“My life changed dramatically when I began focusing on bringing passion and joy into my life,” she says.
Karen, who was born with “normal” hearing, became hard-of-hearing after getting sick in elementary school and severely deaf at age 19 after tripping over a wake while barefoot water skiing.
“I spent many, many years hiding my hearing aid,” she says. “It wasn’t until I became deaf as a teen that I began to embrace a whole new different way to live.”
Becoming deaf turned out to be a blessing, she says, and after drying the tears, Karen decided to embrace life. When she did, a new world opened up.
“My life changed dramatically when I began focusing on bringing passion and joy into my life”
Karen shares her views in her new book, “Unwrapping Your Passion: Creating the Life You Truly Want,” which recently reached #6 on the list of best “Self-Help” books on Amazon.
She says the idea for her book came to her six years ago, not long after re-discovering her passion for barefoot water skiing. (After her accident as a teen, Karen thought she merely had water in her ears, but the severity of the accident was more severe because of a “a wacky gene in her family.”)
At the time of conception, she says she wasn’t ready to write the book, but she never stopped thinking about it.
“I had just started the exploration of passion and I had to LIVE a passionate life first,” she says. “I interviewed and talked to over 200 people about the topic of passion.”
Along with a new outlook on life, Karen says her audiologists, Solange Anderson, who works at Phonak, and Christine Woodall inspired her to embrace her hearing aids, by picking bold colors and learning about the technology behind them.
Read more: Why I Decided to Stop Hiding My Hearing Aids
“Solange came up with the color combination for my Phonak Naida hearing aids: an aqua blue case and raspberry pink hook,” she says. “Christine came up with a teal and aqua swirl for my earmolds to represent the water that I barefoot water ski on. People are stunned at how beautiful the colors are, and this often opens up frank conversations and erases the stigma surrounding hearing technology. Hearing aids are a piece of art today!”
“People are stunned at how beautiful the colors are, and this often opens up frank conversations and erases the stigma surrounding hearing technology. Hearing aids are a piece of art today!”
Karen has profound hearing loss, at 90 and 105 db, and admits she’s “pretty deaf.”
“Yet, my hearing aids give me the ability to monitor my voice when I speak and the sound that is captured often helps with lipreading,” she says. “I frequently interview people from all over the world using phone technology from ZVRS and the hearing aids help me to hear when someone is finished speaking on the phone and it is my turn to talk.”
For those with undiagnosed hearing loss who may be struggling to live passionately, Karen suggests visiting an audiologist to determine what the options are.
“Be open and willing to explore technology–you may be totally, completely surprised at the results you get,” she says.
Those first, courageous steps could be the start of a “creating the life you truly want.”
“I hope readers realize the spectacular power they have to create the lives they truly want… one that is filled with awe moments and incredible connections and experiences,” she says. “What brings me the most joy is when a reader applies something from the book and makes a wonderful change in their life.”