Becoming a Hearing Health Advocate in Midlife

I am proud to be featured on Next Act For Women, a wonderful website about reinvention in midlife, discussing my transformation into a hearing health advocate. 

In a wide-ranging interview, Hélène asks me about my background growing up, my family life and why I left my career in finance to become a hearing health advocate. I talk about what drives my passion for helping others with hearing loss and why I started this blog. 

And there are pictures — of me as a child up through today. Please enjoy this personal story of my transformation. I hope it inspires you to find your own. 

Growing up in a household where her father’s genetic hearing loss was treated as shameful made it hard for Shari to confront her own progressive hearing issues as an adult. She now seeks to educate people about living with hearing loss and to create a community for others with hearing loss.

Tell us a little about your background…

I grew up in New Jersey, the older of two sisters. I was always a tomboy, playing on my town’s softball team—even stealing home base once. In high school, I turned my attention to modern dance and my studies.

We were a fairly typical family, with one exception, my father’s hearing loss. It was genetic and began in midlife. As a child, I was not always aware of his problems hearing. I knew he wore hearing aids, but I didn’t see how he struggled with embarrassment and shame, hiding his hearing loss to the detriment of his career, his personal relationships, and our family life.

I do remember one time at a party when I found him sitting alone off in the corner. I asked him why, and his reply was, “If someone wants to talk to me, they can come find me.” I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I realize that he probably found socializing in the loud room challenging and was seeking refuge from the embarrassment of trying to converse when he could not hear. I struggle with that same problem today.

To read the full interview please click here

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2 thoughts on “Becoming a Hearing Health Advocate in Midlife

  1. Jerry Henderson – Pownal Maine – Thank you for coming to my space. This is where I post thoughts, opinions and commentary on a variety of subjects at irregular intervals. I try to do something weekly, but have not nailed down a rigid schedule, like every Wednesday, yet. If you would like email notifications of new posts, you can make that happen right on the site. Simply enter your email address to subscribe. Also, if you would like to comment I welcome that. Just do so in the space at the bottom of any selected post. Sharing thoughts, opinion and commentary is a peculiarly human characteristic. It must be exercised to be enjoyed. Jerry Henderson
    Jerry says:

    Shari, that is a wonderful piece about your re-creation in mid-life. I particularly enjoyed the progressive family portraits that were so delightful. Thank you for that window into your life. It is a measure of your effectiveness that you so easily and eloquently share yourself with us.

    Your thoughts continue to challenge me to reach beyond my personal struggle to the larger community to try to make a difference in the way hearing loss is perceived and treated. I have to believe that no contribution is too small or insignificant. In that spirit I have approached our local library about the possibility of installing an audio loop in their community room. There are frequent author presentations, readings, open mike sessions and other programs that are impossible for me, and I assume for many others, to enjoy. It seems that there is an enthusiastic response that in time, I have reason to believe, will result in a positive outcome. At the very least, a seed has been planted.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of "We Hear You," an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, "Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss," (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Living With Hearing Loss says:

      Way to go Jerry! That is a great first step. I am glad you enjoyed the photos. Such a blast from the past. : )

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