Phonak hEARo Britney Trimming hails from Leduc, Alberta. Her journey to deaf advocacy started when she lost her hearing at age two from a severe bout of meningitis. This left her parents completely devastated. Unable to think about what their next option might be, a doctor suggested an operation to fit a cochlear implant in her right ear. She had that done when she was three. She was implanted in her left ear at 15.
School was no fun. She was often the victim of bullies. Technology helped her learning. She quickly took to using FM assisted learning devices. The only trouble was getting the teachers to agree to wear them in her classes. She also used an interpreter who signed Exact English.
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“The most troubling things I faced were having to challenge instructors and people [who thought] my accommodations [were] useless,” Trimming says. “I [had] to face challenges with people who refused to wear my FM or were telling me I didn’t need it in the future. I believe accommodations and wearing [the] FM helps me to feel more included in the hearing population.”
Later in high school, she began advocating for deaf and hard of hearing communities.
“I felt that we need to be included,” she says.
“I felt that we need to be included.”
Her work was soon recognized. She was the recipient of a number of awards from her high school and home town.
After high school, she attended Red Deer College, where she studied to be an Occupational and Physical Therapist Assistant.
“I learned so many ways to accommodate individuals with disabilities,” she recalls. “Also, I joined the student council to advocate what is right, like campaigning for more accessibility for disabilities and to ensure everyone is included.”
During her college years, she received two student Mental Health Scholarships and was awarded Student of the Year.
“The most inspiring thing to happen to me has been creating awareness for the hard of hearing/deaf/Deaf communities,” Trimming says. “I have people and friends listen to my story of how I struggled to be included and how others are struggling as well. After inspiring myself to create awareness it made me want to become a good advocate.”
These days Trimming is working in both a hospital and a school. She is a firm believer in being the change she would like to see in the world.
“I learned there are multiple ways for me to help others,” Trimming concludes. “I believe we can include others by allowing us to accommodate them and not ignore them.”