Although Melissa Rodriguez herself is not deaf or hard of hearing, she has been involved in the community for many years. Her first exposure to the world of hearing loss came from her father, who worked for a hearing aid company. The stories he brought home from work prompted Melissa to dedicate her life to hearing loss. Her latest project, Hear Your Life, is a compilation of those involved in hearing loss treatment. “I wrote this book to inspire those with hearing loss to have hope and to look for a solution. Hearing loss is so isolating and invisible and so many people think that they are alone in their struggle,” says Rodriguez.
Spending her high school years at her father’s private practice showed Rodriguez how dramatically hearing aids improved his patients’ lives. Soon after she graduated high school in 1955, she acquired her National Board Certification, which licensed her to fit hearing aids. Among other accomplishments, she also served in the State Committee of Examiners in the Fitting and Dispensing of Hearing Instruments, the International Hearing Society, and the Texas Hearing Aid Association.
As a professional who values her clients, Rodriguez expresses concerns about the ethical treatment of hearing loss, especially as hearing aid sales take precedence over service. “Because the nature of the product can be reduced to a commodity or product rather than care and service, the industry has been abused by salesmen pushing a product,” explains Rodriguez. She emphasizes the need for quality, long-term rehabilitation and management of hearing aids.
In order to better understand her clients’ experience, every year Rodriguez will plug her ears with impression material and spend a day going about her normal routine. She ends that day with a greater appreciation for her hearing, and encourages those struggling with hearing loss to seek out treatment.
Today, Rodriguez resides in El Paso, Texas, working at her private clinic, Hear on Earth. She lives with her husband Mando and their two rescue dogs. More information on Melissa Rodriguez can be found on her website www.hearwithmelissa.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.