I don’t really remember much about how they found out I was hearing-impaired.

Symptoms are not always common nor are they visible. Common signs of hearing loss can be delayed speech, shouting to hear ones voice, anger and frustration. All I know is that “school nurse” picked up that I was hearing impaired and asked my parents to get my hearing tested.

I was 5 years old when I was diagnosed with a hearing loss. We’re not sure if I was born with a hearing loss or it gradually started decreasing.

The only memory I have is that I was in a mainstream class at a public school, and one day I felt the class was too overwhelming for me. I had my hands on my ears asking the teacher to tell the class to be “quiet”.

Next thing I know I had moved to another primary school in year 1, which had a hearing support unit: a small class with other hearing impaired children in it where we receive tremendous support and assistance from teachers and teacher aids.

One of the teachers was actually at my first primary school and then followed me when I moved. She is a great teacher. But she was very strict, loud and bossy. She was always screaming at us and all the kids were sacred of her.

A few years ago, I went back to my primary school for a reunion. I saw all my teachers again after so long, and they were all proud of me and how much I’ve achieved.

The “scary” teacher was there and she told me something that changed my life.

“I’m the one that picked up you had a hearing loss” she tells me. “The principal and your parents wouldn’t believe me. I told them Ayah’s hearing impaired. And they said no she not!  I told them again, yes! Ayah is hearing impaired!”

I was dumbfounded.
I was speechless and ashamed and surprised.
I couldn’t believe that the person I had these negative and scary image of all these years, actually ended up being the person who changed my life.

Without her, we wouldn’t have picked up I was hearing impaired.
Without her, my life would not have changed for the better.
Without her, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

To Ms Pearce, where ever you are, thank you for changing my life.

(Also thank you to Mrs Fox and all the teachers at primary and high school for their never ending support. Much love. )

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