.





Attention HLAA Members! Want to be Seen & Heard?

4 06 2012

Last year I developed a column called “Seen & Heard” for the Hearing Loss Magazine, which I design and produce bimonthly for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). This year we’re continuing the efforts to feature more HLAA members in this fun, lively and revealing question-and-answer column. If you’re registered for HLAA Convention 2012 in Providence, Rhode Island, and want to participate, please follow the steps listed below:

1) E-mail me at dyerdesign@aol.com and I will send you the questionnaire in Word format.

2) You must answer directly in the Word document, then add your name to the filename and return it to me no later than June 15 to be considered. We ask that you take your time—make us laugh, make us cry—reveal yourself, show us what makes you special. And please, don’t make all of your answers just one word—we want to get to know you! The questions are fun and not too personal, so don’t be scared!

3) Once you submit your answers to dyerdesign@aol.com, I will e-mail you with the date, time and place for your photo session during Convention 2012 in Providence, R.I.

4) Pretend it’s elementary school picture day—wear something colorful that you think will photograph well—we frown upon dull tones, putty colors and “griege.” We love blue, red, purple, orange, yellow, green and even patterns (floral, plaids, etc.) for our Seen & Heard profile photos! And, if you insist, even black and white would work if you’re colorphobic—but we strongly prefer more color for our photos.

5) Stay tuned for possible future publication in the Hearing Loss Magazine or on HLAA’s website at www.hearingloss.org!

I must have your submission by June 15 to be considered for publication in a future issue of the magazine. Answer as many questions as you can (please do not make them all one-word answers, though!), but keep in mind that we will select our favorite answers from each profile to print. This column is aimed to get to know you, your hearing loss, and fun facts about you. We aim to feature 1-2 members per issue, but due to space constraints and the number of participants we had last year (48!), we will begin publishing many of them on the HLAA website—so check the website often for new profiles.

If you have just joined HLAA and haven’t seen our new column, click here to view some sample questions from a previous profile.





Seen & Heard: Eloise Schwarz

14 05 2012

Eloise Schwarz, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made her Seen & Heard profile debut in the May/June 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which just arrived in member mailboxes. 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! We’ll be publishing one or two profiles (as space allows) in each issue of the bimonthly magazine. Other members previously profiled were Danielle Nicosia, John Kinstler, Judy Martin, Anne Taylor, Sam Spritzer and Jeff Bonnell.

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.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

ELOISE SCHWARZ Born 7.9.1952 in Quincy, IL / Resides in Wauwatosa, WI

MY HEARING LOSS… I’ve had a hearing loss since birth. Ten years ago I got hearing aids.

SAGE ADVICE… Think about, ask about and learn about hearing loss—
find others with it and join them!

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE… teacher.

FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY… a house

THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… was getting my MBA.

IN MY SPARE TIME, I… write.

HOBBIES? Sewing, playing piano, talking politics with family and friends

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… stutter.

MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT IS… grant writing.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… chocolate.

I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… both President Bush’s.

I COLLECT… tiny cups and saucers.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… housekeeping, nursing, laundry, nurse’s aide

I AM… organized, objective and dependable.

I HAVE A FEAR OF… uncleanliness.

I REALLY SHOULD STOP… worrying!

I REALLY SHOULD START… laughing!

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… my computer.

MY BIGGEST PET PEEVE IS… my hearing loss and not being able to understand the technology and aids for it.

FAVORITE QUOTE… Life is a big canvas—throw all you can on it!

EVER MEET ANYONE FAMOUS? Yes, the governor of Wisconsin and one of the prisoners from The Rock.

MY THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS… my wedding rings and my car (a new VW)

KINDEST THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE FOR ME… My husband loves me, married me and cares for me!

MY LONG-TERM GOAL IS… to travel to all 50 states.

IF I RULED THE WORLD… We would all see and hear things through my ears and eyes!

MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… getting ahead, living even though I’ve had so many life-death encounters in my life

I love the real-life articles about real-life people in Hearing Loss Magazine.





Seen & Heard: Jeff Bonnell

14 05 2012

Jeff Bonnell, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made his Seen & Heard profile debut in the May/June 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which just arrived in member mailboxes. 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! We’ll be publishing one or two profiles (as space allows) in each issue of the bimonthly magazine. Other members previously profiled were Danielle Nicosia, John Kinstler, Judy Martin, Anne Taylor and Sam Spritzer,

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.

My favorite response from Jeff? “I simply cannot live without… air.”

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

JEFF BONNELL  Born 6.15.1948 in Worthington, OH / Resides in Atlanta, GA

MY HEARING LOSS… No one knew I was totally deaf in my right ear until my first grade teacher noticed I had to turn my head to hear when we were playing “Pass the Secret” game. She called my folks; I was tested right away. My left ear compensated for my hearing loss until a minor stroke 12 years ago left me with only 5 percent hearing in my “good” ear. My hearing aid restores my sanity!

