Life and deaf – Kate’s story
My hearing loss was first discovered during a routine primary school hearing test. My parents were shocked to discover I had a mild to moderate loss. I was 11. I was fitted with hearing aids through Australian Hearing but received no emotional counselling, so I didn’t wear them.
I struggled through school and university ,finally wearing them from the age of 18 years. My hearing dropped to profound levels, and I found I couldn’t live without my hearing aids. When Australian Hearing support stopped at age 21, I considered suicide because I didn’t know how I would pay to be able to hear. Hearing aids cost $4,500 each, and batteries were an ongoing costs, about $1 per day.
Eventually I took out a loan and paid them off over a year. The only reason I could do that was because an elderly Aunt passed away and left me money specifically for my hearing. After a few years I got a cochlear implant, and it changed my life. They were fully covered by Medicare, but hearing aids are not. I hear better now, and I am not in financial strife, I’m a working professional, and I have a young family. I would never wish my hearing experience on anyone, so this is why I work so hard with the Deafness Forum and other groups to try to change the situation. I want to Break the Sound Barrier for everyone.