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  • Writer's pictureShawnae Jebbia

Hearing Health...

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Hearing HELP!

I was 27 years old when I began losing my hearing, when I had the entire world ahead of me. I just finished my reign as Miss USA and landed my first dream job hosting a show on DirecTV. I was the first title holder to leave with a job in 47 years, and I was determined to do right by this incredible honor.

Although I was still able to work in the hearing world at the time, it became very apparent over the next 2 years that it would become more challenging each and every day. My deepest motivation in life shifted these couple of years from aspiring to be a host on Extra, Entertainment Tonight or even the job of the Century, Dancing with The Stars as my agents once hoped, to redefining who I was all over again. The reality was settling in that I was fighting to stay in the hearing world which became my life’s purpose, and the Hollywood smoke began to clear.

“How was I going to keep up…how was I going to survive?"

Boo hoo hoo…no pity party here, but I had no idea what was ahead with my rare form of Meniere’s, nor did I know how important it was to seek help. The more I was losing my voice (meaning really not able to keep up with conversations and slipping on my tongue often biting it) I began to realize if I didn’t do something, I would be erased from the world as I knew it.

In the beginning it was denial and rebellion of anyone knowing that I wasn’t able to keep up, fueled with embarrassment and shame that I needed help to communicate. I was always the one to excel, give inspiration and joy in the space to the others around me. I went from this powerful influence in my community, to an outcast relying on others to keep me up in the flow of conversations. When it came to work and social environments in LA, sorry to say, there were far and few that would slow down to help me. But there were a couple... My Audiologists kept reassuring me that early detection was everything, and I had options.

Just treat the symptoms because you have a disease…

What?! A DISEASE!!! Am I going to die?! I learned that I had no idea what was to come of this “thing” I had, but I was going to live…so I’m the lucky one right?

The unknown was terrifying!! Was I going to lose my hearing completely, get vertigo and not be able to move without throwing up during episodes?! Great…that looks promising while exercising in a bikini on the beach for my fitness show in Jamaica!! So, treat the symptoms meant allergy shots and medication, because my nose is like a facet and congested most days. This is especially important while traveling…hint hint! Never travel congested! Next, fix my deviated septum…ok nose job on the inside…hurrah! Then get hearing aids to keep exercising my ear drums. What does that even mean???


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