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Dec 2017 Berea Mail

The launch of the “Activism against women and child abuse” once again turns the spotlight on the violence many women in society are victims of. There are many stories shared of the horrors of violence against women and children. One such story is of Glenwood resident, Bev, a victim of physical abuse in a previous relationship that left her almost deaf. The physical abuse Bev suffered resulted in the nerve endings to her ears being severely damaged. “My nerve endings are dead and the right ear damage is so bad that there are no signals to the brain. I was told no hearing aids would help me, and my only option would be a cochlear implant to my left ear,” she said. Having worked for a certified financial planner for 11 years Bev’s deteriorating hearing led to her being put on half day at half the salary she had been earning. After her employer left the company she managed to get a job working at a bank as a data capturer. However, over the past five years her hearing has continued to deteriorate and her only option was to apply to her medical aid to fund a cochlear implant. The medical aid declined her request four times.

BevBev shows her new cochlear implant.

When Bev took a nasty fall and broke her pelvis, hip and injured her neck she was put on early retirement. Fortunately for her, her medical aid had finally relented and conceded to pay for her cochlear implant. Because Bev is unemployed, she had to cancel her medical aid and now finds herself in a difficult situation. Since undergoing the implant surgery. the implant has been switched on, and the experience of being able to hear sound again she described as “excruciating, emotional and unbelievable.” However, the implant needs to be tuned, but without medical aid, Bev cannot afford it.

“I’m still trying to get used to it and to hearing different sounds. My friend Colleen Welgemoed spoke to Louisa Hitchcock, as her daughter Helen has had cochlear implants, and they have started fundraising for me to try raise money for the audiologist to tune my implant,”she said.

Sadly, her family is unable to assist. Her mother, with whom she was very close, died last year, and was followed tragically by her brother. “It’s been such a bad year and now I have lost my job on top of it. Louisa is going to sell calendars as part of a donation fund to help with ongoing expenses, and I am selling banana bread to raise money, as each time my audiologist tunes my implant, it will cost over R900,” she said.

Being alone was a challenge, she said. “I’m really battling. I’m just grateful the operation was a success as if it had failed, I would be stone deaf. My doctor, Dr Schlemmer, was brilliant. I must commend him, he was kind, caring and sympathetic. My audiologist, Kara Hoffman, is also brilliant and extremely kind. It’s been a long hard road, but thanks to Louisa I hope to be able to go forward. I’m excited as Kara said at the first tuning she will connect to my phone via Bluetooth so I can hear on my cellphone and I will be able to Skype my new granddaughter. It’s very emotional!” she said.

Bev said she was also looking for any employment as she needed an income. “My body is weak so I can’t do any heavy lifting, and I won’t be able to do too much telephoning in the beginning, but I have phenomenal computer and admin skills,” she said.

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