Lost his hearing at 7 years then overcame massive odds to get to where he is today
Dan gained entry to a Special Interest Music Program through audition. Now in year 10, he plays Flute and Bass Guitar, he also enjoys extracurricular activities in the Boys Chamber Choir, iConcert Band and has joined the Tour Choir in preparation for the Tour later in the year to Sweden, Norway and Finland. Dan is thinking he will either go into music professionally, psychology or follow his other passion, Japanese. Dan enjoyed a language tour to Japan last year and he just can’t wait to go back – he loves the Japanese culture and language.
Dan was diagnosed with Congenital Cholesteotoma just before his 7th birthday. He was in Grade 1 and all going well developmentally, he had passed his screening hearing test in pre-school. Dan had two three hour operations to remove the cholesteotoma. He lost his eardrum and incus bone, he has a graft ear drum made of muscle. He was left with a mild to moderate unilateral hearing loss – this affects Dan ability to hear in a classroom, limits directional hearing, and is intolerant of loud noises. If his hearing aid is not working he has to work extremely hard at school to hear and he often gets the wrong message.
Dan used an FM system for several years before being fitted with a hearing aid. There has been no looking back. Like many who have hearing loss, Dan experienced bullying in primary school, teachers who don’t know how to work with children with hearing loss and tiredness because he needs to work harder to hear what is happening in the classroom. Dan’s experiences have provided him with insight and empathy into operations, pain, hearing loss and how to cope with challenges in life.
The family makes every effort to support Dan in whatever he wants to achieve. His Mum chose to work part time and take positions that enable her to leave work to attend Dan’s appointments and be there for him as he negotiates life. Diagnosis and managing medical conditions is challenging even though his Mum is an experienced paediatric nurse. Even with mild to moderate loss in one ear, she has witnessed the significant effects on learning, socialisation and family life. For this reason, the family supports making Hearing Health a National Health Priority.