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Kimberly_Head_800pxBy Kimberly Parker

Once upon a time there was… a little girl who was living with undetected/untreated hearing loss and dreamed of becoming an accomplished actress.

Every day… She made up stories and songs and directed plays in her backyard. She even earned a scholarship to study theatre in college, so that she could follow her dream.

One day… when she was a junior in college she was diagnosed with a severe to profound bi-lateral hearing loss; it was progressive and she eventually became legally deaf.

Because of that… she did not see how she could ever become an actress. She became very depressed because her deafness isolated her from everyone and everything. The world at large was not hearing accessible; resources and education were not available and she and her family did not know what to do to make things better.

Many years passed… she began to look for help on the Internet and found “The Hearing Loss Association of America”; they taught her about assistive technology, communication strategies and self-advocacy skills so that she could begin to thrive in life instead of just survive.

Until finally…  Her life transformed after receiving a Cochlear Implant in 2012. With electronic hearing and hard work, she progressed from understanding 12% to 92% of speech. Since then she has written and performs Lost in Sound: A One Woman Play – to help people understand hearing loss, embrace inclusion and inspire a call to action for hearing health and accessibility. She intends to tour the world with her play, fulfilling her dream while, at the same time, helping millions of people.

Hi, I’m Kimberly M. Parker and you just read the short version of my hearing loss journey. I never dreamed that I would be “hearing” as well as I am today and I certainly never dreamed that I would write and perform a one woman play about my life experience! After completing my two year “Peer Mentoring” Certification program at Gallaudet University the summer of 2013, I wrote my play in the fall of 2013.

I knew I wanted to educate and advocate for people with hearing loss and their families. I also knew that I did not want to stand in front of an audience in a business suit and give PowerPoint presentations. I am a multi-talented artist. I love to write and act and sing. I wanted to deliver a powerful, informative message in a creative, inspiring and unforgettable way. I wanted to move people to laugh, to cry, to question and to think. So I wrote a play and it is transforming the way people view hearing loss. I am using “Theatre for Social Change” as my vehicle to raise awareness for this invisible epidemic.

Lost in Sound: A One Woman Play is an 80 min one act play that is rich in complexity, heart and humor. One actress, playing 16 characters by way of monologues, narratives, vignettes and musical solos. At its core, it is a story of a young girl who grows up with an undetected/untreated hearing loss, becomes a legally deaf woman and then receives the gift of hearing electronically with a miracle. Interwoven throughout is a beautiful story of a mother and daughter and forgiveness. And overlaying it all is a story of a woman overcoming great obstacles and stepping into her own power and accepting her greatness.

LIS_Logo1-1024x576               lostinsound_promo

Here is what people are saying:

It’s obvious she has combined her love and talent in theater with a mission to educate the audience in a wonderful performance. What I’ve learned from Kimberly has been so helpful in being with the people in my life who have hearing loss. You’ll laugh and cry and be amazed. Don’t miss it!

-Betsy Lydle Smith, Bainbridge Island, WA

Kimberly’s ability to connect with the audience and keep our attention made it possible for each of us to actually feel her life experiences. It was riveting and intensely satisfying. I am a different person based on the emotional and intellectual level of this performance.

–Jane Chapin, Silverdale, WA

The honesty and integrity on stage were inspiring and humbling. I think all of us were deeply moved by Kimberly’s performance. For me, it was encouraging to finally see her story—my story– your story—our shared story—told publically. If you get a chance to see this show, go! It will be an evening you are likely to remember for a long time.

Jerry Paulukonis, Seattle, WA

Watch a video of Kimberly talking about her hopes for the show and what she plans to do next after the the Seattle debut of her play Lost in Sound.

Cochlear Guest Writer
Cochlear Americas showcases the stories of real people celebrating life's real moments. This blog was written by a guest writer for Cochlear Americas. For more information on the guest writer, please see read above.