At this time of year, while we are all gearing up for a greatly deserved, happy break, I think about the amazing sensory impact of the holidays. Particularly- the get-togethers with laughter and happiness spilling over the tables in our homes.

This year, I also had an experience which reminded me of how many of us will not be “HEAR” for the holidays- missing out on the camaraderie of friendships and jokes, and shared sounds of JOY. (Do you wonder what that would feel like- NO LAUGHTER??).

It began with an incredibly caring man, ‘Murdock’, who had been referred by Tanja Beeton, from Phonak South Africa, asking me what I thought could be done for ‘Eugene’, who is a 46 year-old-man, with little or no speech, and profound hearing losses. He was in a car accident at the age of 9. It took away the hearing in both ears, but also seems to have affected his speech more severely than expected, as he makes sounds, but not words. We tested him, and I found that there was just a little bit of useful hearing remaining- if only we could make the sounds loud enough! His brain is as sharp as a pin!

I embarked on a hunt! A hunt for someone who may be able to help us purchase the hearing aids he would need……before Christmas. That was his greatest wish-just to hear a little bit of JOY!!

I want to thank The South African Disability Development Trust, and in particular, Moira Short- who is an angel flying on rapid wings. She processed our application in record time.

Also, to Unitron Hearing (, who supported our application for two year’s of FREE battery supply.

Finally, to Eugene’s amazing circle of friends, who are in the process of raising funds to provide him with ongoing speech therapy in the hope that his hearing may be harnessed to assist him in verbal communication- you guys are what it’s all about! Anyone who may want to help their initiative may contact Astrid (

We all cried- the whole lot of us, when we saw the JOY on Eugene’s face.

What does JOY sound like?