Hearing management

Updated 14 December 2017


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


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules