Her Life Changed Overnight

Judi Page photo

Tallahassee, FL – One morning in September 2012, Judi Page discovered that her life had changed overnight. Though she displayed no symptoms and had no history of hearing problems, Judi woke up to find that she was completely deaf in her left ear and had limited hearing in her right ear. When she visited a doctor, she learned that the cause of the hearing loss was unknown and the damage would be permanent.

As Judi began to come to terms with her new disability, she received some advice from her supervisor in the payroll operations department at FSU, Beverly Miller. Beverly had previously received services from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), an agency that helps people with disabilities find and keep jobs, and suggested Judi give VR a try. When Judi reached out to VR in December 2012, she was grateful for Beverly’s advice. “Everyone there was fantastic,” Judi says.

With VR’s assistance, Judi saw an audiologist and learned about the different hearing aid options available to her. She chose biCROS hearing aids, a special type made for those with unbalanced hearing loss. The biCROS aid picks up sounds on her left side, where she has no hearing, and transfers them to her right ear, where the hearing loss is much less severe, so that Judi can hear everything happening around her.

Judi says that, while she is pleased with the new hearing aids, “they took some getting used to”. She had adjust to the sensation of hearing sounds from both her left and right sides in only one ear, and sometimes finds it easier to remove the aids when she is in a crowded place or is talking on the phone.

Still, she is grateful for the difference the biCROS aids have made at work and at home. “Everything has improved – my work life and my personal life,” says Judi. “It gives you your confidence back.”

As much as she appreciates the hearing aids, Judi names something else as the best thing VR did for her – her new alarm clock. Since Judi tends to sleep on her right side, leaving only her left ear exposed, she often didn’t hear her alarm clock go off, resulting in late arrivals to work.

VR sent Rehab Engineer Gary Sherman to determine a solution, and he provided a sonic boom alarm clock, which shakes the bed and displays flashing lights to ensure that Judi wakes up. “You can’t sleep through that,” she says.

In the future, Judi plans to learn American Sign Language so that she will still be able to communicate if she loses the remaining hearing in her right ear. But for now, she is happy with the progress she has made and the people who have helped her. “Everyone at VR treated me like royalty,” she says. “I would recommend that anyone who needs help give them a call.”

Judi’s VR Counselor, Jessica Lanese, is proud to see Judi succeed, and credits her dedication for her progress. “Judi was very much involved in the process,” says Jessica. “She is responsible for her own success.”

Florida’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America’s workforce. The employer-focused website, https://abilitieswork.employflorida.com/, allows businesses to search at no charge for employees who are ready to go to work, as well as to post available jobs. VR has 90 offices across Florida, and last year helped 5,760 Floridians with significant disabilities get or keep a job. For more information about VR and its services, call (800) 451-4327 or visit http://www.Rehabworks.org.