Hearing Matters Podcast

Hearing Loss Survival Guide feat. Shari Eberts

February 07, 2023 Hearing Matters
Hearing Matters Podcast
Hearing Loss Survival Guide feat. Shari Eberts
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Show Notes Transcript

Shari first noticed her hearing loss in her mid-twenties. It has gotten progressively worse since then and she now wears hearing aids every day to hear better. She is lucky to have only mild tinnitus so far.

Shari doesn’t want her hearing loss to define her, but she finds that being open about it can help relieve the pressure of always having to hear everything perfectly. She hopes this blog will serve as an outlet for her experiences and a community for those dealing with similar issues.

She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS from Duke University.

Passionate Advocate, Author & Speaker

Shari is a passionate hearing health advocate and writes and speaks frequently on hearing loss topics.

The hearing loss journey doesn’t come with an operating manual—until now. Shari’s book Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss, co-authored with Gael Hannan, is the ultimate survival guide for living well with hearing loss. Available wherever books are sold.

Documentary Film Producer

Shari is an Executive Producer of We Hear You, an award-winning documentary that shines a light on the hearing loss experience. Created during the pandemic, the film strives to build awareness, community and a more inclusive world for all. Watch the trailer here.

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Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (00:00):
Thanks for listening to the Hearing Matters podcast. To stay up to date with the latest news from our team, be sure to head on over to Instagram and hit that follow button. After this episode, head on over to the Apple Podcast app and leave us a review. Your support allows us, help our community "Hear Life's Story". Now, enjoy the episode.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (00:27):
You're tuned in to The Hearing Matters podcast, the show that discusses hearing technology, best practices, and a growing national epidemic: hearing loss. Before we kick this episode off, a special thank you to our partners: Weave - the All-in-one patient communication and engagement platform. Redux - faster, drier, smarter, verified. Fader Plugs - the world's first custom adjustable earplug. Welcome back to another Hearing Matters podcast episode. I am your host, Blaise Delfino, and joining us today we have Shari Eberts. Shari is a hearing loss advocate, a co-author, and just an all around incredible human being. Shari, welcome to the Hearing Matters podcast.

Shari Eberts (01:19):
Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be with you today.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (01:22):
Shari. We have a mutual friend. Her name is Gael Hannan. And <laugh>, you are like two peas in a pod because both of you are excited about continuing to be advocates for hearing loss and the hearing, uh, healthcare community. And you two are incredible writers. We'll get into that a little bit more into the, uh, the interview, but welcome to the show. We're so excited to have you on.

Shari Eberts (01:50):
Thank you. It's great.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (01:51):
Shari, you have experience with hearing technology and the hearing journey in and of itself, and when someone is told that they have hearing loss, this can be frightening news to process, to say the least. Tell us about your hearing loss journey.

Shari Eberts (02:07):
Yeah, so my journey began in my mid twenties. That's really when I first noticed my hearing loss. But I guess the real journey began when I was a child watching my father struggle with his own hearing on loss issues. He was very stigmatized by it. He would do almost anything to hide his hearing loss. He had his hair grown long, you know, well after that was fashionable. And I remember, you know, at family parties, he'd be sort of off sitting by himself and I'd be watching him and, and I asked him one time, you know, "why are you sitting with your back to all of us at this party?" And he said, "if people wanna talk to me, they know where to find me." And at that moment I said, well, I guess maybe he's just shy or tired. But once I developed my own hearing loss, I understood a hundred percent where he's coming from.

