Hearing management

19 March 2007


On a previous journey, we followed Marissa, who received her first hearing aids at the age of 21. This is her story.

I initially became deaf at the age of two after having contracted meningitis. My percentage of hearing loss is approximately 95%. The meningitis damaged my audial nerve and I lived in silence for the next 19 years of my life. From time to time I wore different hearing aids, but didn't find them very useful and chose to do without them, rather than having them hampering the active life I lead. But I have always had the desire to be able to hear, and strived to educate and equip myself as well as possible in order to adapt to the hearing world, as I knew my future lay here.

After becoming deaf I went to a school for the deaf in Pretoria. Deaf people attend school for two to three years longer than hearing people, for we need to learn some extra skills like lip reading and sign language. At school I tried to excel at whatever I did and did not allow my impairment to get the better of me. Some of my achievements include passing two modern dancing courses with distinction, excelling at art as an extra-curricular activity and being chosen as head girl during grade 12. I loved the dancing. I felt the rhythm with my skin and the beat with my whole body.

After school I enrolled at a college for a course in beauty therapy. After completing the course I received the award for outstanding achievement by a student with special needs. During that year I was also invited to compete in a body painting competition at Cresta shopping centre. The first time I competed I came third and the second time I won the competition. In 2003 I was accepted by the University of Technology to study for a degree in somatology. This just shows that it is possible for me to compete in the hearing world and I am very proud of my accomplishments thus far.

I hope that this is only the beginning and that this short transcript of my history is the first piece of a great future.

Read more about Marissa's journey:
The first month
The second month
The third month
The fourth month
The fifth month
The sixth month
The seventh month
The eighth month
The ninth month
Marissa's journey into 2005
Heading for the hearing world
The wonder of everyday sounds
A temporary farewell
Marissa's audiologist: first thoughts
Marissa's audiologist speaks
Thank you


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Hearing Expert

Francis Slabber is a Speech & Language Therapist and Audiologist who has owned and run The Hearing Clinic in Wynberg, Cape Town for the last 17 years. Francis and her team have extensive experience in fitting and supplying hearing aids as well as assistive living devices. Francis has served as the Western Cape Chairperson for the South African Association of Audiologists for three years and has given many talks on the topic of hearing loss and amplification. The Hearing Clinic has a special interest in adult and geriatric hearing impairment, hearing aid fittings and hearing rehabilitation.

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