The Gift of Hearing

Exactly one year ago today I was on a flight from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh after a wonderful winter holiday vacation. On the descent of the plane my ears popped so severely that it caused me to have sudden onset hearing loss in both ears. I was just entering my spring semester at college and my hearing loss made it more and more difficult and frustrating to understand my teachers and classmates. My parents and friends kept telling me to go to the doctors, but I was convinced that it was a short term situation and that my hearing would come back any day.

After weeks with no progress and growing frustration, I finally went to an audiologist in Pittsburgh.  After several tests it was determined that I had lost most all of the hearing capability in my right ear and about half in my left. Doctors couldn’t determine the exact reason for the sudden loss and did not know if it would come back.

After months and months of doctors appointments, cat scans, MRI’s, and hearing tests. I finally came to terms with the loss and started trying to find ways to make-do with the hearing I had. I began teaching myself sign language and learning how to read lips, but that could only do so much. I was still unable to hear in general and struggled in class and in social situations.

My entire family started to search for alternatives to bring back even a small fraction of my hearing back. One of my mother’s friends suggested we contact Dr. Tara Fuchs, a wonderful audiologist in New Jersey, my home state.  Dr. Fuchs led us to the Joshua Harr Shane Foundation, an organization that follows Joshua Harr Shane’s passion for helping people and giving them what they need to live happily even with their illnesses.

As we celebrate the New Year of 2017, I would like to give a special thanks to the Joshua Harr Shane Foundation. The organization found out about my sudden loss and provided me with the gift of hearing. They gifted me with Phonak hearing aids for both ears along with a ComPilot to adjust volume and settings. I could not be more grateful for the gift that this organization presented to me.  I can now hear at work, in class, and in social situations.

My loss has also caused the teachers in my BFA program at Carnegie Mellon University to become more aware of working with those who are hearing disabled.  They have been very accommodating and are learning with me about different devices and teaching methods that work in my situation. It is because of the gift of my hearing aids that I am able to communicate properly with the world around me.  I cannot thank Joshua Harr Shane and this foundation enough for the gift of hearing.

With Sincere Appreciation,
Gabrielle Zara B.