Shari Eberts (02:59):
He was probably just too exhausted and too tired to just have that energy to hear in that difficult environment. So I had a lot more understanding of his experiences as I developed my own hearing loss. So I was in business school when I first noticed it, um, and, uh, falling in his footsteps. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I had learned that what you do when you have hearing loss is that you hide it and you don't tell anybody. So that's exactly what I did. And, you know, it made it very challenging for me, right. In work situations socially. But once I had children, I realized that I was doing the same thing. I saw them watching me do the same unhealthy behaviors that I had watched my father do. And I knew something had to change. So I started to accept my hearing loss and started telling people about it. And I kind of did like a whole 360 in a way, right? Instead of hiding it, I've just tried to be out front and really set a better example for them and try to advocate to, to make a better world for them if they should develop hearing loss themselves cause it's a, a genetic hearing loss.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (04:10):
Shari, what really comes to mind when you share your history of first noticing that you present with hearing loss in your twenties, which again, being in your twenties and suspecting that you have hearing loss, for lack of a better term, can be incredibly scary. But the word that comes to mind, the all-encompassing theme there is vulnerability. And oftentimes individuals see or might see vulnerability as a weakness, but my goodness, it is such a strength. And in your case, owning it, being vulnerable, this is who I am. It doesn't make me any less than anyone else, I think is such a powerful statement and positive and powerful belief that really continues to get you through the, the daily grind of presenting with hearing loss and not letting it get the best of you.

Shari Eberts (05:02):
A hundred percent. And I appreciate you saying that. And that is one of the main messages that Gael and I in our book really try to get out - this whole idea of your mental attitude, right? And that you can shift your mind from viewing, you know, your negative, your hearing loss very negatively. And of course it's going to be challenging. Of course there's gonna be moments where you're angry and frustrated, but if you can shift your perspective to trying to communicate better instead of hearing better, it sets you up for success, right? It sets you up for something that is under your control, something that you can learn to do well. And I think it just helps you be more vulnerable because you know that there are steps you can take to, uh, offset some of those challenges.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (05:48):
Absolutely. And I love the word there, communication, because individuals who present with normal hearing sensitivity still have struggle hearing sometimes. And, and I love that paradigm shift that reminds me of a lot of a, a gentleman that, uh, Bob Proctor, uh, who talks a lot about changing your paradigm. And I love the stands and the position because you and Gael live this and have lived this. And it's such a paradigm shift of changing that perspective from hearing to communicating - communicating, being the exchange of ideas. When you were first fit with hearing technology. Like what has been your biggest triumph and or struggle in the hearing healthcare industry and, and being a hearing aid user, I should say?

Shari Eberts (06:36):
Yeah. Well, I mean, hearing aids are terrific, right? Every we, we know that, but they don't solve all your problems. And I think one of the struggles is that I didn't know that, and I think we really need to do a better job explaining to people what hearing aids do and what hearing aids don't do. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because I, I love my hearing aids, right? And I also hate my hearing aids, right? Because they do so much for me, but sometimes they're not enough. And so if that's another part of the message in the book that we had to learn the hard way that we need to have other skills to supplement the hearing aids. And that's something I struggled with for a long time because I would put my hearing aids in, um, you know, at the beginning, and I would go into different work meetings or dinner at a restaurant, and sometimes it made things worse, you know, I think because a, I was not wearing them all the time, which is a big no-no <laugh> because of my suits, I was still overcoming that stigma, right? So I kind of stuck 'em in and I've learned that's not, that's not the way to do it. But then I didn't know, like I just had the expectations that I would just put them in and all my problems were solved. And that's not the case, right? It's the, it's a primary tool, but we need to do other things as well. And once I realized that it got a lot easier

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (07:57):
When I was practicing full-time at the private practice, whenever we would fit patients, and this was really actually in the first appointment, I would always tell them that hearing aids are not the be all end all. They are going to assist you in hearing life's story, number one. And that's that's really the, the theme here is communication, right? And I am totally behind you and Gael on this, in that hearing healthcare providers need to continue to set realistic expectations with patients. You know, yes, the hearing aids, it's incredible technology, but let's talk about sitting in a room with better lighting or including an accessory or remote microphone with those hearing instruments to ensure that, you know, everyone can hear better and understand speech clearer. It also reminds me too, uh, a couple of weeks ago we had a, a colleague reach out, her grandmother was in the hospital.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (08:55):
She said, you know, she's really struggling to hear me and she wears RIC hearing instruments. I said, listen, if her head is on the pillow, pull those hearing aids over the, so it's those little tricks, you know, pull it over the ears. And I think that educating the patience on different ways to communicate, and that's what you and Gael do in "Here and Beyond Living Skillfully with Hearing Loss", you do such a good job of that. And more patients need to be educated. So we really appreciate the work that you and Gael continue to do.

