Hard of hearing persons are the most invisible of disabled groups, and Marilyn Dahl has probably done more than any individual to contribute to a national identity for these people. She herself has had a progressive hearing loss for most of her life. The skills she used as a registered nurse working in psychiatry have been used to motivate others to work on the issues and problems faced by hard of hearing persons.
She began her work as a volunteer in 1978, when she conducted classes and workshops for hard of hearing adults and youth.
Marilyn Dahl created a local support group called HEAR, which later became the founding branch of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. Today, CHHA has become Canada’s leading consumer self-help organization formed by and for hard of hearing persons. She has served on the executive of this organization since 1984 and has been president for several years.
Marilyn Dahl was the initiator of the Canadian Deaf and Hard of Hearing Forum. She is also vice president of the International Federation of Hard of Hearing People and is the first person from outside Europe to be elected to the board.
As Canada’s foremost advocate for hard of hearing persons, her dedication, organizational skills and example has made a real difference to countless persons.