SAGE ADVICE… Know you are not alone; more than 36 million Americans have a hearing loss, too. Hearing loss can certainly be frustrating, but advocate for yourself and your hearing loss. Help educate those who can hear how to best communicate with you (e.g., look directly at me, don’t cover your mouth when talking, etc.)

FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… I tried to get my 96-year-old mother to use closed captioning on her TV. She finally relented to using it when Victor, her soap opera star, was using a voiceover while he was ‘thinking’ instead of moving his lips. After just a short while, Mom exclaimed, “Do you know sometimes the words appear on the screen before the person actually says them?!” Go, Mom!

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE… an English teacher.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY… I loved teaching neighborhood kids in our basement classroom, complete with a large blackboard!

FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY… A bright orange Plymouth Barracuda!

CRITTERS? I had two cats who lived to be 14 and 21. We had a coming-of-age party when Julya turned 21!

THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… Console the family of a suicide victim (I work part time in a funeral home.)

I LOVE THE SOUNDS OF… birds chirping, clocks ticking, waves pounding the surf and chimes.

HOBBIES? Gardening, traveling, reading, hanging out

MULTILINGUAL? Je parle un peu de Français und Ich spreche Deutsch.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… had open-heart surgery.

MY LITTLE KNOWN TALENT IS… singing in the shower.

I HAVE A WEAKNESS FOR… anything chocolate.

I COLLECT… airline memorabilia.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… cleaned school houses, taught 7th and 8th grade English, and English as a Second Language, reservations sales agent and supervisor for Delta Air Lines, and funeral assistant in a funeral home

I AM… liberal, caring and outgoing.

BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD… Computers

I HAVE UNCANNY ABILITY TO… make people smile.

I SIMPLY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT… air.

THREE FAVORITE POSSESSIONS… My liberty, my family and my free time

LONG-TERM GOAL… peer mentor for hard of hearing folks

SHORT-TERM GOAL… Consoling families after they experience death in the family

I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED AS… loving, kind and thoughtful.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT… Passing Algebra

I enjoy the variety of articles in Hearing Loss Magazine and wish it came out monthly! Encourage articles from frontline folks like us.





Seen & Heard: Anne Taylor

14 01 2012

Anne Taylor, a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), made her Seen & Heard profile debut in the January/February 2012 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, which just arrived in member mailboxes. Seen & Heard is a new column in our magazine and we had 48 members get enthusiastically involved in our first outreach effort! We’ll be publishing one or two profiles (as space allows) in each issue of the bimonthly magazine. Other members previously profiled were Danielle Nicosia, John Kinstler and Judy Martin.

One of Anne’s answers was really original. When asked to “Name something you have in your home that you are sure most people don’t,” she answered: “My husband!”

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.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

MY HEARING LOSS… A teacher noticed I was hard of hearing when I was six years old. I have worn hearing aids all my life until two years ago. I received my first cochlear implant in August 19, 2009 and my second one on September 1, 2010.

SAGE ADVICE… Just know that you are one of approximately 36 million Americans with some level of hearing loss. Join a support group (e.g., HLAA) for information exchange.

MY FUNNY HEARING LOSS MOMENT… I thought God’s name was “Harold.” (Hallowed be thy name)

WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE… an airline stewardess.

THE FIRST THING I BOUGHT WITH MY OWN MONEY… clothes

THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE… was admit that I had a hearing loss.

I LOVE THE SOUND OF… the patter of rain, the click of a switch and my husband’s voice.

IN MY SPARE TIME, I… study in a peer mentoring program,work out, play tennis and travel.

I DEFINITELY AM NOT… stupid because I lost my hearing.

HAPPINESS IS… hearing again with cochlear implants.

I MISS… my family in England.

PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… maintain tennis courts.

WORKING NINE TO FIVE… I was a French teacher, a barmaid and in the British Civil Service.

MUSIC TO MY EARS… “Imagine,” “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” and the “Sound of Silence”

LITERARY FAVES… 10,000 Puns, Water for Elephants, The Girl Who Played With Fire

THE LAST BOOK I READ WAS… The GIrl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

FAVORITE MOVIES… Cadence, On Golden Pond, Rainman

I AM… sympathetic, nice and friendly.

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME… to knit.

MY FATHER TAUGHT ME… to play cards.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD? Cochlear implants!

NAME SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOME THAT YOU ARE SURE MOST PEOPLE DON’T… My husband!

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? Coming out of the deaf closet

I love reading about other people’s success stories in Hearing Loss Magazine.