Shari Eberts (09:25):
Well, I appreciate that. And, and one of the things we really love to do is to partner with audiologists and partner with the people who are sort of on the front lines every day, right? Working with people with hearing loss. We even really like to speak with students, you know, audiology students as they're developing their own practice and they're developing sort of that empathy and that understanding, right? Because the more that practitioners can really put themselves in our shoes, the more creative you can be, right? The more you can say, oh, you know what? I went to the movies and I actually tried out one of those caption readers, and you know what, it was really cool and this is how you do it. An those types of things coming from a person of expertise, right? And audiologist means so much to people with hearing loss mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because it's just a stamp of expertise and approval and it really makes it seem like, oh, this is something that, you know, is real and something that I can be using in my life,

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (10:25):
Being a product of the product. And that's not just the hearing aids, but also the accessibility factor in there. Shari, when I was doing research on you, my goodness, what a successful career and not letting your hearing loss define you, impressive academic background. What was your post high school educational journey like with hearing loss? Because like we said earlier, you're, you're in your twenties, you're still creating yourself. What was that experience like, Shari?

Shari Eberts (10:54):
Yeah, well it, it's very interesting cuz when I was in college, I didn't notice it, right? So in college I had what I consider a very normal experience. And then I worked for a couple years, went back to business school, and that's where I first noticed it. So at business school, it was at Harvard Business School, and it's a big case environment. So you're in these huge classrooms with all wood and you know, but no soft surfaces. And we would be discussing the cases and people would make a comment across the way. And, and I wouldn't hear them and I would say to my seat maker, well, "what did that person say?" And then, you know, he would say what it was, and then you're kind of behind the eight ball. And sometimes people would make a joke or say something as an aside and everyone would start laughing.

Shari Eberts (11:42):
And I just knew what it was because I had that experience with my father and it was terrifying, right? It was just terrifying because of what it had done to him. I was so afraid that this was going to be sort of the, the pattern of my life. Um, and for a while it, I did hide it and I did follow in his footsteps. But the thing that was most disappointing to me really was when I went, when I was in business school, I went to an audiologist and I said, I'm having trouble hearing in class and you know, what can I do? And they tested my hearing and was a mild hearing loss, but it was deemed, you know, sort of too little to treat. And they basically said, there's really nothing to do about it. Just come back when it's worse. And to me, that's one of the things I really, um, it gets me going because I really love to talk to audiology communities about person-centered care, right?

Shari Eberts (12:37):
And there's always something that you can do. Maybe the hearing devices, it was not appropriate for, uh, you know, big hearing aids at that time. But there are things I could have done. I could have asked for a different seat in the classroom. I could have used some other type of technology or behavioral strategy. And so to me that was sort of a, a very formative event because, you know, it's sent me down the wrong path, but now I can see that and I hope to share that story so that others don't get sent down that same path, right? There's always something that you can do, even if it's not time for, uh, you know, a superpowered hearing aid.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (13:18):
Shari, I was taking notes there and I love that person-centered care, patient-centered care and offices and clinics today really need to implement the patient-centered care model. And it really is leading with empathy because you leaving that appointment, you were looking for an answer, you were leaning into the professional for help and to leave with very little to not much help, my goodness, that can, number one, put a bad taste in your mouth. We know that patients wait an average of seven to 10 years to actually visit a clinic. And that's why when patients come to the office, it's like they've waited. Now is the time, now is the time to really help them. So I love the fact that you're working with students as well to share that story and to implement the patient-centric care that is so, so important. Absolutely. And Shari, congrats on going to Harvard. That is so cool. What was your, what inspired you to get into business?

