Abha Sharma’s hearing loss began in childhood, but she was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss only in her early teen years. Meanwhile, she had taught herself to read lips at a very young age and managed to get by. Staunchly supported and encouraged by her parents, especially her father, Abha persevered with her studies and completed her PhD in Biophysics from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India. It was here that she met her husband, Rajendra, also a scientist. Together, the two of them and their two young children traversed some tough times and finalized their immigration process to Texas in 2007. In 2014, they moved to Seattle.
Today, Dr. Sharma is a research scientist at the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. When she is not at her UW lab, she loves to write. Currently, she is working on a memoir of hearing loss experiences that have enriched her life. Some of her articles have already been published: “Puja with Mother,” “Barter Beads,” “Kitaab” and lately, “Why don’t you repeat what I just said?”. More recently, Abha was selected as a semi-finalist in the She Writes Press and SparkPress Towards Diversity in Publishing contest.
Around 2010, Abha discovered HLAA and soon became a member. Attending her first Chapter meeting was a life-changing event. In 2013, she served as a Board Officer for the Fort Worth Chapter in Texas. Later that year, she attended her first HLAA convention in Portland. She began reading HLAA’s Hearing Life magazine, which was another turning point for her. She now understood why she did not like big gatherings and offered to wash dishes at get-togethers. Listening was exhausting! Washing dishes was easier.
Abha is very grateful to HLAA; it has taught her to take better care of herself and her hearing needs as well as improving upon strategies for communication.