WITNESS: Athlete Hears Clearly For The First Time

Life changing events happened all week in Healthy Athletes hall at ADNEC – here is just one as witnessed by volunteer blogger Valerie Cox.

March 21, 2019
March 21, 2019

WITNESS: Athlete Hears Clearly For The First Time

Life changing events happened all week in Healthy Athletes hall at ADNEC – here is just one as witnessed by volunteer blogger Valerie Cox.

All kinds of extraordinary events have happened all week long at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, and not all of them are on the courts or pitches.

Two athletes from India are among those who had their lives irrevocably changed for the better due to the expansive Healthy Athletes program.

Read more HERE about Healthy Athletes program from Dr. Tim Shriver.

Jyothi, from Kerala, lives in an orphanage in the district of Ernakulam and attends the Nirmala Sadan Special School, located in Muvattupuzha. She has been maneuvering through her life with only 25 percent hearing ability.

Although involved with the Special Olympics for 10 years, her ear deformity made it impossible to fit a traditional hearing aid. Suggested surgery was too frightening for her, so she adjusted to a lifestyle of communicating through lip movements. That is, until this week at ADNEC, when she was offered a uniquely designed hearing aid that fits like earphones.

To the surprise of her coach, she agreed to try it on, and suddenly the hall was filled with joyful shrieking, as she could hear properly for the first time in her 16 years.

Her joy was so great that her coach had difficulty getting her to bring her focus back to her basketball game. She was not satisfied until they had agreed to inform her school principal back home of what she called, “My greatest achievement!”

“This support will improve her sporting performance,” said Sister Rani, program manager, SO Bharat Kerala. “She can make a good leader and a team coordinator and this will get her closer to achieving her best. As the orphanage is supported by the government she could now be offered a government job. This could bring a quality change in her life from different perspectives.”

Rincy is another athlete who was making her way through life without hearing, depending on lip reading. In addition to basketball, Rincy plays in a band and loves dancing, following the movements of her dance instructor to learn the timing and routines. She lives away from her family in a boarding school. Her father is a struggling fisherman, working hard to keep food on the table for his family. Too occupied fighting his own battle of survival, and with two children and a wife with disabilities, funding hearing aids was just not a possibility.

Rincy finds it difficult to believe that she has actually received a hearing aid and can now clearly hear the activity around her and, even better, the beats, rhythms, and rhymes of her beloved music.

“The hearing aid is bound to make a tremendous difference in Rincy’s life. In fact, I have seen so many athletes whose lives have changed after the World Games. They have got jobs. It has been a turning point as I am sure it will be for Rincy as well,” added Sister Rani Joe.