12 November 2020 – Resha Bhana is ready to find herself a job having overcome teasing and a lack of confidence caused by hearing loss in both ears.
The 23-year-old Taranaki horticulture student hopes her love of tramping, gardening, crafts and baking make her an employable option but until then she will continue to visit Life Unlimited’s Hearing Therapy service to maintain her personal hearing improvement journey.
Resha’s hearing loss was identified when she was a baby and from then on, she had two hearing aids to help.
But she was unable to hear things like the birds “squeaking” (as she puts it) or clocks tick tocking.
Her primary school years at Turuturu School in Hawera were made easier by Resha’s determination not to feel different.
“I put myself out there and forgot I had a hearing loss and just tried to be like other people.”
It was when she left that school for intermediate that Resha experienced some teasing from other pupils who mocked the way she spoke.
“I couldn’t say half the words, but I just ignored it. I had my teacher aide helping me with my schoolwork and with phrasing my words and everything. Half the time it was good, half of the time it wasn’t that good,” she said.
While at intermediate she had a cochlear implant, a surgically implanted electronic device, inserted in her left ear. Cochlear implants provide a sense of sound to a person who is severely hard of hearing or profoundly deaf. They are provided to people who have found little or no significant benefit of having a hearing aid.
The teasing continued into high school but not as bad.
“I just ignored the people who were teasing me and just trying to blend in with the other people. The implant made a big change. My teacher wore an FM microphone and I could hear it through my hearing aid. I could hear clearer, focus on my schoolwork and get my grades up.”
Socially, there were ups and downs.
“If I was in a group of friends, if they were all talking at the same time, I didn’t really pick up what they were talking about. My close friends knew I had a hearing impairment and they would talk to me one at a time.”
It was while she was studying in Wellington that Resha got a timely reminder she needed more help.