Julia has the world at her fingertips – growing up in Brisbane, now she works as a senior manager of communications and marketing while studying for her Honours in psychology online while living in Canada.
A number of areas of study have piqued Julia’s interest, first a Bachelor of Design followed by a Graduate Diploma in psychology.
“After graduating from uni and working in media and advertising agencies for a few years, I decided to travel and see what the world had to offer. I left Australia in May 2011 and backpacked in Asia, Europe, and North America for six months,” said Julia.
“The final stop on my round-the-world ticket was Vancouver, Canada and as I have dual Australian-Canadian citizenship I thought I would stick around for a year or two before returning back to Brisbane,” said Julia.
“I found a job and a place to live in Vancouver – and I’m still living here ten years later!”
Rewind over 30 years to 1986 when Julia was just 14 months old and her parents had just found out their daughter had a severe hearing loss.
“I am the only deaf person in my family so Mum and Dad chose to teach me to listen and speak with the hope that I could attend mainstream schools and have access to the same opportunities as my sister and hearing peers,” said Julia.
As one of the very first children to walk through Hear and Say’s doors (known as the Mouse House back then) the centre holds a very special place in Julia and her family’s hearts.
“I was fitted with hearing aids and began seeing Dimity at 16 months old, after we were introduced via the Shepherd Centre in Sydney,” said Julia.
“At the time the centre was in Toowong. I came in often for speech therapy until I was five and a half years old. I was one of Dimity’s early babies, before the Hear and Say Centre was born,” she said.
“My earliest memories are of visiting Dimity in Toowong. I remember appointments were always lots of fun, with plenty of toys and games and books. I also remember Mac the Mouse and the Mouse House quite clearly, as well as all the excitement of building and moving into larger premises.”
Julia’s hearing started to worsen and at 10 years old she underwent surgery for a cochlear implant – at this time it was standard practice to only implant on one side.
“I went back to Hear and Say after I received my first cochlear implant in 1995 to learn how to listen with it,” she said.
“I remember coming home after my implant was switched on and hearing the fallen leaves on our front lawn crunch under my feet for the first time. I still love that sound.”
When Julia was 24 years old she received a second implant in her left ear.
“Surprisingly, I hear better out of my second implant despite waiting for so long before having it implanted. I found learning to listen with it much easier than I had with my first implant.”
Julia loves to travel and make the most of living in Canada. She also loves to read, spend time outdoors and try out the cafes and restaurants Vancouver has to offer. Julia reflected on the difference hearing has made to her life.
“Being able to listen and speak has opened up the world for me. It’s given me independence and the ability to freely communicate with others and follow my interests,” said Julia.
“Dimity and Hear and Say gave my parents the tools they needed to help me learn to listen and speak and it has made all the difference in my life. I feel incredibly privileged to have been born at the time and place that I was, where we had access to auditory-verbal therapy and modern hearing technology,” she said.