From: Warkworth, Ontario, Canada
In 1970, Jennifer was born with a severe-to-profound hearing loss due to congenital Rubella. At her parents’ encouragement, she quickly adopted hearing technology and developed an appreciation for the value it brings to her life.
Jennifer went to a special needs school as a young child, but as she was not completely deaf nor completely hearing, she felt as if she was stuck between two worlds. She later attended mainstream school and thrived.
“My mother worked with the teachers to show them how to use the FM equipment as well as providing great tips such as facing me, avoiding brightly lit windows, and placing me up in front of the class,” says Jennifer.
“I’ve discovered there is no shame in wearing hearing aids and, in fact, my hearing aids are decorated with glittering crystals and I wear bright pink and white swirled ear molds. Virtually everyone who meets me is quick to exclaim, ‘I love your hearing aids!’”
Jennifer is proud to not only show off her hearing devices, but take the time to discuss them with others and help them understand the reality of hearing loss.
“Being bold has opened many doors, and because I embrace my hearing aids, it has made it a more welcoming and enlightening experience for others who want to learn more about being hard-of-hearing,” says Jennifer.
“I’ve had many people approach me and ask all sorts of curious questions about hearing loss and they often request where they can get a pair of hearing aids and ear molds just like mine. They’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how old you are, anyone can have a hearing loss, and it’s just a matter of accepting it and moving forward in life.”
With the help of her hearing aids, Jennifer has gone on to experience success in many aspects of her life. She is a writer, photographer, graphic designer, public speaker, and an avid athlete.
“I’ve accomplished many things such as becoming a Black Belt, fencing, coaching martial arts and ice hockey, and teaching at a summer camp,” says Jennifer. “I have also tried out for the Women’s Team Canada in Ice Hockey and Team Canada in Grappling/Jiu Jitsu.”
One of Jennifer’s greatest accomplishments is her young adult series that was inspired by her life with hearing loss.
“I wanted to show the world what it was like living with a hearing loss and, at the same time, provide hope and inspiration for others going through the same experience,” she says. “The feedback I’ve received from readers of all ages has been extremely positive. The books have proven to have made a difference in people’s perceptions about hearing loss and allowed the readers to fall in love with a sweet and endearing character who is simply striving to do the best she can under difficult circumstances—just like me.”
The series has impacted many people and received critical acclaim:
Jennifer is a HearStrong Champion because she has made it a priority in her life to shatter stigmas surrounding heairng loss and prove that hearing aids are nothing to be ashamed of! She has been recognized for her efforts as a HearStrong Champion, and in 2010, she became the first Canadian to receive an Oticon Focus on People Award.
“Being a HearStrong Champion is an amazing honor, and an extension of what I already do as an author and public speaker,” says Jennifer. “I am currently editing my fourth novel in the series and writing the fifth, so there are more inspirational stories to come! I truly believe that by educating others about hearing loss and letting them see the positive outcome is a truly rewarding experience. There is nothing more gratifying than being true to myself and provide inspiration to others. It gives them a chance to believe in themselves too.”
Visit www.jennifergibson.ca to learn more about Jennifer!
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