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Coping with Hearing Loss: Strategies for Musical People

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Note: You pay for registration first by clicking on the green ticket button, and then the Zoom conferenceing software will send you the online conference link. You should receive two receipts: one from Eventbrite and one from Paypal. Please contact AAMHL at info@musicianswithhearingloss.org if you wish to pay by check.

Coping with Hearing Loss: Strategies for Musical People

Sponsored by: Stenoknight CART Services

Hearing loss is a debilitating condition that creates stigma and immense stress, especially if you are a professional or semi-professional musician. In our 2018 web conference, we take a look at ways of developing coping strategies for the emotional journey of living with hearing loss and the many stresses it brings. AAMHL is extremely pleased to have two presenters with strong musical backgrounds share their stories and their strategies.

Pianist Pat Dobbs will share her own story of losing her hearing after a very musical upbringing, and how she eventually developed the Hearing Loss Evolution and its Nine Guiding Principles as a way of assisting others on their hearing loss journey.

As she began losing her hearing, string bassist Gaelen McCormick was often overwhelmed and resentful of what was happening to her. But she had been taking classes in meditation and her instructors patiently supported her transformation as a late deafened adult who happens to be a musician. She learned to use the simple actions of watching and counting breaths to center herself and regain control. Her presentation will offer some very basic elements of mindfulness and practical ways to apply them in everyday life.


About our presenters:


Pat Dobbs grew up with normal hearing in a musical home where music performance was valued and cultivated by taking piano lessons, playing duets with each other and enjoying and discussing different composers. She loved the piano dearly and eventually graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in piano performance. Shortly afterward, she began losing her hearing. As her hearing loss progressed she became ashamed of her hearing loss as she accepted the negative stereotypes and stigma of hearing loss. Today she jokes that she became the world’s greatest bluffer, pretending to hear when she didn’t which is nothing to be proud of. Because she didn’t speak up for herself, she started to drop out of social situations. She wishes she had known then the principles of the Hearing Loss Evolution as it emphasizes that people with hearing loss is nothing to be ashamed; it is simply hearing loss and nothing more.

With the support of her friends and family she came to terms with her hearing loss. Today, she is the director of the Hearing Loss Resource Center in Madison, New Jersey. She offers seminars on the 9 Guiding Principles of the Hearing Loss Evolution and is available for personal coaching. She can be contacted for coaching and speaking services through her website, http://www.hearinglossevolution.com/


Gaelen McCormick was a member of the Rochester Philharmonic’s double bass section from 1995-2017. Shortly after finishing her graduate degree in double bass performance in 2004, she was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease unilaterally. The next 10+ years were an ever-changing landscape of hearing loss, distortion, vertigo, unpredictable balance, and still pursuing a career onstage. The stress associated with trying to hide the hearing loss in a VERY hearing-oriented occupation led to Gaelen searching for alternative careers and alternative ways to deal with anxiety. During this period she began meditating and learning more about mindfulness and the brain’s plasticity. In 2018, she was implanted with a cochlear implant for single-sided deafness, and has seen the effects of neuroplasticity at work as she learns to use this device to its fullest potential.

Since losing her hearing in 2017, Gaelen has forged a new career path as a composer, arranger, executive director of Canandaigua LakeMusic Festival, and is the inaugural Program Manager for the developing center for performing arts medicine at the University of Rochester. She is grateful that her abilities as a musician have shaped the way her new career path is taking flight.

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