I had the pleasure of interviewing Janice S. Lintz a change agent in hearing innovation and technology. She has worked globally with Fortune 500s and boutique organizations across both the private and public sectors to expand hearing access.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? How have your personal challenges informed your career path?
A culture lover, I felt my heart sink whenever my daughter — diagnosed with hearing loss at 2 ½ — struggled to understand museum guides and actors onstage, even with hearing aids. Not one to wait, I plunged into the research and learned that cultural venues could provide better hearing access with relatively inexpensive technology, such as the induction loop, a coil placed around a room that wirelessly transmits amplified sound to a hearing aid.
Can you share five pieces of advice to other doctors/clinicians/healers to help their patients to thrive?
1-You can’t compare hearing aids and anyone who says, they know what they are selling isn’t telling you the truth. See my testimony before the FDA. (I am the person behind Senator Warren’s bill on allowing hearing aids to be sold-over-the-counter.)
2-Do as much speech therapy as possible when the child is younger. Their time quickly fills up, they don’t want to do it, and their brain is more malleable when they are younger. It is easier to perfect a child’s speech when they are infants than when they are older.
3-Know your rights. Being well-informed impacts the services your child receives. Let them fear you because if they don’t, they will walk all over you. Your child doesn’t need individual schools. But as a parent, you need to be willing to stand up to the school and the “experts.”
4-Don’t hire a “Teacher For The Deaf” for the school but hire an English tutor for your child or have the school reimburse you. Kids with hearing loss miss the nuance in writing. The best person to teach a child how to write is an English teacher and not someone strictly for children with hearing loss. Hire the best person you can afford. If the person can’t speak or write well themselves, they aren’t going to be able to educate your child as well. The same for tutors mainly SAT tutors.
5-Hearing access isn’t in place because people don’t demand it. They try to hide their hearing loss and instead suffer in silence. Everyone knows you have a hearing loss and pretending you don’t only hurts you. It’s time to eliminate the shame and stigma associated with hearing loss.
Social media and reality TV create a venue for people to share their personal stories. Do you think more transparency about your personal story can help or harm your field of work? Can you explain?
For me, I believe social media humanizes people when its used correctly. Far too many people use it to create false narratives about fake lives.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant to your life?
I have two quotes: “Obstacles become opportunities” and “Never waste a crisis.” Learning my daughter had a hearing loss initially felt like a crisis, but I used her perceived limitations to change the world for people with hearing loss. My daughter’s hearing loss has never limited her. She has become the person she wanted to be because we never permitted anyone to tell her she couldn’t achieve nor did we allow venues to not provide access for her. My endeavor was very selfish, and everyone else benefited. I now say I am planning for my future.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I want the FDA to require hearing aid manufacturers to test their hearing aids and personal sound amplifiers against international ANSI standards. Hearing aid companies make a lot of claims, let’s see how accurate they are. People have the right to know what they are purchasing and to see if the product delivers what the company claims. Features should have generic names to enable people to compare features across brands. See my FDA testimony. (http://wayback.archive-it.org/7993/20171115155057/https://www.fda.gov/downloads/MedicalDevices/NewsEvents/WorkshopsConferences/UCM500626.pdf)
Originally published at medium.com