Restoring Khululwa’s hearing

A hearing aid has made all the difference

Can you imagine being in school and not being able to hear the teacher? This was a daily reality for Khululwa Takana – very frustrating and demoralising.

She was really struggling academically, and her teachers were becoming very frustrated with her.

They thought she was being naughty and disruptive in class, but the problem was much more serious than that. At the end of each school year, Khululwa would receive a poor progress report, and on many occasions, she had to repeat the grade.

Research tells us that hearing is critical to speech and language development, communication and learning. Hearing loss causes delays in development of speech and language, and those delays then lead to learning problems, often resulting in poor school performance. Unfortunately, since poor academic performance is often accompanied by inattention and sometimes poor behaviour, children with hearing loss are often misidentified as having learning disabilities such as ADHD.

Khululwa’s parents have passed away and she lives with her brothers and other relatives. One of her brothers realised that she had a problem with her hearing and asked the school for help. The principal provided a letter to take to Zithulele Hospital and Khululwa was able to see a doctor. She received medication to clear up an infection, but because the problem had not been treated earlier, her hearing had been permanently damaged.

The doctor at Zithulele referred her to more specialised treatment in Mthatha, and Khululwa was fitted with hearing aids. With the help of Buzeka Nkanunu, the Rural Ability Programme’s community disability worker (CDW), Khululwa is now totally comfortable with her new, improved ‘ears’ and she knows that if she has a problem – or even if she just needs new batteries for the hearing aids, Buzeka is there to help.

Khululwa proudly explains that nobody is laughing at her and she has lots of friends, thanks to Buzeka. When we visited the school, the principal, Mr Solomon Magwede, expressed his thanks to Buzeka for her role in Khululwa’s journey.

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