I am hard of hearing, 90 dB in both ears unaided, but I wear hearing aids in both ears. My loss is mixed sensorineural, and is a result of a rare birth defect. I do have good speech discrimation and can communicate orally on the phone and understand radio and phonograph recordings of speech if properly amplified. With hearing aids, my hearing is at 30 to 50 dB depending on weather, colds, etc. I currently wear two digital hearing aids that are designed with the receiver in the ear mold.
No one knows when I started having difficulty hearing. My parents think that I had normal hearing at birth, but the bony structures in my ears grew and blocked some of my hearing. Plus, the inner ear bones were malformed, so they did not grow properly. Two surgeries to correct this at ages 10 and 14 failed and my hearing dropped about 60 dB overnight after the second surgery. I was advised not to have any more surgery on the ears.
I have always loved music. My parents introduced me to classical music from the day I was born and that probably started my lifelong love of music and desire to become a musician. My parents took me to lots of musicals and I enjoyed listening to and singing along with musicals and operas that played on the radio and TV. I learned to read music when I was 3 and loved to improvise melodies on any instrument I came across. My hero was and still is, Beethoven.
I sang alto in the synagogue youth choir and the music director was willing to accommodate my hearing needs and coach me on how to sing and blend in with the others in the choir. I also learned to play the clarinet and the recorder when I was in elementary school (and my hearing was better then). I played the clarinet and recorder solo, and duet with another student, during my synagogue’s Sunday School programs. I played the clarinet and percussion in the high school band.
I am a member of the Adult Music Student Forum and the Friday Morning Music Club. Through the Friday Morning Music Club’s outreach program, I play the clarinet at nursing homes in the DC area. When the opportunity arises, I sing with the Adas Israel Congregation Flash Choir.
I am currently studying piano, clarinet, and voice at the International School of Music, a community music school in Bethesda, Maryland.
My greatest musical passion is the art of classical singing and I hope some day to do some work in the area of teaching or research on singing for people who have a hearing loss.
I am the Deaf Services Librarian in the DC Public Library Center for Accessibility and have worked at the DC Public Library since 1993.
I am a founding member and board member of the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss (2001) and have served as Treasurer since 2003.