When Marilyn Weinhouse turned 40, she started losing hearing in one ear. Sounds that were once clear to her became muffled and hazy. Her one-sided hearing loss gradually progressed to both ears, resulting in a moderate bi-lateral hearing loss. To this day, she still does not know what caused it.

Weinhouse is one of 48 million people in the U.S. affected by hearing loss. She will be among the panel of speakers sharing their experiences at the seventh annual Lecture in the Silent Garden from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, at Fresno State’s North Gym (Room 118).

Joining Weinhouse on the panel is Dr. Jody Hironaka-Juteau, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State; Dr. Roger Simpson, assoicate professor in the Department of Social Work Education and Gerontology; Bud Richter, a local philanthropist; and Patricio Galindo, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and graduate student in the Department of Social Work Education and Gerontology.

The free, public lecture is aimed at individuals struggling with decreased hearing in the workplace, couples with a partner experiencing hearing loss, family members dealing with a loved one’s hearing deficit and individuals coming to terms with their own hearing loss.

Renowned hearing loss expert and advocate Gael Hannan will give the keynote address. Her presentation, “Huh? Life with a Cranky Cochlea,” will take a humorous and lighthearted approach to hearing loss when it comes to relationships, raising children, work life and everyday life.

Hannan, who has severe-to-profound hearing loss, has been an advocate for over 20 years. Her one-woman play, “Unheard Voices,” conveys the impact of hearing loss from the points of view of adults, children, service providers and men and women.

“People have so many misconceptions of hearing loss and individuals with hearing loss, and subsequently do not learn how to interact with them,” said Dr. Paul Ogden, deaf studies professor emeritus at Fresno State and founder of the Silent Garden. “Those dealing with hearing loss are not aware that there are a variety of resources and support groups available to them, as well as technology such as hearing aids. Without these things, a person with hearing loss can develop poor communication skills, social isolation and even dementia for some.”

Wrapping up the lecture will be a support group session, which is available to those seeking advice or who are interested in sharing their experiences of hearing loss with others.

The lecture will be fully accessible and include a hearing loop system, provided by Contacta, which allows sound to be transmitted electromagnetically and picked up by a telecoil in a hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Real-time captioning will be available, as well as a team of oral and sign language interpreters.

The lecture is part of an endowment by the Silent Garden, a program within the Department of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies at Fresno State that fosters opportunity, understanding and awareness for the deaf and hard of hearing community. The lecture is sponsored by Fresno State and the Laurence W. Levine Silent Garden Education Fund.

For more information or to register, contact thesilentgarden@mail.fresnostate.edu.