A National Deaf Bowling Champion’s journey through life
I was not diagnosed as being deaf until Grade 1 at Primary School. I have worn hearing aids all my life since then.
I attended an ordinary State Primary School and not a School for the Deaf. This was extremely difficult as it was not easy to comprehend what the teacher was saying to the class. My parents travelled each week into the city so I could see a speech therapist to improve my speech. I was never taught sign language so my communication was lip reading with some hearing aid device to assist my hearing.
At age 15 I commenced work in the caravan building industry but was told I was unable to do an apprenticeship due to my profound hearing loss. In 1981 my wife Caroline and I decided to start our own caravan building business. I had never been able to talk over the phone due to my severe hearing loss but Caroline handled the administration side of the business and was my trades assistant. We continued our business until 2008 when we retired.
Our two sons aged 17 and 15 were killed in a light plane crash on a joy flight in 1996. I received severe burns trying to get them from the wreckage. I had to close my business for two years because of my injuries. This tragedy has had a huge impact on our lives and at times my hearing loss was compounded because I felt isolated with not being able to communicate easily with people.
I was always involved with sport of some sort all my life. Last year I competed in the Queensland Multi Disability Lawn Bowls in the Hearing Impaired Men’s Singles and won the Bronze Medal. I have just returned from playing in the Queensland Team for the National Deaf Lawn Bowls Championship in Western Australia. I was selected to compete in the International Lawn Bowl Championship to be held in New Zealand in 2019. I am over the moon.
The biggest positive in my life has been my cochlear Implant which was performed by Dr Chris Que Hee at the Mater Hospital Brisbane as a public patient in 2017.
This has been life changing for me to hear sounds and conversation that I have never ever heard in my whole 66 years of life. I cannot thank the doctors and my audiologist Barbara enough for all their commitment to the program and helping me to develop my hearing skills to where it has far exceeded my expectations. My only regret is that I never had it sooner. I wish that many more profoundly deaf people have the same opportunity that I have had, to benefit from this wonderful medical miracle. Thankyou Cochlear.