From: Seattle, WA
While newborn hearing screenings did not exist at the time, it is believed that Kimberly was born with a genetic hearing loss. She was officially diagnosed with moderate to severe bilateral hearing loss at the age of 8. However, hearing devices were not readily available to her. “Family denial kept me from getting the help I needed and it was soon forgotten,” she says. “I went to university on a theatre scholarship and a professor noticed I was singing off key and suspected hearing loss. At age 22, I was diagnosed with severe to profound bilateral hearing loss and was fitted for hearing aids.”
Despite this new access, a lack of support and resources led her to put them in a drawer. Eventually, her hearing loss progressed and she became deaf.
The birth of her first son was the inspiration Kimberly needed to finally take action regarding her hearing loss and consistently use her devices. Her family relationships only improved from there.
“Once I began hearing [better],” she remembers, “I noticed that in my own family conversations, I stopped feeling so left out. I discovered that being able to understand speech has been the most amazing gift I have ever received. I am no longer an outsider; I am part of; I am included. Do you have any idea how good that feels?!”
Three years ago, her life was changed forever when she received a cochlear implant.
“The cochlear implant was a total life changer. I have been on fire and unstoppable ever since,” Kimberly says. “I knew I wanted to be an advocate for the hard of hearing [as well as] the hearing and raise awareness for the silent epidemic that is hearing loss. ...I wanted to help people and do so in a creative and unconventional way—an approachable and entertaining way. I wanted to engage my audience, connect with them and move them in a way that would change them to think differently about hearing loss and inspire them to take action in their lives.”
Kimberly knew that theatre has the power to transform, and so she decided to use her BA in Theatre Arts and lifelong dream of being a writer. She wrote Lost in Sound: A One Woman Play in the fall of 2013, and has since performed three shows to full houses and standing ovations. “The testimonials I have received from the hearing and hard of hearing alike affirm that I am accomplishing my goals,” she says.
“Ask for help and take action now,” she implores to those unsure about seeking assistance. “Please, don’t wait to treat your hearing loss like I did. Don’t waste another [minute] of your precious life living in the dark. You have no idea what you are missing, life is worth hearing!
To learn more about Kimberly and her work, visit http://lostinsound.biz/.
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