Meet Aimee Dillon, Deaf Dental Hygienist

Aimee Dhillon, Deaf Dental Hygienist

Meet Aimee Dillon, Deaf Dental Hygienist

Diagnosed with hearing loss at the age of two, Aimee Dillon currently works as a dental hygienist in the Charlotte, NC area. Dillon’s hearing loss is a result of Dillon’s mother working as nurse in the emergency department where she was exposed to patient with Rubella measles while pregnant with Dillon.

Using hearing aids since she was little, Dillon still depends on lip reading. Dillon uses sign languages when she is hanging out with deaf friends or attends places that teach hearing people about sign language. Like countless others, during COVID-19, Dillon struggled to communicate effectively due to mask mandates; however, she did not have to stop working because of clear masks available for use.

Dillon attended multiple schools such as a day program sponsored by Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska, Saint Joseph Institute for the Deaf (SJI) located in St. Louis, Missouri, and at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) where Dillon learned sign language. Dillon’s first degree was Early Childhood Education.

While working in an ear, nose and throat clinic as an office assistant, she soon became interested in the field of health care. Dillon enrolled at a local community college in Charlotte, NC (CPCC) for her second degree in dental assisting. Due to her outstanding academic performance, she was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, a campus student honor society. Dillon worked as a full-time dental assistant for three years and she obtained her third degree in Dental Hygiene.

“I was so thankful for three awesome interpreters, Carla Walker, Duree Hunter, and Sam McCord while we were learning dental vocabulary and other words in the dental field,” said Dillon. Dillon has been working as registered dental hygienist since she graduated. “I was first deaf person to enter dental programs at CPCC, and to graduate! Don’t give up,” exclaimed Dillon.

Her advice in order to communicate more effectively with someone who is deaf or hard-of-hearing is to look at her/his face, do not talk loudly, and use body languages, especially facial expressions. If a deaf or hard-of-hearing person does not understand, do not act frustrated and be patient. Using paper and a pen or technology, such as a texting to communicate are great alternatives.

The deaf challenge has never intimidated her. She said her success came from making a commitment to the goal she wanted to reach. Dillon stresses the importance of asking for help and having faith in yourself to achieve your dreams. She credits her parents for their encouragement and support and for always telling her, “You Can Do It.”

“When I believe in myself, anything is possible,” exclaimed Dillon.