How long have you been a member of CHHA and what network are you a member of?
I have been a member of CHHA since November 2018. I am currently part of the Young Adults Network.
What motivated you to join CHHA?
I joined CHHA after attending the Youth Forum in Ottawa. I was 21 when I first met another HoH person and it helped me learn a lot more about my experiences as a HoH individual. I decided to volunteer on the Young Adults Network board as I wanted to spread awareness to other individuals about different opportunities, professions, and interests we all share as a community.
What’s your current position and how long have you been in this position?
My current position is a director on the Young Adults Network board. I have been in this position since June 2019.
What is your favourite part about volunteering?
My favourite part about volunteering is the opportunity to meet new people all across Canada and the connections I’ve made. I have also had the opportunity to learn from other young adults that have a hearing loss from their own experiences.
In what capacity do you currently volunteer for your network?
I have multiple focuses. My main focus is the Question and Answer series I’ve created on the Young Adults Network YouTube channel. I ask individuals in different professions about their own experiences studying at university or working in general, and with their hearing loss. My hope is that other young adults are exposed to the numerous opportunities that may interest them career wise and to normalize the fact that young students or professionals can have a hearing loss. More recently, I have been focusing on how to make communication accessible given the requirement in some provinces to wear masks inside public spaces. Lastly, as a board, we are currently planning for the Summercamp for the summer of 2021.
What is your vision for CHHA?
My vision for CHHA is to spread awareness that hearing loss affects all ages. As well, collaboration is key in order to spread awareness towards the everyday difficulties individuals may face when living with a hearing loss. For example, all too often, people assume that hearing aids and cochlear implants “fix” our hearing. The idea that hearing aids and cochlear implants “fix hearing” has been challenged recently with the use of masks in public; demonstrating the needs for facial cues and speech reading to fully understand other individuals when speaking. With this, we need to educate the public to ensure effective communication and mutual understanding.
What would you like to see the organization achieve in one year? Three years?
In the next year, I would love to see the opportunity for our board to go ahead with our Summercamp plan for 2021 in Calgary. The Summercamp will invite young adults from all across Canada the opportunity to make connections and create friendships with individuals that instantly understand the impact of a hearing loss. In the next three years, I hope more young adults are able to connect with alike individuals and become part of our community while sharing ideas, experiences, and resources.
Do you have a message you wish to share with the membership?
If you are between the ages of 18-35, consider joining us next summer in Calgary meeting other Canadians with hearing loss! If you do not know anyone, it may seem intimidating at first, but you will make connections instantly through the activities we are planning! Going to a conference by myself was one of the best decisions I have made.
CHHA is indeed fortunate to have someone as dedicated as Hannah to be part of our ranks. Thank you for all you do!