Meet Shari Eberts, Author and SpeakerJanuary 13, 2023 2023-07-07 11:06
Meet Shari Eberts, Author and Speaker
Meet Shari Eberts, Author and Speaker
Shari Eberts was in her mid-20s when she began noticing her hearing loss, but her journey began long before that. For years, she watched her father struggle with hearing loss. Stigmatized by his hearing loss, he did almost anything to keep his deafness a secret. Just like her dad, when she first noticed her hearing loss, she hid her deafness. Not until she had her own children, did she realize she was following in her father’s footsteps and passing the unhealthy stigma on to the next generation.
“The first step was shifting my focus from hearing better to communicating better.”
Ebert’s knew she needed to accept her hearing loss. “I started wearing my hearing aids all the time and teaching my family and friends how to help me hear my best,” Shari says. Learning to live skillfully with her hearing loss changed Shari’s life for the better.
“I refuse to let my hearing loss isolate me.”
Embracing her new mindset, Eberts learned to use strategies to help keep her connected to the people and activities she loved. That’s when she felt called to help end the stigma for others dealing with hearing loss. She turned her diagnosis into an opportunity to advocate and inform others as an author.
“Whenever we advocate for ourselves,” Shari says, “we are also advocating for other people with hearing loss. Every time we use a caption reader at the movies or ask someone to repeat something, we are educating the general public about hearing loss.”
“Each interaction creates a ripple effect to raise awareness and understanding and break down barriers and stigma.”
Ebert’s role as an advocate evolved when she co-authored the book, Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss (2022). Eberts, and her co-author Gael Hannan, created the book as the operating manual they wished they had. “In it, we include everything we know about living skillfully with hearing loss,” Eberts says, “in hopes that it will speed and ease the journey for others.”
The book details how to communicate with hearing loss using a combination of skills. The authors describe these skills as a three-legged stool. Each leg is critical and when used together, they become a solid foundation to take on any communication situation. The three legs in this model include adopting a can-do mindset about your hearing loss, using a full range of tech tools which include hearing aids but also other tools, and behavioral changes like self-advocacy that can improve any listening situation.
Eberts says many people diagnosed with hearing loss may not understand their particular audiogram and probably do not have a friend or family member to show them the ropes. At this juncture, Eberts believes her and Hannan’s book can be an invaluable tool. “It can be a lonely and frustrating experience as they work to put the pieces together on their own. It can take years.” Eberts says, “It certainly did for Gael and me.”
“My advocacy work is very personal because it aims to create a more hearing-loss-friendly world for them should they need it.”
Shari’s hearing losses genetic and she often worries she may have passed it along to her children. Shari hopes to remind people living with hearing loss, they are not alone. “It isn’t always easy to advocate for ourselves, but it is worth it.” Eberts says, “by sharing my story, I hope to help others live more comfortably with their own hearing issues.”
Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. For more information on Shari Eberts, please visit: https://livingwithhearingloss.com