G’day, my name is Dylan and I am 22 years old. I love basketball, swimming and anything sports related. I currently work as a sports assistant teaching students how to play volleyball and basketball, and as a casual cook at The Coffee Club.
I was around six months old when my parents began to suspect that I wasn’t responding to sounds. I was initially referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist by Australian Hearing (now Hearing Australia), who booked me in for grommet surgery for glue ear. However, even after that issue cleared, my responses to sound still weren’t consistent. We were referred back to Australian Hearing for further hearing testing, and early tests indicated a likely hearing impairment.
Hear and Say featured in a booklet my family was given about different treatment options. Once I was diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss, I was considered a candidate for a cochlear implant. We sat in on an Auditory-Verbal Therapy appointment at Hear and Say, and loved the caring and supportive atmosphere as well as the fact that the program was taught through a weekly session and then implemented daily back at home.
My earliest memory of Hear and Say is when my Poppy came along with me, Mum and my brothers to a playgroup, and there was a lady there who let me have a go at playing a violin. I was shockingly bad at it. I also remember going through a hearing test in my early days at the centre, and someone well-known walked into the room – it was Peter Beattie, the then Premier of Queensland.
Growing up grateful
It’s mind-blowing just how far cochlear implants have evolved. My current processor even has Bluetooth, which enables me to listen to music and take calls straight to my ears. It also has a location device if you ever misplace your processors!
Growing up, I used to say to myself all the time, why me? Why am I the only one in my family born deaf? Now, 22 years later, I am finally starting to understand that it has made me who I am. I’m so thankful for my cochlear implants, which mean I can hear my family’s voices, have conversations and hear things like music and movies.
I am also extremely, extremely grateful to my parents for their financial and emotional support all these years, and for giving me the courage to deal with things – and to my brothers, for not treating me (or teasing me) any differently.
Where to next?
I am hoping to travel to America to work at a summer camp. Once I come back, I’m thinking about applying to study as a teacher aid, or even go to uni and become a teacher.
There’s a boxing reference that my dad used to say to me all the time. No matter how far down you fall, what counts is how you get back up. The fight’s not over till you say it is.