“Through the Government’s Newborn Screening Programme for hearing loss, our daughter Beatrice was diagnosed with a profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss when she was just weeks old. We were advised that she wouldn’t be able to hear speech or a dog barking but that she might just be able to hear a jet engine.

It was devastating news. For months I awoke in the night, reliving the shock of being told. Would Beatrice ever hear my voice? Would she make friends and be happy? I felt completely isolated and the professionals’ expectations for her seemed so low.

However, one teary telephone call to Auditory Verbal UK dramatically changed the path we were on. I was advised to get the best technology available for Beatrice and to start Auditory Verbal therapy with Auditory Verbal UK immediately. At last there seemed to be a sense of urgency to get Beatrice hearing as best she could. During our first session with Auditory Verbal UK, we were horrified to find out that Beatrice, now 16 months old, had absolutely no understanding of sound – she didn’t even associate sound with meaning. Whilst we were reeling from this, Beatrice, through play, began to respond to her name. It took just an hour. Witnessing my profoundly deaf daughter react for the first time to my voice was a miracle.

Every other week we travelled a 180 mile round trip to attend play sessions teaching us, the parents, how to help Beatrice gain age-appropriate language. Her progress was meteoric. By the time she was five, Beatrice was able to graduate from Auditory Verbal UK and start school with age-appropriate language, on a par with her hearing peers and with unbelievably clear diction.

Beatrice is now  20 and has won a coveted place to study midwifery at Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge and has already delivered a number of babies. She is an independent and confident young women, extremely sociable and has a large friendship group; she’s very funny and never misses an opportunity to have a bit of fun. She is a demon at baking cakes, loves listening to music and works extremely hard at her studies. The world is her oyster. We always believed that deafness should not overshadow Beatrice’s character or preclude her from any opportunity in life. Thanks to Auditory Verbal UK it truly hasn’t.

Beatrice continues to support AVUK to help spread the word so more deaf children can have the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers.

She has helped with #LoudShirtDay and is urging others to #HearUsNow with the 2022 campaign for increased funding for Auditory Verbal therapy for every one of the 7,200 deaf children under the age of five to have the opportunity to access an Auditory Verbal therapy programme close to their home, free of charge if that is they want their child to learn to listen and talk.

Beatrice's mother, Kate Cadman