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Her Hearing Loss Spurred Her To Help Others

Geoffrey Cooling

You know it is nice sometimes to recognise the work of others. Especially when their selflessness has spurred them to help others. So I came across a great story about Nancy Gilbertson and I felt I had to salute her and her work. So who is Nancy? Glad You Asked That. Well we saw her story in the article Her Journey Through Hearing Loss 

Nancy suffered irreversible hearing loss in one ear after surgery. Ironically, the surgery was to correct her hearing. To add insult to injury, not just did she lose hearing in one ear, medication affected the hearing in the other ear. She was told she would be deaf by 35. She says:

“That was a death sentence to me because I am a people person,” she said. “I’m sure I can speak for almost anybody that we get to be very good actors and actresses and we can hide it quite well.”

Nancy said that at the time there was no support groups, there was no one that she could speak to about her sense of loss. Nor was there anyone to speak to about experiences with hearing loss. She herself has experienced the emotions that go along with hearing loss, the denial, the depression, the fear. 

Nancy was attending meetings of the Fox Valley chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America, but she felt there was an aspect missing from the meetings so she helped form HOPE (Hearing Other People’s Experiences) in 2015.

Hope by Lynelle Richardson on

HOPE is a place where people can share experiences and information. The group also supports family members of people with hearing loss. Last year Gilbertson also started a HOPE Chest, which is stocked with many communication devices to help others hear. Attendees of the group can borrow the devices to help in their decisions on what to use to help them hear better.

We think this is an outstanding idea, part of the underlying fear in hearing loss is not knowing what to expect. Having questions that are unanswered. The idea of groups like Nancy's is to give answers to all the questions from people who have real experiences of the problems. Nancy was spurred by her own hearing loss, while working through the emotions of it she decided that she should and could help others. Myself and Steve have differing experiences but we are driven by similar feelings. So Nancy Gilberston, we salute you.

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