At the Ear Science Institute Australia, our audiologists know first-hand the life changing effects of hearing loss as shown in the inspiring story of Lize Coetzee.
Lize was just 3 years old and living in South Africa when her family noticed that her little brother Will hadn’t developed speech skills typical of his age. Simply labelled a “late talker” by the doctors, Lize’s family vividly remembers the Friday afternoon Will was suddenly declared ‘completely deaf’.
The family remembers the lack of empathy, care and understanding from the doctors after diagnosing Will with a life-changing condition. Her family will never forget the distress that followed and the emotional aftermath.
The next Monday this diagnosis turned out to be incorrect and Will was identified with moderate to profound hearing loss. Despite the relief of Will retaining some of his hearing, as a teacher, Lize’s mother knew that without early intervention and developing speech skills, Will’s whole life could be affected.
The effort to improve Will’s speech involved the entire family. Every six months the family flew to audio verbal training school and the family tirelessly practised speech lessons. He will also regularly visit a caring and understanding audiologist, with Lize faithfully by his side.
Through the commitment of the family, Will’s speech developed in time and was able to start school at the right age with all of his friends. This experience strengthened the bond between Lize and her brother.
The attentive treatment of her brother by the local audiologist had a powerful influence on Lize and inspired her to pursue a career in audiology with a dream to provide care and understanding.
“I know what it feels like to be a patient and the complex emotions that stir after discovering your family member has a condition that will change their lives forever”, Lize said.
Throughout their whole lives, Lize and her brother have remained the closest of friends. After their father passed away when she was only 9 years old, Will was Lize’s natural choice to walk her down the aisle when she was married in 2015.
Since then Lize gives the gift of hearing every day, as Head of the Lions Hearing Clinic.