The Hon John Howard AC
In May 2010, we met with Australia’s former Prime Minister, The Hon John Howard AC, and we are now delighted to announce that he has accepted the title of “Patron” to our organisation in Australia. Mr. Howard has also agreed to attend two Hear For You events / workshops each year sharing his experiences growing up with a hearing loss since the age of nine.
He says: “I warmly endorse Hear For You as an innovative service for young people with severe hearing difficulties. Its aim is to encourage those with such difficulties to overcome them and realise their goals and dreams. I have met the group's leaders. They are highly committed and energetic people dedicated to assist others to surmount their hearing problems."
He has also shared the following story about his own hearing loss:
John Howard, Australia's 25th Prime Minister, was first identified with a significant hearing deficiency during a routine health inspection at Earlwood Primary School when he was aged nine.
The condition worsened in his first two years of university and at the age of nineteen he began wearing one of the older, less effective, hearing aids. He had considerable difficulty at university lectures.
In 1960 and early 1963 he underwent operations which restored a good deal of hearing. As he grew older the condition worsened. He had a restorative operation in late 1985 and for the past fifteen years he has used small, unobtrusive hearing aids which have enabled him to retain reasonably serviceable hearing.
Mr Lance Cairns
Kiwi cricketing great Lance Cairns is delighted to be the Patron for Hear For You’s new program in New Zealand. And while Cairns is well-known for his batting and bowling prowess, he also has a significant personal interest in deafness.
Now aged 61, Cairns began going deaf himself while in his early 20s. He spent most of his cricketing career unable to hear his coaches or his team-mates and also becoming increasingly socially isolated – not wanting to speak up during post-match debriefs for fear that what he was saying would be repeating the words of his team-mates. He also couldn’t use a telephone and recalls that the last band he really listened to and like was the Beatles!
In late 2009, Cairns got a cochlear implant – and he credits this with giving him a “second life”. “You’re missing those life experiences if you can’t hear,” Cairns says. “You end up being a recluse.”
Cairns says he is thrilled to support Hear For You because it is so important that young deaf people can develop the life skills and confidence they need to pursue their dreams. Since his surgery Cairns says he enjoys the benefits of hearing – listening to music, speaking on the telephone and conversing with friends and family. He is also much more confident and is now working for New Zealand Cricket as well as doing ambassador work for Cochlear Ltd – opportunities previously impossible due to his hearing loss.