Justin Osmond was born with a 90 percent hearing loss.
Imagine that, especially if you were born the son of Merrill Osmond, the lead singer of the world-renowned Osmonds.
Justin, who spoke to the NFPW 2013 conference, said “Imagine life without sound.” As he continued to “speak” the audience could see his lips moving but could hear nothing but the sound of silence.
“That’s what my life was like without hearing aids,” he said as he raised his voice.
Today one in five teenagers has a documented hearing loss, in part, because of the prevalent use of ear buds and playing music on mp3 players too loudly, Justin said.
His hearing lost presented challenges for him, but he chose to challenge his limits. He recognizes his hearing loss and said, “It’s okay. It’s who I am.”
He added, “I have a hearing loss, but that hearing loss does not have me. “
As he smiled and joked with the audience, he shared other popular sayings that contribute to his positive outlook. For example, “If there are no ups and downs in life, it means you are dead.”
He spoke of becoming more assertive and also of service. “Whatever your profession, always make time to help others, to serve one another.” Because of his hearing loss, he established the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, in honor of his late grandmother.
A video he shared showed the many faces of the children the fund has helped. Dry eyes were few in the audience as it watched children receive the gift of being able to hear for the first time. Their faces beamed and they laughed as they came to hear sound.
Justin encouraged the audience to never give up. “You may have a challenge but don’t let those challenges have you.”
As a young boy, Justin learned to play the violin. He could feel the vibrations along his jaw line. However, when he performed with his brothers, he wasn’t sure if he was keeping the beat. Then he struck on the idea to watch his brother’s bow – and he kept the beat.
Justin recently wrote a book, Hearing with My Heart, in which he shares his story with the world in order to help everyone understand the struggles of living with a hearing loss and how to overcome it.