Shari Eberts (14:20):
Well, that's a great question. I actually had gone to college and I was going, I was studying medicine. I was gonna be a doctor, and I made this sort of a switch very late in my, um, like my senior year. I think I had gone and volunteered in a hospital and realized, oh, <laugh>, maybe this is not for me. It's probably something I should have done a little bit earlier. But I really liked finance and I liked business because it was all about solving problems. And I felt like that was sort of what medicine was too, right? It was solving problems and this was solving different types of problems just in a, a different type of, um, of a setting. So I actually worked, um, after college, I worked on Wall Street for a number of years and I was a management consultant for a number of years. So had sort of a 20 year career, uh, doing other things before becoming an advocate and really focusing on that

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (15:13):
And what better field to be in now than hearing healthcare. Because when you have a passion for solving problems, well, no, hearing loss is the same. You can have the same hearing loss on an audiogram, but patient A can have different communication struggles as compared to patient B and what some strategies might work for patient A may not work for patient B. So thank you for the work you're doing and so incredible. It's all about solving problems and having a solution to each one of those problems. Shari, you're an amazing advocate for the deaf and heart of hearing community, and you also serve on the H L A A board of directors. What does this organization do for this community? What's the mission of the group and what do we have planned for 2023?

Shari Eberts (16:07):
Yeah, well, that's a great question. H L A A is a fabulous organization. Uh, they do so much for people with hearing loss in lots of different ways. Um, one of the main things they do is they advocate for our needs in Washington. So they were very instrumental in the passing. The over-the-counter Hearing Aid Act really were, um, wonderful advocates and advisors to the F D A as they were going through that sort of rulemaking process. So they're the largest consumer voice for people with hearing loss, and they do a lot of work there. And then the other thing that they do is they provide a lot of education and peer support. And to me, that was so life changing because I didn't know anyone else with hearing loss, right? I'm 26 years old, I'm here in business school, my father's not gonna talk to me about it. I didn't really have anyone that I could share my frustrations with, my struggles learn from. And H l A creates that through a network of national chapters and also national conventions annually. So once I met other people with hearing loss, really through H L A A, um, I just gained so much more confidence. I met so many people that I could learn from and enjoy, and I just felt so less alone really with my hearing loss. And it's such a powerful thing to know that you're not alone

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (17:35):
Being with a group of number one like-minded individuals, but individuals who also believe what you believe in and live what you live is such a powerful force to raise awareness of hearing healthcare and thank you and the rest of your board members for the work that you've done for the O T C final regulation, because there were a lot of wins in that. And of course, we really do believe in accessibility and affordability, but patient safety and satisfaction is absolutely number one. You being a hearing aid user believe in that as well and, and how paramount it is and how essential the role of the hearing healthcare professional plays. Shari, you've received quite a few accolades, you know, for, for the production of your documentary. "We hear you". Tell us about the making of this film and what it meant to you.

Shari Eberts (18:29):
We had such a great time making this film. So it was during the pandemic, and I mean, I, you know, I, I'm not a filmmaker, I guess I am now, but I never sort of thought of myself in that way. And what we, the way it started is that, uh, Roxanna Rotondo, Halle Cohen and I were hosting these virtual meetings for people with hearing loss. So it was at the start of the pandemic, no one really knew what to do, but that peer support was so much harder to get because we couldn't come together. So we created these Zoom meetings, we would get, you know, 700 people from around the world. I mean, it was amazing. Everyone had a story to, to share. And it was a time when we were really feeling isolated and people with hearing loss were even more isolated and struggling with the masks to communicate. And so it was just a way to bring us together, provide support and learn from each other. And then out of that, we said, we have so many great stories. Look how important it is to tell those stories, to build this feeling of community and to help educate the mainstream about how they can help people with hearing loss. And so we decided to take some of those stories and put it into a documentary, and that's how it was born.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (19:47):
I love film, I love videography. I think that being able to share a story in a video form Shari, is so important because you can really feel and see the human emotion and it creates greater human connection, but also the accessibility factor of, you know, the, the inclusion revolution of including the hearing impaired with a video format and letting them know, like you said, they're not alone.

