Documentary “We Hear You” Shines a Light on the Hearing Loss Experience

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Do you feel like hearing loss is accurately represented in mainstream media? Neither do I. Of the 48 million Americans who have trouble hearing, only 2 million identify as Deaf (capital D), using sign language as their primary form of communication. Yet, sign language is the lived experience that is most often portrayed on the large and small screen. For most of us — especially those of us who developed hearing loss later in life — our personal and professional networks live in the hearing world, and that is where we want to remain. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see our experience — the living with hearing loss experience — displayed and explained to the world. Over the past several months, I have been working on a documentary to do just that.

We Hear You Shines A Light on the Hearing Loss Experience

With co-executive producers Roxana Rotundo and Holly Cohen, I am proud to debut the trailer for We Hear You, a groundbreaking 1 hour documentary about hearing loss, the invisible disability that impacts 466 million people worldwide. Created and produced by people with hearing loss, We Hear You tells the story of 4 women battling the stigmas and challenges of hearing loss. The documentary was conceived, filmed and directed across two continents, all during the COVID-19 pandemic. A labor of love and advocacy, we are proud to share with the hearing loss community. 

What is our hearing loss documentary about?

When you have hearing loss, conversation is like a game of Wheel of Fortune. Some of the letters are blank. Others are filled in. People with hearing loss take these incomplete sounds and put them into words or phrases that make sense in the context of the conversation. It doesn’t always work, leaving us isolated and alone. The pandemic made this worse, as masks took away our superpower — lipreading. We struggle to fit into the hearing world, yet there is a silver lining — meeting one another. 

We Hear You features 4 women with hearing loss, each confronting stigmas, setbacks and successes, as they strive to live well despite the challenges of hearing loss.

Toni lives in the hearing world, but due to a profound hearing loss she does not hear enough to discern speech. She lipreads with almost 100% accuracy, except for the one time it mattered most. 

Roxana began losing her hearing when she moved to the United States from Venezuela to start her own film and TV distribution company. Hearing aids worked, then didn’t. Cochlear implants allowed her to re-engage with her business and her life. 

Holly was in her early 20’s when she was diagnosed with hearing loss. She lived in denial for 10 years, until one work meeting when she could not follow the discussion. Wearing hearing aids changed her life. Loss has formed her, not defined her. 

And then there’s me. I grew up watching my father struggle with his own hearing loss. Stigmatized, he never asked anyone to repeat or speak louder. I vowed I would face my own hearing loss differently, and I have.

Watch the We Hear You trailer

We Hear You shines a light on the hearing loss experience. It shows a more inclusive world — one that is built for us too. It shatters stigmas of hearing loss that linger, even in our own community and highlights the ways people with hearing loss rise to advocate and build a better world for us all. Enjoy the captioned trailer below. 

What Comes Next?

The full documentary will be available in April. We hope it will be bought by a TV network and/or streaming service and raise the voices and experiences of people with hearing loss to a broader audience.

Please help us generate excitement for the project! Share the captioned We Hear You trailer with others in the hearing loss community or on social media using the hashtag #WeHearYou.

Readers, what do you want to see in a documentary about hearing loss?

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33 thoughts on “Documentary “We Hear You” Shines a Light on the Hearing Loss Experience

  1. Susan Berger – Blogging is one big experiment for me. Will it work? Who knows. I'll link websites that have published my essays and maybe I'll write original posts. My topics will be observations, points of view and life as I see it. I'm still marinating...
    Susan Berger says:

    Looking forward to seeing this in April!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thanks Susan!

  2. Great idea and execution. I await the day when someone addresses those of us who are SSD – which adds another layer of challenge to navigate one’s life. We are truly ‘the forgotten.’

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Fabulous, Shari! This should help lift the veil of ignorance and/or avoidance regarding the hearing loss disability that affects so many of us.
    Wishing you and your co-producers great success in distribution — after which I’d love to see a sequel featuring four males. Perhaps a senior, a working person, a young adult and a student.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  4. This looks amazing! Four fantastic, informed and articulate advocates sharing their experiences so vulnerably. The gorgeous photography and music add such richness. Thank you for all you have put into this. We need this so much.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your support!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you! We hope so too!

  5. I love the short clip of the video. Makes me think back to when I first realized it was me that couldn’t hear and not others that speak loud enough. It wasn’t easy, still isn’t but it is what it is and I am trying my hardest to not let it define my or my life. Thanks for all you do.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Thank you and your co-producers for this much needed documentary. It reinforces there are millions of us. And, that we are strong, resilient and creative. Being diagnosed can be a “gut punch,” but we get up and discover the many silver linings.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for sharing your reaction.

  7. Very powerful! Thank you Shari, Toni, Holly and Roxana. You speak for 48 million people in this country who live with hearing loss and who will understand they are not alone. I look forward to viewing the documentary and sharing it widely.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you Elaine!

  8. Nice project. Thanks for taking this on. It would be wonderful to see that this is successful. Some of the captions did not display. Has anyone seen the same?

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      The captions are burned into the video so hopefully others are not having this issue. Thank you for alerting me to it.

  9. Shari, thank you for this project as well as all you did for getting our online meetings captioned thru Zoom and other platforms. You are the definition of a true advocate. Keep it up.
    Mike

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for your kind words.

  10. Thank you Shari!! This is much needed. Hearing loss and it’s effects are very difficult to explain to explain in a way that people get it, and I guess for that reason, it hasn’t been.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      So true. Thank for sharing your thoughts.

  11. This is wonderful and I look forward to seeing the finished product! I certainly hope a streaming service picks it up. I am anxiously awaiting better technology in hearing aids that REALLY work in noisy environments and/or the fruition of recent pharmaceutical treatments. Having hearing loss is far better today than in previous years. Bravo for this documentary!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      We hope so too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  12. This is wonderful Shari ! I agree with another comment about showing men, women, and different age groups. I always like to emphasize that hearing aids are not just for volume.
    It is frustrating to have someone say “turn up the aids” when volume is not the only problem.
    Perhaps PBS would broadcast this when it is finished.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      We hope to include a greater diversity of ages, etc in the future. Filming during the pandemic made it more challenging this time around. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  13. Eagerly awaiting the documentary. Thank you all for doing this. A more diverse follow up would be good showing men and women, teens and young children, maybe even hearing spouses, parents and friends. My comment about the trailer is that sometimes the music covered the voices. I had to replay bits to “hear” what was being said.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for sharing your excellent feedback.

  14. Great trailer! I loved seeing the two women walking side by side but facing each other. That’s how I always walk — . It’s much more essential to lip read than to see where I’m going! (But not safe!) I also liked seeing women in the group shots who might also be lesbian. It’s not that my hearing-loss friends are homophobic or anti-gay, it’s just that I *always* feel invisible at hearing-loss oriented events. Like I don’t exist. Which leaves me feeling unwelcome. I’m hoping that the final cut includes people of color, too. Our educational materials need to include Black, Latinx, Native Americans and Asians, too. (Unless, somehow, hearing loss only affects white people. 🙂 Thanks for your wonderful work!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the trailer.

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