The Big Talk: Juliëtte Does TEDx

Gael Hannan
March 12, 2024

From the moment I  met Juliëtte Sterkens, I have been inspired by her passion in helping people hear better, especially through the game-changing technology of telecoils and hearing loops.

Juliëtte is Dutch and she speaks English with the clarity and precision that most native speakers lack – and which people with hearing loss need. She started preaching the benefits of telecoil-equipped hearing aids when she was still in private audiology practice. She had heard David Myers, a renowned psychologist and author, speak on the subject and knew that his message was something that would greatly benefit, not only her own patients, but all people with hearing loss.

She and her engineer-husband Max, who resigned from the corporate world to become a loop installer and later joined Juliëtte in her North American advocacy work, “jumped on their tandem that day” and committed themselves to telecoil and hearing loop technology. Their first loop went into a church in the early spring of 2009, and it was life-changing for at least one person on that first Sunday. (More about Russ later.) The rest is history.

Juliëtte thrives on interaction with audience members in the hundreds of presentations she has given around the world over the past 15 years. But the opportunity to do a TEDxOshkosh talk was a game changer. This was the Big One, an opportunity to spread the message to a huge and ever-expanding audience. However, the experience of delivering the actual presentation was unlike anything she had done, involving months of training and practice sessions. Juliëtte describes it:

You’re standing alone on the stage. There’s no ad-libbing. You cannot see the audience and there is little interaction possible. You are talking into a void. With a strict timer going. Very nerve-racking.

And then it was done. Juliëtte’s TEDxOshkosh talk went online on March 2 and, at the time of writing, it has been viewed nearly 150,000 times. (You can watch it below).

Juliëtte’s message is not limited to hearing loops, as evidenced in her talk. Her goal is to inform the general public about hearing loss, about the limitations of hearing aids, but also to stress that there are effective workarounds for better hearing. Consumers can ask for telecoils, as well as Bluetooth technology, when they speak with their hearing healthcare provider. In doing this TEDxOshkosh talk, Juliette helps to raise awareness that people with hearing loss deserve hearing accommodations, in the same way that accessibility has become standard for people who use wheelchairs or people with low vision.

And Russ? He’s the man Juliëtte talks about and his daughter wrote Juliëtte after the TEDxOshkosh talk went online: “[When the loop had been installed in the church], it was the first time my dad could actually hear the pastor! Then I had a hearing loop installed in his house so that he could hear the television. What a blessing!”

Juliëtte Sterkens, AuD has received international recognition for having fostered hundreds of hearing loop installations and changing the lives of thousands of people with hearing loss. She is a compassionate expert who cares about the well-being of people with hearing loss. I continue to learn from her and I’m proud to call her a friend.

Watch her TEDxOshkosh talk and think about it. Then, share it.



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