21 Jul 2023
‘We don’t remember days, we remember moments.’ – Cesare Pavese.
I’m Claire, and I am proud to say that I have a profound sensoneural hearing loss in both ears and have worn hearing aids in both ears since I was four years old. I went to a mainstream primary and secondary school, participated in Calisthenics for over 15 years (a sport that has routines performing to music on stage), played tennis, learnt three musical instruments and even won the Best Speaker award in Year 11 when I participated in Toastmasters at school, where I spoke about the impacts of my hearing loss.
As I navigated adulthood and the challenges that came with it, including employment and university, it was very rare that I would let people know that I had a hearing loss. Like many of us, I had my own ways of coping, and I was simply winging it with lipreading.
There’s been lots of tears, frustrations & so much personal growth & learning throughout my entire life of living with my profound hearing loss. But there’s so much to be proud of too! Whether it is training dogs and their handlers as a volunteer dog trainer, running my first ever half marathon, improving my balance by working with a trainer on the bosu ball, actively participating in my local community, and walking the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea to name a few, I haven’t let the challenges of my hearing loss beat me. I’ve always said that there’s no roadblocks, only detours!
When the masks came in with the pandemic, I found my voice (pun intended) by sharing some of the communication difficulties I face on my own social media channels, where I had an overwhelmingly positive response with the main comment ‘you hid that well, we didn’t know that’.
This led me looking for how I could become an advocate, which is how I found Soundfair back in 2020! Little did I know then that two years later, I’d have the opportunity to combine my marketing, communications and event career with my own hearing loss journey.
What a chapter it’s been in my hearing loss story with Soundfair.
Highlights of my time at Soundfair have been:
- Connecting with other Hard of Hearing/Deaf people through the Soundfair social and meeting new friends, attending the Deaf Vic conference, meeting our wonderful people that come into the Soundfair Hearing Centre and being able to not only relate to their stories, but inspired, too!
- Being able to be my true self at Soundfair and learning new tips and tricks along the way (including where to sit at a table at restaurants).
- Sharing my own story at the Audiology Australia conference with audiologists and learning about new things that I didn’t even know existed that I could now share with others who are Hard of Hearing/ Deaf.
- Sharing my own story at local events, including the City of Monash and a video for the first time on my LinkedIn channel for World Hearing Day.
The key things I’ll take away with me are:
- It’s never too late to make a difference and self-advocate for what you need, at home, in the workplace and in social settings. Because of this, I’ve been able to build a fantastic support network who have learnt as much as I have, and are also able to advocate on my behalf, too!
- That it takes more than just devices to help me to hear.
- There are some amazing professionals out there who genuinely care and want make a difference to those living with hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Most of all, I’m not alone on this journey, and together, we can make a difference.
I have really enjoyed connecting with you during my time at Soundfair. I have been inspired by your stories and the work that Soundfair continues to do. Whilst I’m sad to be leaving Soundfair in a professional journey, words cannot describe my gratitude to Caitlin, Anushka and the rest of the Soundfair team for this incredible opportunity to learn, grow and become a better person from this experience. I’m inspired by others around me, and now I want to help inspire other people, too!
My professional journey with Soundfair has come to an end for now, but I’m more determined to continue to be an advocate for not only Soundfair’s work, but for the Hard of Hearing community to help make people like us seen and heard for a more inclusive and accessible world for us all.