When Emma Houston was diagnosed with a hearing loss at the age of three; she couldn’t have asked for a stronger support system. Her mother Melanie, worked for the BC Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists, and was very familiar with how to nurture and support her daughter’s impairment.

“My mother was very on top of me, academically, with reading, writing communication skills, and my speech,” she says. “I was really lucky because she was hyper-sensitive or hyper-alert to everything. I didn’t really have to think about it or be concerned with anything.”

And though her mother knew exactly what to do when it came to academic development, the two weren’t on the same page when it came to accepting Emma’s disability.

Melanie wanted her daughter to embrace and celebrate it. When the 24-year-old was still in elementary school, her mother bought her banana clips to attach to her hearing aid, with a t-shirt that said “I can’t hear you, I have bananas in my ears.”

"Emma found that the best way to deal with her disability in the classroom was to simply sit in the front row, where she could hear clearly."

“I was mortified,” Emma remembers.

Eventually, Melanie accepted that Emma was going to deal with her hearing impairment in her own way.

“The last thing I wanted to do was draw attention to it,” Emma says. “She began to understand that.”
Emma found that the best way to deal with her disability in the classroom was to simply sit in the front row, where she could hear clearly.

These days, Emma works as a veterinary technician. She accepts her hearing condition and is no longer ashamed.
“It’s not something people should be embarrassed about,” she says. “My attitude has shifted.”