Champion - Barbara Bell

Clinical Social Worker • Advocate

From: San Anselmo, CA

Nominated by: Jessie Johnson of Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California

Life with Hearing Loss

"At age 3, I had no language and was babbling. When they put a hearing aid on me, I loved it. However, when they took it away, I cried."

At the age of 4 in the 1950s, Barbara’s mother and family friend started an oral program for the deaf in Orlando, FL, at Forrest Park School.

Overcoming Obstacles

"Even though I was the only deaf person in elementary school, middle school, high school, and college, my hearing aid helped me to hear even though I had a severe to profound hearing loss."

Barbara recalls the difficulties of hearing loss and how a hearing aid has immensely benefited her life.

"I learned to talk, speak, and read. Got into choir, girl scouts, horseback riding, and ballet. While I attended college, I got involved in my sorority. Without my hearing aid, I wouldn’t be able to hear anything."

Appreciating Life

Barbara has had many situations where her life has been positively impacted by hearing aids. However, Barbara says, "Getting a cochlear implant was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have worn hearing aids since the age of 3, but I finally got a cochlear implant at the age of 54 after not benefitting much from a behind-the-ear hearing aid. I heard wonderful stories about how cochlear implants can help one hear better." 

"I have high hopes that there will be better devices for us in the future that will help us hear and listen better."

Why Barbara is a HearStrong Champion

Barbara Bell, now employed as a clinical social worker, has spent more than 35 years working personally and professionally in the field of deafness.

She actively pursues innovative ways in helping those with hearing loss, providing psychotherapy for the deaf to adults, teens, and youths within the San Francisco area.

In her spare time, Barbara hosts a cochlear implant support group for those who are interested in a cochlear implant or whose family members are affected by hearing loss.

She continues to support and be active in the hearing impaired community.

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