Oct 2020 ABC Action News
A video captured the moment a Riverview woman regained her hearing after losing it nearly two decades earlier. Abbey O'Brien, 22, was deaf in her right ear. She received a hearing implant in May. "I bawled my eyes out. I think everyone knew I was going to cry. I sort of went with it. I was just very emotional," said O’Brien. O'Brien said she lost her hearing when she was a baby. "She had roseola as a baby. When she was 12 months old, 106 fever and we couldn’t get it down so we took her to the ER," said her mother, Kristin O’Brien. "I was diagnosed when I was two years old. My mom found out. She thought I had behavioural problems and she brought in a behavioural specialist who spent an hour with me and said no, you have to get her hearing checked," recalled Abbey. O'Brien said she just adjusted to not being able to hear in one ear. As a student, she said she would sit in the front of the classroom. "It can be difficult at times. I have to make sure I'm standing in the right spot in a room or sitting in the right position in a room so I can hear everyone," said Abbey.
She works as an audiologist assistant at Davis Family Hearing in Brandon. She said she relates to each of the patients and their struggles. "It's the best feeling ever. Anyone who asked what I do, I tell them...I make miracles happen every day. It's true. There's nothing better than connecting with my patients on a personal level," said Abbey.
O'Brien said she is using her own hearing loss journey to help other people. October is Audiology Awareness Month, a month dedicated to increasing awareness of audiology and the importance of hearing protection. She said she is grateful to be able to hear again. She said she never knew what she was missing. "Just pure happiness and joy and a rush of emotions. Just the anticipation leading up to it. It was more than I expected so once I actually got that moment and heard for the first time, there were no words to describe it," said Abbey.