For 13-year-old Erica, her passion for dance has been made all the more richer thanks to her two cochlear implants, connecting her to the joy of music and fellow dancers.
In a recent presentation at her school assembly, Erica spoke about her journey with hearing loss, having received her first cochlear implant at the age of 10 months, and her second implant three months later.
“I was the first person as a baby diagnosed with profound hearing loss through the newborn hearing screening test while still in the Mater Hospital in Rockhampton,” said Erica.
Following her cochlear implant surgeries, Erica’s family made the huge commitment to travel from their hometown of Yeppoon in Central Queensland, down to the Hear and Say Brisbane Centre each week for listening and spoken language therapy and audiology support – a 1,316 kilometre round trip.
Erica has also attended several Telepractice Intensive outreach camps at Hear and Say over the years, which she said were invaluable for “helping to meet and stay in contact with other people with hearing loss like me”.
Kept busy with a range of hobbies including gardening, sewing, camping, and of course her beloved dance, Erica recently added another project to her plate, promoting Hear and Say’s Loud Shirt Day at her school.
“Loud Shirt Day is a fundraiser that spreads awareness for those who are deaf or hearing impaired and raises money. The money that raised goes towards Hear and Say which is a place that helps people get a chance of hearing [through] cochlear implants or hearing aids,” said Erica in her presentation to classmates.
“I am lucky to have an amazing family and great group of friends which also help and support me.”