“Hearing is an essential sense that allows us to enjoy life from a different perspective. Sometimes people do not realize how much they are missing, or how much their stress level can be relieved by simply seeking a proper diagnosis and treatment for hearing loss.”
Discovering Hearing Loss
Brenda was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss at the age of five. Although her parents were hoping she would break the cycle, this was no surprise to them as she became the 4th generation in her family’s lineage to be diagnosed. After noticing Brenda could only hear the music she listened to at a loud volume, they decided to get her hearing tested. Brenda was immediately fit with hearing aids and later enrolled in speech therapy classes. Being one of many members of her family with hearing loss, wearing hearing aids felt natural to her.
When Brenda was 26, her father noticed that she was beginning to speak louder than usual. She decided to get her hearing checked again and discovered that her hearing loss had worsened. At this time her three year old son had also been diagnosed with hearing loss and he was her priority. Five years later, she made the transition to a cochlear implant.
Importance of Hearing Better
Before she made the switch to a cochlear implant, Brenda had unknowingly become socially isolated, avoiding parties and loud gatherings. She realized that she had started working harder on her lessons as a chef instructor, so that students were less likely to ask questions. After receiving and adjusting to her cochlear implants, her quality of life improved tremendously.
“I was able to persevere and improve my life drastically for the best. I can now enjoy music again and can engage socially much better.” Hearing better has benefited her both personally and professionally. Brenda’s self-confidence soared and made her feel more comfortable in group settings. She became more confident teaching her classes and allowed herself to engage more with her students. Since she received her cochlear implant, she has become more social and more willing to try new things, like attending professional conferences and meeting new colleagues.
“My life improved so much that I even decided to go back to school to pursue a doctoral degree in Higher Education at the University of North Texas.”
Why Brenda is a HearStrong Champion
Brenda is a HearStrong Champion because she is committed to advocating for people with hearing loss and raising awareness about the different issues that affect her community. She is currently involved with the Dallas Hearing Foundation providing a yearly cooking workshop where she addresses the importance of self-advocacy and pursuing a post-secondary education. Her positive attitude and self-determination when faced with challenging situations make her an incredible role model for others with hearing loss, like her son. Brenda believes it is important to seek treatment for hearing loss and is determined to help others realize that their lives can significantly improve when they do so.
“Hearing loss is an invisible disability that should not be stigmatized. A person that cannot hear well can face isolation due to limitations in their communication, negatively impacting their life.”