From: Weston, CT
Nancy was first diagnosed with a mild, high-frequency hearing loss at age 6 when she was in kindergarten.
"My parents declined to fit me with a hearing aid, despite the audiologist’s recommendation. They were concerned about the social stigma for a child who wears hearing aids—which was even more intense in the 1970’s than it is now."
However, when Nancy was in seventh grade, her parents changed their minds because her untreated hearing loss began to interfere with her relationships with her peers.
"The group of girls I hung out with often told secrets in the noisy, plate-clattering cafeteria," Nancy said. "Some seemed offended because I couldn’t hear them. Finally, one of the girls—who wore green eyeliner—ordered me not to sit with her and her group at lunch anymore. That’s when my parents broke down and had me fit."
Since being fit with hearing aids, Nancy has improved her personal and professional relationships. Over time, her hearing loss became moderate to severe. She learned its cause as a mutation of the Connexxion 26 gene.
Despite challenges along the way, Nancy has grown into an accomplished musician.
"I received my first hearing aid not long after I started piano lessons. The piano quickly became a place where I could commune with my thoughts and, in a sense, experience my deepest self," says Nancy. "Shortly before my sixteenth birthday, I performed a Rachmanioff prelude in recital, but that summer, I lost the piano. This was partly due to my parents’ marital and financial problems, but also because of my hearing loss. I was told that with my hearing loss, I would never be a concert pianist.
Twenty five years went by as I summoned the courage to play again. In 2012, I debuted in a masterclass recital at the Weill venue in Carnegie Hall, wearing a shimmering gown and my hearing aids. Today, I serve as founding editor and publisher of the website, Grand Piano Passion™, which has readers from all over the world, and celebrates people who make music despite hearing loss."
Nancy challenges the negative stigmas that surround people with hearing loss. She is very vocal about her loss and encourages others to do the same. She follows the mantra, "Reveal, don't conceal."
In addition to being an accomplished pianist, Nancy works as a strategic marketing consultant in the hearing healthcare field. To excel in her career, Nancy has to communicate with her clients constantly, and she uses those opportunities to bring attention to hearing loss.
"In my line of work, I make a point of telling each and every one of my clients that I have a hearing loss," she says. "Every time someone with hearing loss unveils their condition and asks for what they need, we as a community take another step toward loosening the stigma."
Nancy is a shining example of the importance of seeking treatment for hearing loss. She inspires others through her music, her bravery, and her advocacy. She recognizes the positive impact of HearStrong, saying,
"I am happy to be part of your endeavor to educate people with hearing loss on the importance of seeking treatment for enhanced communication."
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