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Hearing Loss No Barrier to Academic Success

Media Release
5th May 2006

Hearing Loss No Barrier to Academic Success

Proving that a hearing impairment is no barrier to success, hearing impaired Jenny Pevreal has been awarded a prestigious Freemasons of New Zealand Postgraduate Scholarship for Doctoral study – one of only eight in the country, and a University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship.

This follows Jenny’s award last year of the $15,000 Quest for Excellence Scholarship for postgraduate study, awarded by the National Foundation for the Deaf to reward and inspire people whose hearing disability has meant they have had to overcome great odds.

Jenny, who has mid-range hearing loss and is unable to hear certain speech frequencies, is currently studying for a postgraduate diploma in Clinical Psychology and a PhD at the University of Waikato.

Jenny is delighted with the news and is thankful to all the people and organisations that have given her support.

“There is an amazing amount of support available in so many different ways. What I have found is that you need to let people know that you are here, put your hand up and show them what you can do, rather than focus on what you can’t do or can’t hear.”

Jenny’s hearing loss was not detected until she was 20. Through her early school and university experiences she was not always able to hear the teacher – especially male teachers as their voices are just below her level of hearing.

It wasn’t until work colleagues pointed out that perhaps she needed a hearing test, she found out she had a bilateral moderate congenital neural hearing loss. Hearing aids have opened up the world for her, although she says it takes a lot of energy and concentration to focus on ‘trying to hear’.

Marianne Schumacher, executive manager of the National Foundation for the Deaf (NFD) said Jenny is an exceptional role model.

“Because hearing loss is an invisible disability, it goes without saying that all Deaf and hearing impaired people have faced inevitable challenges over and above their hearing peers,” said Ms Schumacher. “The fact that Jenny has excelled in her studies to the degree she has is a magnificent achievement and a great inspiration to others.”

Jenny aims to complete her doctorate and become a registered clinical psychologist in the next three years, helping to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses and assisting them to achieve their potential.


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