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8 Notable African Americans With Hearing Loss | Black History Month

With an estimated one in five Americans directly touched by hearing loss ó a common chronic condition that spans race, gender, age, and socioeconomic status ó some icons in pop culture and beyond have experienced this challenge in their own lives.

As the nation celebrates Black History Month this February, take a look at these eight African-American notables who triumphed over hearing impairment to bring their dreams to life.

  1. Whoopi Goldberg

    Oscar-winning actress, comedienne, activist, writer, and The View moderator Goldberg cites longtime exposure to loud music for her hearing loss, according to published reports. The Sister Act and Ghost icon, who has collaborated with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, wears hearing aids and has advised others to take care of their hearing health.

  2. Derrick Coleman

    As the NFLís first legally deaf offensive player, Falcons fullback Coleman began tackling adversity at an early age ó just 3 years old when he lost his hearing ó to eventually not only make it in the NFL but to win a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2014. He launched the nonprofit Derrick L. Coleman Jr. No Excuse Foundation to give back to hearing-impaired kids, teens, and adults in need.

  3. Tamika Catchings

    The four-time Olympic gold medalist and retired WNBA great of Indiana Fever fame was born with a hearing loss, using the experience to help fuel her drive to win. ìIn the classroom, kids could make fun of me for being different,î wrote Catchings in a 2011 ESPN profile. ìOn the soccer field (my first sport) and eventually the basketball court, they couldnít. I outworked them, plain and simple.î

  4. Andrew Foster

    Being the first African-American to hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gallaudet University, the renowned school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students, is one of many firsts for Foster, who then earned two masterís degrees at other institutions and eventually launched more than 30 schools for the deaf in over a dozen African nations.

  5. Halle Berry

    An alleged domestic-violence incident led to Berryís hearing loss, but the Oscar-winning actress, activist, beauty-brand spokesperson, and X-Men megastar didnít let that setback torpedo her goals. Berry, also a producer, has some 50 or so film and television acting roles under her belt and continues a robust career.

  6. Will.i.am

    This Emmy- and Grammy-winning recording artist, tech visionary, producer, DJ, and designer is known worldwide for his Black Eyed Peas hits. Many may not know that the global entertainer experiences tinnitus, which he describes as a constant ringing in his ears.

  7. Claudia Gordon

    After losing her hearing at age 8 and migrating to the United States from Jamaica with her mother at age 11, Gordon defied the naysayers and earlier experiences of discrimination to not only reportedly become the first deaf black female attorney but to help enforce the rights of the disabled as a lawyer in the federal executive branch under former Pres. Barack Obama.

  8. Connie Briscoe

    New York Times best-selling author Briscoe was born with a hearing loss, but she never let it slow her down. The Money Canít Buy Love and Big Girls Donít Cry writer has sold more than 600,000 hardcover and paperback copies of her first novel alone, according to her website, and she gives back by helping ìother writers craft their novels so they can reach their writing goals and dreams.î


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Non-Hispanic African-Americans ìhave the lowest prevalence of hearing loss among adults aged 20ñ69,î per the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
  • Some 48% of hearing-impaired people overall had jobs in 2014, per a 2016 report by the National Deaf Center, but only 40.6% of hearing-impaired African-Americans are in the labor force.
  • Since 1982, the nonprofit National Black Deaf Advocates ó along with more than 30 local chapters ó has worked with parents, professionals, organizations, and others to help ensure representation of deaf community members in public policy, leadership, economic opportunity, and more.

This year, donít let hearing loss get in the way of reaching your own dreams ó not even a little bit! Be a hero to the people who count on you by keeping your hearing in top shape. Contact us to schedule a hearing exam or clean and check of your hearing aids today.

How to Talk About Your Hearing Loss in Different Social Situations

A hearing loss advocate is open and can ask others to be the same. When you normalize hearing loss instead of hiding it, you lessen the negative stigma around a hearing impairment. Hearing your best means having the right technology for the environments you’re in most often — t speci cally to your unique hearing needs — and maximizing that technology with better communication strategies. Being honest with co-workers, family members, and friends about what you need is the rst step toward understanding.

Your loved ones are the most important people in your life, and they feel the same way about you. They are there to support you, but they may not know how. Here are our suggestions to help start that conversation.

TALK IT OUT.
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with hearing loss or you’re t with technology, it’s best to speak to those closest to you about your hearing loss.

BE HONEST.
Explain how your daily activities are a ected by your hearing loss. Give speci c examples so they understand what they can do to help.

LET THEM KNOW.
If you wish your loved
ones would do something di erent or help you out, let them know. This can be an ongoing conversation.

There is value in knowing you’re not the only one in the workforce with hearing loss. Of the people with hearing loss, 60 percent are either in the workforce or in educational settings. These steps will help you talk to your employer about not only your hearing loss but how to help you continue to do your best work.

BUILD CONFIDENCE.
Talking to your employer about your hearing loss may be intimidating. To help build up your con dence, practice what you want to say to make sure you cover the important points.

