Four deaf young people who learnt to listen and talk at Auditory Verbal UK, have today (10 May 2023) meet Malala Yousafzai, activist, UN Messenger of Peace and the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, at the Achieve Anything Global Summit.

AVUK graduates meet Malala Yousafzai

Ava, Hope, Orson and Noli meet Malala as part of Cochlear Foundation’s Achieve anything program. They discussed the importance of advocacy and calling on world leaders to address hearing loss and prioritise better access to hearing healthcare and support for millions of children around the globe.

Hope Dennis, aged 10, was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at just three weeks old and became one of the youngest babies to undergo bilateral cochlear implant surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital aged just nine months in July 2011. Hope then began Auditory Verbal therapy at AVUK and by 14 months old Hope’s communication skills were on a par with hearing children of the same age.

Hope said, “This has been an unforgettable experience. I can’t believe I’ve met someone who has won the Noble Peace Prize and she is such an inspiration. I really hope this summit can help more deaf children get the kind of support I had which for me has also meant I can do everything my hearing friends can.”

The children and young people also meet Chief Presenter of BBC Global News, Lewis Vaughan Jones, who lost his hearing suddenly, to hear his advocacy work changing perceptions and knowledge around hearing.

During the summit, the international ambassadors from the UK, Brazil, France, India and the US will work with hearing advocacy network CIICA (Cochlear Implant International Community of Action) to launch a consultation process for the development of a global declaration on hearing loss for children and young people.   

Based on the views of children and young people with hearing loss, the declaration will challenge governments and health providers worldwide to ensure young people have access to hearing healthcare as early as possible. This will build on the recommendations of the World Health Organization’s World Report on Hearing, which underlines the urgency of hearing health needing to be prioritised by governments and society. 

Anita Grover, CEO of Auditory Verbal UK, who is profoundly deaf and has a cochlear implant, said: “These inspirational young people show that deaf children and young adults can achieve anything, and they should have the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers. They are leading the way and we are proud to be supporting their efforts to challenge governments to prioritise better access to hearing healthcare and support for millions of children around the globe.   

“We encourage young people who are deaf to share their experiences and ideas with governments and health providers across the world to ensure early and effective support for all deaf babies and children, whether they use sign language, spoken language or both. Together we can raise expectations and outcomes for all deaf children and young people.” 

Find out more about Cochlear Foundation's Achieve anything program.

AVUK graduates meet Malala Yousafzai