Personality: Dr. Shantell D. Lewis

Spotlight on founder of nonprofit Here2Hear

9/20/2018, 6 a.m.
Hearing is one of our most precious gifts, giving us the ability to communicate effectively, which should not be taken ...
Dr. Shantell D. Lewis

“For those who can’t afford hearing health care, please reach out to Here2Hear because we are a wonderful resource. We are here to help you,” she says.

The free, effective communication emergency kits, which will be distributed Oct. 13 from Richmond Fire Department headquarters, contain a small flashlight to help people who are hard of hearing to see for lip reading; a card people with hearing loss can hand someone, particularly in emergency situations, to say they have a hearing loss or communication issues; and a list of apps to help people with hearing issues communicate with police if they are stopped.

Dr. Lewis’ advice to adults and children is simple: “Make sure you get your ears checked every year and follow up with what is recommended.”

Meet a dedicated advocate for hearing health and this week’s Personality, Dr. Shantell D. Lewis:

Occupation: Audiologist.

No. 1 community involvement: Founder of Here2Hear.

Date and place of birth: July 1 in Richmond.

Current residence: Henrico County.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology, Virginia Union University; master’s in audiology, Howard University; and doctor of audiology degree, University of Florida.

Family: Son, Kyree Currie.

Reason Here2Hear was founded: There was a lack of options for individuals who could not afford quality hearing health care and hearing aids in the Richmond area. Therefore, Here2Hear was developed to provide programs to assist with closing the disparity of affordable and accessible hearing health care, hearing loss assistive devices such as hearing aids and preventative education in the community.

Foremost mission: Our mission is to prevent poor hearing health care by providing programs for individuals that live in Richmond and the surrounding areas.

Why I am excited about this organization: This unique organization provides a host of hearing health care and preventative programs to children and adults at no cost to individuals who may not otherwise have access to care. This organization is also a big supporter of the local deaf community.

How to deal with hearing loss diagnosis: It is important for an individual to understand and accept his or her diagnosis. These individuals will have to be advocates for themselves, so it is important for them to learn coping skills. These individuals should follow the recommendation of their audiologist, who will provide guidance and provide options to assist with hearing. It is equally as important when learning how to deal with hearing loss to talk with others, including their loved ones, local support groups or organization, such as Here2Hear about their hearing and how to deal with hearing loss.

Importance of family support: The family can provide strength and support for an individual with hearing loss. Hearing loss decreases an individual’s ability to communicate effectively. And the more severe the hearing loss, the more difficult it is to communicate with family members on a daily basis. Therefore, family members can be supportive by attending hearing loss related appointments and hearing loss programs, assist loved ones with hearing aids if needed and assist loved ones in difficult to hear situations.