Meet Shawnae Jebbia: Former Miss USA Isn’t Held Back by Hearing Loss
For Shawnae Jebbia, 1998 was an incredible year. Not only was she crowned Miss USA, but she was also a finalist in the Miss Universe pageant. In the midst of her hectic travel schedule and countless appearances as Miss USA, Shawnae noticed she was having difficulty hearing. Although she first wrote it off as the result of a cold or her intense schedule, it never got better.
Coming to terms with hearing loss
Shawnae found herself asking people to repeat themselves and having to move closer to whomever she was speaking with in order to hear them. Recognizing that something more serious was going on, Shawnae visited an ENT and was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease. This rare condition affects the inner ear and can cause pain, pressure, and dizziness along with hearing loss.
Although her doctor recommended hearing aids, she was a bit reluctant at first. After all, wearing hearing aids can be an adjustment for anyone – especially a former beauty queen like Shawnae. Given the choice between wearing hearing aids or continuing to miss out on the sounds around her, she chose to embrace hearing aids and hasn’t looked back since.
Advocate and Everyday Hero
Today, Shawnae continues to have a busy schedule as a mother of twins and spokesperson for Some 1 Like You, a low-profit charity that privately connects people with rare health conditions to offer each other support. Shawnae is also one of Signia’s Everyday Heroes, helping to inspire others to take care of their hearing health.
Over the years, Shawnae’s hearing continued to diminish, and she is nearly deaf in her left ear. But with Signia’s CROS Pure® Charge&Go Nx devices, which transfer sound from her left ear to her better hearing right ear, Shawnae doesn’t miss a beat. She can even hear her children whispering to her!
She says, “I am so amazed by this technology. And the fun part about wearing hearing aids today, is that they’re so pretty now!”
Advice for others
For anyone coming to terms with their hearing loss and unsure of the next steps, Shawnae has the following words of wisdom:
“Be sure to advocate for yourself. If you’ve just been diagnosed, or suspect you have hearing loss, you need to be proactive in communicating everything you’re experiencing. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Learn more about Shawnae and all of our Everyday Heroes: https://www.signiausa.com/everydayheroes/