Sharing a journey she doesn't want others to take
Monique Hammond describes herself as the "sworn enemy of excess noise." While it might seem like a dramatic description, Hammond's life was upended by sudden deafness and she hopes to help others prevent a similar situation from happening to them.
Hammond lost hearing in her left ear in the fall of 2005. The hearing loss was accompanied by vertigo. A pharmacist, the event ended her career and changed her life completely.
When it happened, Hammond didn't know much about hearing loss. Doctors blamed the loss on a virus that impacted her inner ear. The day before the event, Hammond had been exposed to a loud noise at a church event that she believes contributed to her condition.
Not satisfied with the information available, Hammond conducted her own research into the matters of ear and hearing disorders. Hammond, whose father was a radio journalist, said she's always had a curious nature.
"I decided I only had pieces to the puzzle but not a complete picture," said Hammond of her personal research.
Not wanting to waste the knowledge she had gained, Hammond decided to write a book using her own experience as the base. Her book is titled What Did You Say? An Unexpected Journey into the World of Hearing Loss.
"I wrote it with the purpose of prevention and education," said Hammond.
Her own experience has led Hammond to advocate for more awareness about noise induced-hearing loss. Hammond is the president of the Hearing Loss Association of America, Twin Cities. She is a member of the American Tinnitus Association and served on the Minnesota Commission for Deaf, Deafblind and Hard-of-Hearing Minnesotans.
Hammond said the issue is a public health concern that rarely gets the spotlight because it's not life threatening. However, the condition has real consequences for the people it strikes and their loved ones.
"People have no idea what they are playing with," said Hammond.
Hearing loss can impact a person's quality of life. Hammond said it impacts relationships because it breaks down communication. In Hammond's case, her hearing loss ended a career as a pharmacist at a busy hospital.
Hearing loss doesn't just affect people as they age. A study done by Johns Hopkins University showed many children suffer from hearing loss. Hammond said hearing loss in children can affect their abilities to learn.
"It's an issue that needs to be put out there," said Hammond.
Hammond will speak about her journey and the process of writing her book at 6:30 p.m. May 21 at the Robert Trail Library as part of the Meet the Author series. The series is presented as partnership of the Robert Trail Library and the Rosemount Area Arts Council.
Learn more about Hammond and her book at what-did-you-say.net.