Shari Eberts (20:12):
Absolutely. And so we've been trying to get it out, you know, far and wide, right? We, we've had, um, some presentations at h l a conventions, and I've actually been doing a lot of speaking at different conferences and showing clips from the film or even the full film to, um, again, sort of help have audiologists hear directly from the patients and also some aging conferences for providers of services for people who are, uh, seniors. And they may not know anything about hearing loss. So this, it's really a great educational tool in addition to a great community building tool. We really are trying to do both pieces of it with it.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (20:55):
Well, let me tell you, you and Gael are just doing amazing things in the hearing healthcare industry and your ability to create a community and let your members know that they're not alone, that they have fellow community members to lean into is so important because hearing loss, you feel disconnected. And we don't want patients to feel lonely. We want them to feel a part of that community that, you know what? I can connect you with so and so-and-so in your area. Give them a phone call or schedule a zoom because they'll walk you through some of the feelings they felt. The past couple years for you, Shari, have been incredibly busy. And on my desk here, I did purchase a copy of "Here and Beyond Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss", what I like most,

Shari Eberts (21:46):
Oh, hold mine up since yours was blurry.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (21:48):
Yes, thank you, <laugh>. So that is the book. It is available on Amazon. I ordered mine right after I <laugh> was done talking with Gael, and it came the next day. I love reading and I love actually holding a book versus like a Kindle. Nothing against Kindle, but I like the physical copy. When you, myself and, uh, and Gael get together, I'd like you to both sign it. But what I really like about this book is the voice that you wrote it in. Um, obviously having heard previous podcast episodes of you and, and Gael when I was reading this, it's like, I can hear both of your voices through this book, but this is really, you know, it says The Ultimate Survival Guide to Living Well with Hearing Loss. And it really is. And for any of the, for anyone tuned in right now who suspects that they do present with hearing loss, and maybe you're not ready to take that first step towards calling your local hearing healthcare provider.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (22:49):
Get your hands on a copy of this book. It's Hear and Beyond Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss by Shari Eberts and Gael Handon. The link to purchase will be in our show notes. This is a great starting point and being a hearing healthcare professional myself, everything in this book that Gael and Shari talk about, I would talk about with my patients really throughout their onboarding process. So what this also does is it cuts your learning curve probably by 75%. Shari, I don't wanna take away the book because you and Gael wrote this, but we recently had Gael, uh, Gael Hannan on the Hearing Matters podcast. We had such a fun time interviewing her. Both of you have such an awesome sense of humor and, uh, again, she talked about the book you authored together here and Beyond Live skillfully with hearing loss. What did the writing of this book mean to you?

Shari Eberts (23:45):
Well, I have always wanted to write a book. Um, even when I was in business, I was, I was thinking of different books to write. So when Gael reached out to me during the pandemic and said, you know, do you wanna work on a book together? I was just thrilled, right? Because it, it's like on the bucket list. So <laugh>, that was wonderful. And then getting a chance to work with Gael was tremendous. We didn't know each other that well. I mean, we knew each other because we respected each other's advocacy work and we were sort of in a group of friends. But this book really brought us together in such a strong, strong way because we have such a similar philosophy, right? And now, sort of our shared philosophy based on very different life experiences, different degrees of hearing loss, you know, she's developed hearing loss as a child.

Shari Eberts (24:34):
I had it as an adult. I mean, and that's what to us was so powerful, is that whatever your experience is, you can use these skills to live better because we had very different experiences. And so once we discovered that in sort of the talking and the organizing and the outlining, we really felt like we had something that was so powerful. We were so excited to get it out to people. And thank you for saying, you know, to people who maybe aren't, you know, that far in their journey, right? They don't have hearing aids or maybe they're still dealing with stigma. I think this is the perfect first step, right? Because you can see a lot of sort of the mental aspects that we talk about and the ways that you can be successful. So we really tried to put ourselves into the book too, because we're sort of like friends helping other friends down that path,
Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (25:29):
And it's shortening that learning curve. And, and here's the thing, when I say shortening the learning curve, everyone is going to acclimate to hearing technology different than others. So your brain might acclimate quicker than someone else's brain, and it's not a competition as, as long as you've acclimated - that's a success. But, and, and I wrote down here just in my notes, is that really reading this book is a non-threatening first step because there is that, that anxiety tied to, I mean, I'll be transparent and vulnerable with you here, is I don't like going to the doctor. I don't like scheduling, uh, appointments. Even if it's like a physical, like, oh my gosh, what are they gonna find? It's scary. Let's just air that out right now. Medical is scary and obviously finding a provider who does implement patient-centric care, but by reading this book and preparing yourself going into that appointment might also take away some of the anxiety. Shari, what are your thoughts on that?

