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Jillian's story

Hear and Say alumni, Jillian explains why she now has her weekends back

I recently graduated from the University of Queensland with a Doctorate in sociology and international development. Achieving the PhD has been no easy feat, and I am certainly relieved to conclude this voyage and have my weekends back!

I was born with moderate to severe hearing loss, which deteriorated to a profound loss during my early primary school years and rendered hearing aids ineffective. This prompted my parents to seek alternatives and fortunately, they found the Hear and Say Centre, of which we have been gratefully associated with for over 20 years. After a few meetings with Dimity, Emma, Teresa, from Hear and Say, and Dr. Black, my ENT, I received my first cochlear implant at nine years old, and I opted for a second implant 12 years later.

I credit the cochlear implant and the early intervention I received for providing me with freedom. A freedom that enables me to be independent and resilient, and in turn to pursue opportunities, such as completing a Doctorate.

As part of my doctoral research, I spent six months in Solomon Islands conducting interviews, and in my final year, I presented my research at an international conference in the United States. In addition, I completed a six-month research internship with the United Nations in Fiji. However, my accomplishments are reliant on scaffolding built by others, particularly by my parents, audiologists and auditory verbal therapists at Hear and Say, teachers and friends. Without this scaffolding supporting my life journey, I certainly would not have been able to achieve some of my personal goals.

From all of us at Hear and Say, congratulations Jillian on your achievements, and thank you for sharing these with us.

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Maia’s Story

At 9.10pm on 24 October 2013 our beautiful daughter Maia was born. 

The moment of elation was short-lived as we immediately noticed her left ear was missing. I frantically looked to the medical team around me for answers but received none.

Panic set in as we waited 4 days in hospital for an ENT to explain her condition, by which point we already had all the answers from Simone, who runs the Microtia and Atresia Program at Hear and Say.

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