Who am I
My name is Darnell Parks. I am a music producer and audio recording engineer with a profound hearing loss. I was born completely deaf in the right ear, and my left ear had a slight hearing loss. Throughout the years, my hearing in my left ear has progressively gotten worse. And that continues to this day.
I can no longer hear as well over the phone or watch TV without the need for captions. I now rely primarily on reading lips and using the remainder of my hearing to listen for social cues in my environment.
But despite the changes in my hearing, one thing that has never changed is my love for music. Over the years my dreams have always been to own my own music production company. I am fortunate enough that despite my hearing loss I am able to still pursue those dreams.
Why I started H.E.A.R. Me Out
H.E.A.R. Me Out is an idea that came to me after realizing there was a lack of awareness for resources in our community. This thought really hit home during a period of time that I was out of work and sought employment for many months. During one interview with a company that was interested in hiring me, they became aware that there would be a challenge with me hearing over the telephone. The company asked if there were any technologies available that would help me to hear on the phone so I could perform my duties. At the time I was not aware of any technology that would work for my situation. Needless to say, I didn’t know where to even start looking. But the company had no idea of where or how to find this information either. Consequentially, I was not hired for the position.
My point isn’t to rant about why I didn’t get hired. Instead, what I realized from this situation is that there needs to be more awareness of how and where to find the resources that we need. Someone should not be at a disadvantage for employment simply because he or she cannot find help. And conversely, businesses should have the opportunity to find the information they need for assisting employees or customers that have a hearing loss.
H.E.A.R. Me Out was my solution for helping to solve these riddles. The purpose of H.E.A.R. Me Out is to provide a centralize location for connecting people in our community to the resources they need. Our goal is to educate businesses on alternative ways to effectively communicate with deaf and hard of hearing customers or employees. We also strive to build awareness of technology and services that businesses or those with a hearing loss can take advantage of.
Creating this awareness is what I believe can help individuals with a hearing loss as well as help businesses who are in similar positions as I was. It is my personal mission to bring this knowledge to light, and hopefully bridge the gap between our world, and the doors that lead to yours.