Shari Eberts (26:33):
Yeah, I, we certainly hope so. I mean, we've talked a lot about, you know, how do you find the right provider, right? Because not all providers are practicing person-centered care. So it's really important to find the person who is doing the right things and who you connect with personally because it is a vulnerable experience. Nobody wants to go and take a test. They know they're gonna fail, right? Every time I go to the audiologist, I go in and I know <laugh> I'm gonna, you know, fail the hearing test, right? It's really not failing, it's a diagnostic tool. It's really just sort of saying where you are, but it, it still has that feeling of, you know, something that, you know, um, is, is a weakness. So I do hope that it is non-threatening and I do hope that it is, uh, an easy way for people to find themselves down that path of taking care of their hearing loss because we need to do something about it. We can't be like my father sitting off by himself at a table missing out on life. That's not what any of us wants. And so we need to acknowledge accept and figure out the skills that we need and the technology we need to live well with hearing loss.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (27:43):
Shari, in "Hear and Beyond", when we talk about finding a provider that you vibe with, let's use that for lack of a better term, that you can build great rapport with that you trust. What goes into that?

Shari Eberts (27:58):
Yeah, I mean, and it's a little bit different for each person, right? You know, maybe somebody likes a lot of analytics, a lot of facts, right? I'm sort of a, a very analytical thinker, so I wanna see my audiogram and I want someone to explain it to me. Other people may not be interested in that at all. They may really wanna understand more of the emotional aspects and how is this going to impact my life emotionally and with communication and what are the things that I can do on that front? So a little bit of the vibe, right, is very personal, but you do have to make sure that you're finding, um, a quality provider who is going to give you the information that you need and who's going to listen to the expertise that you bring to the table, right? We are the experts in our challenges and our hearing journey, and the audiologists are the experts in the technology, hearing science, audio rehab, so many things. But when you bring those two together, that's the power. And you need to find the person who's going to give you the respect you need and provide the information you need in a way that you can process it best

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (29:06):
To echo that, Shari, I think it's, it's important for our providers tuned in right now and the providers that have been in hearing healthcare for many years will, will get this and that no patient is the same. So yeah, if you have a process and you are just selling a hearing aid, those days are really over. We need to help connect and reconnect patients to their friends, to their family, to their loved ones. If a patient presents with central auditory processing, what does that process look like? Who can we connect them with? Because staying in your own one track mind of I do the hearing test, I tell them what the hearing results are, they need hearing aids, and that's that. How about implementing motivational interviewing? You are a hearing aid user and you are an advocate. How important is motivational interviewing maybe at that first appointment?

Shari Eberts (30:04):
Oh, I think it's everything, right? Because it's really drawing out the person's emotions, the person's challenges. I mean, the more that we can provide in terms of information, I always say it's not time to be, you know, Mr. Tough guy, right? It's not time to say, well I do fine. And you know, this was upsetting, but it was fine. No, this is the time to lay it out on the table. And asking open-ended questions is a much better way of drawing out the person and really building that trust and having them share that story. Now it sounds like this would take a really long time, right? So, sometimes this is the pushback that I get, you know, when I do presentations, it's like, well, we don't have time to do all of that in the appointment, but it's very easy to send out some of those questions in advance so that people can think about it and say, you know what? These are the things that I wanna make sure I can convey in that appointment. And it just makes it a, a very efficient process and we, you know, you get the information you need. We feel like we're able to share our story and is an efficient way to do it. So it doesn't take up an unnecessary, you know, amount of time.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (31:15):
When new patients Shari would come to our office and, and still do come to our office. It's really the question that I love the most as a hearing healthcare provider is, what would you like to accomplish during today's appointment? How many doctors have you gone to or have I gone to who asks that question? And it's not to like, well, I'm the only provider that you'll ever know that asks this question. No, it's a very important question. Obviously we know they're here for hearing loss and, and maybe they want hearing aids, but what do they want to accomplish? Because as a provider, you are there to serve them. You're really not running the appointment. They are.