HELP YOUR EMPLOYER.
Explain how your hearing loss a ects your duties at work. Come to your employer with solutions so they have a better understanding of how to help.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.
Learn your employer’s policy for supporting people with a disability or health condition, as well as what steps you can take together to ensure you’re able to do what you do best.

Depending on your personality and mood, the public can be the easiest or most dif cult to explain your hearing impairment to.

BE OPEN.
Explain that you have a hard time hearing, and ask for what you need. That addresses your hearing impairment while establishing a foundation for the conversation.

IT’S UP TO YOU.
Do not feel obligated to
tell everyone about your experience. The more you practice advocacy, the easier it will be to judge whether telling that person is helpful.

LAUGH IT OFF.
If someone has a negative reaction because you did not hear them, make light of the situation. Speaking directly
to what happened forces a conversation, which increases education and understanding.

Start breaking the stigmas.
Call us for more information on hearing loss, workplace rights, community programs, and how you can advocate against hearing loss stigmas.

Breaking Hearing Loss Stigmas One Conversation At A Time

Those affected by hearing loss may have dif culty explaining how their life changed when they began to lose their hearing. Though it can be di cult to articulate what it’s like to live with hearing loss, speaking up can be very empowering. This guide can help you through those conversations.

Educating others empowers them and yourself to change hearing loss stigmas. How you respond to your hearing loss can in uence how others do as well.

Research tells us that concealing your hearing loss can create tension in your social or professional life that could negatively a ect your health and well-being. On the other hand, talking about it alleviates the strain of trying to hide the condition. Plus, it increases your chances of nding a support network with others who understand.

To be a successful advocate, the most essential trait you can have is openness. As an advocate, it’s important to communicate fully and have the con dence to request this openness from others. Good advocates are tenacious, patient, and gracious toward those who help their cause.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your physician. Oftentimes they do not screen for hearing loss during a physical. Remind them that screening for hearing loss is important because it can be a window into your overall health. By bringing this to their attention, who knows who else you’ll be helping?

Advanced Hearing Care Honored By Bartlesville Chamber Of Commerce

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Above: Trevor Sutterfield, president and owner of Sutterfield Financial Group Inc., accepts the award for 2015 Business of the Year.
Left: Dr. Stephanie Moore, founder of Advanced Hearing Care, thanks guests after being presented the 2015 Small Business of the Year Award.

Two local businesses dedicated to above-and-beyond customer service and client relationships were honored Tuesday night at the Bartlesville Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 111th Annual Awards and Gala, held at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Advanced Hearing Care was recognized Tuesday night as the 2015 Small Business of the Year. The business was founded in 2006 by Dr. Stephanie Moore and provides audiology services to the community through quality patient-doctor relationships and exceptional customer service.

Moore, who suffered twice from a rare inner-ear virus at a young age that caused her to lose nearly all hearing in her right ear, said she is thankful for her patients and the community in which she lives and works.

“I love Bartlesville, I love my patients and I love what I do,” she said. “We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of the babies turning on their hearing aids for the first time and we just bawl. That’s what I get to do every day. I love my job, it’s amazing.”

View PDF of Examiner-Enterprise Business News • 918-335-8233 Sunday, May 24, 2015 (758 kb)

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World Health Organization Reports on Hearing Loss

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This spring the World Health Organization (WHO) released its latest figures on hearing loss around the globe, revealing that hearing impairment is more widespread than ever.

More than 360 million people are afflicted with disabling hearing loss.

Key facts:

  • 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss.
  • Hearing loss may be inherited, caused by maternal rubella or complications at birth, certain infectious diseases such as meningitis, chronic ear infections, use of ototoxic drugs, exposure to excessive noise and ageing.
  • Half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable through primary prevention.
  • People with hearing loss can benefit from devices such as hearing aids, assistive devices and cochlear implants, and from captioning, sign language training, educational and social support.
  • Current production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of global need.
  • WHO is assisting countries in developing programmes for primary ear and hearing care that are integrated into the primary health-care system of the country.
  • One in three people over the age of 65 is hard of hearing, as are 32 million children under age 15. Still, the situation seems hopeful for many, so long as treatment is available.

Hearing Aids Can Help

Hearing aids would make a fundamental difference for so many lives, yet of the millions of people in the world who suffer from hearing loss, only a fraction wear hearing aids. Access to care, of course, remains a central problem, but as Dr. Shelly Chadha of WHO’s Department of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness observes, “The stigma attached to hearing loss and the use of hearing aids is one of the biggest challenges, one of the biggest barriers, to providing services for hearing loss and improving access to hearing aids.”

Hearing loss and deafness

A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing – hearing thresholds of 25dB or better in both ears – is said to have hearing loss. Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears, and leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or loud sounds.

‘Hard of hearing’ refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. They usually communicate through spoken language and can benefit from hearing aids, captioning and assistive listening devices. People with more significant hearing losses may benefit from cochlear implants.

‘Deaf’ people mostly have profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing. They often use sign language for communication.

Help Spread the Word

Let others know what’s possible with quality hearing care! If you currently enjoy better hearing through hearing aids, be sure to share your experience with your friends and neighbors. Together we can help create positive attitudes about how much better life can be with clear hearing.

Read more about this: WHO Factsheet February 2013