Speaker: Living with Hearing Loss

Nancy M. Williams is a motivational speaker and a person with hearing loss who delivers workshops on "Claiming Your Passion...Despite Hearing Loss."

Nancy M. Williams’ keynotes and workshops on Claiming Your Passion...Despite Hearing Loss narrate her triumphant return to the piano, despite her hearing loss, as a springboard to empower others with hearing loss to access their fullest self. A nationally recognized hearing health advocate, she is a successful business executive in addition to a performing amateur pianist, making her uniquely suited to empower others. She has addressed thousands in hearing loss conferences across North America.

Claiming Your Passion . . . Despite Hearing Loss

“Nancy’s presentation was amazing. Not only the music but the way she made it so interactive. I sat next to a man who kept wiping the tears away.”

—Myrtle Barrett, President, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association

The Opportunity: People living with hearing loss often face barriers—both real and perceived—to pursuing their greatest passions in life.

The Solution: Nancy M. Williams’ unique workshop inspires participants to identify or recapture their passions, in spite of the challenges of living with a hearing loss. She creates a multisensory experience, leveraging story, humor, process, and live piano music, to demonstrate how to identify dormant passions and chart a plan towards their realization.

The Results: Pursuit of the passion helps participants come to terms with their hearing losses, making them more effective and happier in their professional and personal lives.


Selected Engagements

(See Events page for full list.)

  • Claiming Your Passion…Despite a Hearing Loss, Keynote Speech and Piano Performance, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association National Conference, Toronto, Ontario, May 23, 2014
  • Finding Your Calling…Despite a Hearing Loss, Workshop, Hearing Loss Association of America National Convention, Austin, Texas, June 28, 2014
  • Playing the Piano with a Hearing Loss, Talk and Piano Performance, Adult Association of Musicians with Hearing Loss, Montclair, NJ, October 5, 2013
  • Claiming Your Passion for Young Adults and Teens...Despite a Hearing Loss, Workshop and Piano Performance, Hear Here Hartford Chapter, Hearing Loss Association of America, March 5, 2015


“An astonishing, innovative presentation. In ‘Claiming Your Passion...Despite Hearing Loss,’ Nancy M. Williams uses music and words to recreate a lifetime of relationships and dreams affected by her hearing loss. Nancy led the audience members through a simple process that helped them explore their own unrealized ambitions, punctuated by her story and classical music played beautifully on a grand piano. Nancy delivered ‘Claiming Your Passion...Despite Hearing Loss,’ as a plenary session at the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association National Conference in Toronto in May 2014. The audience was quietly spellbound by a story that reflected their own lives, and they left both calmed and inspired. Listening to—and being able to hear—Nancy play Schumann’s #30 from Album for the Young was a moment of beauty in a busy world.”
—Gael Hannan, Hearing Loss Advocate, Writer, and Performer

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“Nancy Williams gave a moving presentation entitled, ‘Claiming Your Passion ... Despite a Hearing Loss’ to our Hear Here Hartford Chapter supporting preteens, teens, and young adults with hearing loss. Although we have had many exceptional inspirational speakers in the past, this presentation was unlike any other. Nancy brilliantly weaved her life story about how she discovered her passions in life with a workshop challenging our audience to think about their own passions in a deeper way. She equipped us with the tools to do this through exercises completed while she graced us with her gift of playing classical music on the piano—a passion she rediscovered through her life’s journey. During her presentation, the emotions were palpable as the audience shared how they were inspired to pursue their own passions. Most telling was the audience’s reaction to Nancy’s presentation ending with a standing ovation! I would highly recommend Nancy as a speaker for any audience with or without a hearing loss. It could change your life!”
—Terry Bedard, President, Hear Here Hartford Chapter, Hearing Loss Association of America

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“Nancy’s presentation was amazing. Not only the music but the way she made it so interactive. I sat next to a man who kept wiping the tears away as he pondered questions in the worksheet. I guess he was thinking about all he was compelled to leave behind because of his hearing loss demands. I know I was! For the first time in many years, my inner child was forcing me to listen to messages from my past. Coping with the issues related to hearing loss took up so much of my time that I really never had much time to dwell on the things I used to do. The worksheet provided at the workshop got me thinking about the things that used to matter to me and I realized I missed them. I left the workshop with a promise to me that I would listen to the messages from my inner child and have more fun.”
—Myrtle Barrett, President, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association

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“Nancy empowers with her words. She tells how she reclaimed her passion for playing piano—after a 25 year hiatus—with honesty, openness and no small amount of bravery. Her message of hope and renewal will stay with everyone in the NYC Hearing Loss Association of America Chapter for a long time. That she can reclaim her passion after a long absence makes it possible for each one of us to reclaim ours.

This is the second time I heard Nancy’s presentation, which includes the pure pleasure of listening to her play piano. The first time was at the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association’s Conference in May 2014. I was struck then as now how skillfully and confidently she weaves her history while making it possible—through targeted exercises—for her audience to identify their passions. She allowed sufficient time for reflection which in our busy world, doesn't happen nearly enough. Thanks to Nancy, everyone left her presentation with an action plan to move forward.

There is no better gift.”
—Holly Cohen, President, Hearing Loss Association of America New York City Chapter

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“Nancy’s workshop was powerful and exquisite. I don’t know what the process has been over time as she has crafted her presentation, but it was so distilled to the essence of her experience that I found it nothing short of breathtaking.

I thought that her selection of the vignettes—Kathy’s marginalization of Nancy juxtaposed with Nancy’s loss of her beloved study of music—was pitch perfect, layering the losses she experienced as the people around her reacted to her hearing difficulties and threw a pall over the very heart of who she was.

I also found the re-emergence of music in Nancy’s life to be deeply moving and also exciting for the audience to witness as she told her story. Most important of all, Nancy’s courage in unpeeling all of these layers and laying herself bare to the audience was a lesson in trust and the importance of authenticity. Sometimes we humans think about fulfilling others’ beliefs about us at the expense of fulfilling our own beliefs about ourselves. My visit to Nancy’s program was a gift and inspired and energized me to identify and move toward new directions that are of great value to me in my life.”
—Peggy Ellertsen, Member, Hearing Loss Association of America Board of Trustees

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“I had the pleasure of meeting Nancy and participating in her workshop titled Claiming Your Passion—held as part of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association’s Annual Conference, held in Toronto, Canada, in May 2014. While I was uncertain about what to expect at first as this was an unusual type of workshop in my experience, I quickly became captivated and totally engaged as it progressed. While based on simple yet powerful concepts, the use of piano music as a basis to complement her story and the workshop’s progressive steps, was highly effective and motivating. I believe this workshop will help anyone with achieving their personal and professional goals, and in particular to finding out about or re-engaging with one’s passion(s) in life. Enjoy the journey!”
—Leon Mills, Executive Director, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter

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