Shari Eberts (31:55):
Right? No, I love that attitude, but that's also scary for the, you know, for the provider, right? You have to be vulnerable in that type of situation to do also because you don't know what someone is gonna be throwing at you. So I really respect that when audiologists make themselves vulnerable in terms of taking that risk and letting, uh, the person with hearing loss really drive the discussion. I love that.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (32:18):
Absolutely. And because at the end of the day, the patient has been living with the hearing loss and I always say, you know, treat everyone with respect. Cause you don't know what they're going through and what it took that patient maybe to pick up that phone and muster up the confidence to schedule that appointment. You talk a lot about that in here and beyond, and I love throughout the book, for example, uh, you have dealing with hearing losses, like trying to catch a fish with your bare hands. Just when you think you've got it off, it wriggles in a different direction, and you have these, these quotes throughout the book and it's sort of a reminder of, you got this, you're okay. What inspired you and Gael to put those quotes throughout the book? Just curious.

Shari Eberts (33:00):
Yeah, well, we really thought they were sort of the main, main concepts that we wanted to drive home. And so we thought it would be an easy way to sort of pull them out and really have them, you know, sort of hit you in the face with the big bold print and the big lettering. Um, but you know, I think also it's a reminder, because as you're reading the book, there's a lot of information in there, and there's a lot of sort of philosophical things, and we're big believers in sort of practicing and hearing things more than once. And so it's a way to, to sort of have that message go throughout the entire reading experience. And it's also easy to go back and find those, right? If you feel like you've read it and maybe you didn't remember something, or you need a little boost of confidence, you know, you can go back and find it really easily.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (33:49):
I love it. I cannot wait to get my book signed. You know, we're, we're so excited. Shari, before we connected on this episode, you spoke briefly about the book Club guide. Tell us more about this and where can our listeners learn more about this?

Shari Eberts (34:07):
So, we really wanna make this book, uh, a community building type of thing. So, this is something that you could read at your book Club of Hearing Loss Friends or maybe not hearing Loss friends, to really use it as an entree to talk to them about your hearing loss, let them learn a little bit more about it and share some of the struggles that they have. Everybody has something that they're dealing with, and this is really a great pivot point for people to come and share their stories. So, we put together a guide of questions, uh, to make it really super easy to use it in a book club of that type. And you can find that just right on our website HearandBeyond.com.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (34:48):
I love the book club guide feature because it creates greater depth of conversation instead of just, you know, it's really that, that open-ended question and to then create that community and what you and Gael have been doing and are doing with this tool here. Uh, this has got to be one of the, if not the best books for patients who live with hearing loss. And I'm not just saying that I've, I've read it. I really enjoyed it and you and Gael are just amazing. If our listeners tuned in right now, are interested in purchasing the book, where can they buy it, Shari?

Shari Eberts (35:23):
Really anywhere that books are sold, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, um, it's also in libraries. And if you go to the website HearandBeyond.com, there are links out to lots of different retailers and it's available as a, you know, a physical book. It's available as an ebook and it's gonna be coming out as an audiobook, um, later this year. So we're excited about that, too.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (35:46):
Well, I'm excited to use one of my credits on Audible to, uh, purchase that audiobook. Shari, in closing, what would your biggest advice be for someone who is on the fence to schedule their first appointment at a hearing healthcare provider? What would you tell them?

Shari Eberts (36:06):
I would tell 'em they are not alone. So many people have gone through this process and almost everyone says, I wish I hadn't waited as long as I did do something about my hearing loss. Once you take that first step, you can reconnect to all the people, and the places, and the things, and adventures in your life that you love. So, take that first step and you're not alone in doing it.

Blaise Delfino, M.S. - HIS (36:29):
You're tuned in to The Hearing Matters podcast. Today, we had Shari Eberts. She is a hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. Until next time, hear life's story. Thanks again for tuning into The Hearing Matters podcast today. I'm your host, Blaise Delfino, and on behalf of our entire team, thank you so much for the support. Truly, it means so much to us. Head on over to the Apple Podcast app and share your thoughts. What did you like most about this episode and what do you like most about our podcast? Five star reviews are always appreciated. And also, head on over to Instagram, hit that follow button and let's connect. And as a team, we can continue to help our community hear life story.