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A father's perspective

I have been hearing impaired since birth, starting with a mild loss, and progressing to severe/profound. I am now in my late 30's with two hearing impaired children.

My sister has a profound hearing loss, she was the first hearing impaired audiologist to work for Australian Hearing. My other sister has a profound hearing loss. She works with her husband as the business manager in their own family business. My brother has a moderate/severe hearing loss.  He is a bus driver. My niece has a moderate/severe hearing loss. She has completed her degree in biology. My other niece has a moderate loss, and is loving infants school. My father has a profound hearing loss and was very high up in the taxation department before he retired. Two other nieces have normal hearing. My mother, and both brother-in-laws have normal hearing.

My son and daughter, Peter and Rebecca,  both have a moderate hearing loss. Leanne, my wife, has normal hearing. I am the Technical Manager of Printacall, and now have a severe/profound hearing loss.

My wife and I grieve over our children's hearing loss, and mine, as the family history is that our hearing will continue to degenerate. We have suffered the pain and agony of finding our that first Peter, and then nearly two years later, Rebecca, had to face the future with impaired hearing.

Yet each one of the nine people with hearing impairment I have listed above, myself and my children included, get on with life to its fullest. We don't continually focus on how terrible life is because of our loss of hearing. We get out there and enjoy ourselves, and we make a future for our children and ourselves.

Yes, times are incredibly tough sometimes, and I occasionally do get really down about my own hearing, but the real fear is for our children. Yet as I look back at my extended family, I really don't need to worry, as we have all made our own lives a success.

The one place we have found extra comfort and support has been our church, where our children are accepted as normal, without preconceptions. This was also my experience, as a child.

Also, as I look back on my childhood, I see the areas that caused me the greatest concern, are no longer an issue for my children. Regular itinerant teacher support; hearing aids that are behind the ear (rather than the out-of-the-ear that I had); teachers who are more aware; FMs  - all these make the future for our children even better than when I and my siblings grew up. 

As parents, the challenge is not to worry, and to treat our children as normal, while giving them the extra care required by them as individuals.

We try to regularly have "dates" with our children, where we go out to do something that that child wants to do, (bowling, putt putt golf, McDonald's, bike riding etc.) and I recommend this for all parents/children, to make sure we don't lose touch with each other.

Having said all this, there are still times when Leanne and I feel quite down. Usually after a hearing test when the issues are once again thrust in our face. That's when we have to remember that our children will not only survive, but excel, despite the obstacles, and we will be there support them.

Have a great day, as you look forward to your child's future and see his/her potential overcome the obstacles to achieve the impossible.

Andrew

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11-Nov-2015 5:30 PM (AEST)