An Introduction from Our New ODHH HoH Program Manager

Written by Mary “Maggie” Campbell

Hello! My name is Mary Campbell, and I prefer to be called Maggie. I am so excited to begin my journey with ODHH as the Hard of Hearing Consultation and Resource Program Manager.

I was born with a profound hearing loss. My parents noticed that I would not respond to them unless I was looking at them. They also noticed that I would stare intentionally at their faces when they spoke to me. A trip to the family physician and further audiology testing confirmed that I was Hard of Hearing. I was placed into a local “school of Deaf and HOH” that included about 7 students for preschool and kindergarten years. Once I entered 1st grade, I was sent to “hearing” school. I was completely cut off from Deaf culture at that point and integrated into the “hearing” world. My parents did not learn or use ASL. My lip reading was my only means to communicate with everyone around me. Despite this, I have always embraced the part of me that is hard of hearing. It is a part of me that I carried with me in all my journeys. Through school, through work, through relationships, through parenting.

I got a late start in college due to raising a family. I graduated from Whitworth University in 2008. I started my career in the field of social work by working in mental health crisis support and teen drug and alcohol support while still in college, then I was a social worker in a Skilled Nursing Facility. It was at the SNF where I fell in love with the vulnerable adult population and knew that I wanted to continue advocating for those who need advocating and support. In 2013, I began my journey with the State of Washington as an investigator with Adult Protective Services, investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults. In 2016 (late) I became a supervisor, training and providing education to investigators up until my recent departure to join the ODHH.

My entire childhood and much of my adulthood has been spent fighting to be treated equally to my peers. To have equal access to information as my peers. I have pushed back against discrimination in the workplace, asserting my ability to be just as proficient as my peers. I had never truly experienced my deafness as a barrier to reaching my goals. . .until the COVID pandemic.

As a VERY proficient lip reader, mask mandates created a barrier for me that I STILL struggle with. I felt like my independence was stripped. I was no longer able to get my needs met in public, at work, or at the doctor’s office in preparation of a major surgery. I had spent my entire life adjusting myself for everyone else, and now I needed that adjustment and no one was hearing me. I needed support, and it was not there. I was denied communication with medical professionals. I was unable to do some parts of my job effectively. I was emotional, devastated, and hopeless. And then I got angry. I could not understand how we as a society have failed to provide consistent and equal support and access to those who are Deaf and HoH. I knew there was a problem. I just had not realized the magnitude until a few years ago.

In any and every position I have been in, my favorite parts are the chances to educate and train. I strongly believe in quality of life despite any barriers one may have, and I will always advocate for what the client wishes are (within the parameters of safety). It is the upmost honor to be able to join the ODHH. I’m excited about the work that I will be able to do, the people I will get to work with, and the personal growth I anticipate.