Hearing Loss

As a speaker, writer and pianist with hearing loss, Nancy M. Williams helps shape the dialogue on hearing health. She coined the term "listening profit" as a counterpoint to "hearing loss."

Nancy M. Williams helps shape the North American dialogue on hearing health through her work as a speaker, writer, and pianist with hearing loss. She is particularly concerned with alleviating societal stigma surrounding hearing loss and coined the term, "listening profit," as a counterpoint to "hearing loss". She serves on the board of the Hearing Health Foundation.


Personal Story with Hearing Loss

My hearing loss is genetic, a mutation of the Connexin 26 gene. Although I was diagnosed at age six with a high-frequency loss, I was not fitted with my first hearing aid until seventh grade. I have worn hearing aids ever since, although for many years, afraid of the social stigma, I tried to hide my loss, even from myself.

Not long after I returned to the piano, I started writing about the intimate relationship between music and hearing, sound and silence. The hearing community became an important part of my identity. Now my hearing loss is moderate across the board, dipping to severe in the high frequencies.  I hope that by openly speaking and writing about hearing loss that I will help alleviate the stigma.


Hearing Health Foundation

The Hearing Health Foundation is a national nonprofit organization seeking a biological cure to hearing loss and tinnitus through groundbreaking research. Nancy M. Williams has served on the Board of Directors since 2012. As the chair of the marketing committee, she and Board Chair Shari Eberts co-led marketing initiatives to create new branding, messaging, website, social media channels, and a breakthrough public service advertising campaign.

In 2014, the Hearing Health Foundation launched the campaign, How Can a Chicken Cure Hearing Loss and Tinnitus? A baby chicken had the starring role. As it turns out, birds spontaneously regenerate delicate hair cells of the inner ear, so crucial to hearing, when damaged. HHF seeks to apply this discovery to cure hearing loss and tinnitus in humans.