Loud Shirt Day 2021


A blog written by GM Bupa Ballarat, Natalie Dreier.

Hearing loss is a part of my life in a way I never anticipated or expected. Nurses said at birth that my baby had passed her newborn screening test with flying colours but at 14 months she was diagnosed with a moderate and severe hearing loss in both ears and would require hearing aids full time as it was a late diagnosis.

As a parent to hear what I thought at that time was absolutely devastating news would go on to be a lesson in resilience and shape her into the young lady she is today.

Eight weeks later and Miley was fitted with her hearing aids in the brightest of pinks and as you can imagine with a 16 month old they were often found in pieces, and I’ll never forget a call one afternoon from a panicked carer from childcare one day who said they were trying to find them in the sand pit.

I would challenge people if they asked what was wrong with her in the supermarket, as I wanted to teach Miley that this will not stop her from achieving all she wanted. As she grew up and she always knew that she was no different and that it was the same for her friends or family who need to wear glasses or require an asthma inhaler, that the aids were a part of her and they would allow her to hear the wonderful sounds of the world.

I religiously read to Miley every night from birth and I was told when she was 4 years old after much help from speech pathologists and OTs and the support of Taralye that she could go to a ‘mainstream’ school, as the efforts and hard work tantrums and tears (so many tears) had paid off.

Miley is the most brave and inspiring young lady. She is continually recognised for educational accolades including a PowerPoint presentation on the inventor of hearing aids (Miller Reese Hutchison) and is currently in her high school’s leadership program.

Having a loved one with hearing loss has been very helpful working in aged care, as I have become the source of emergency battery supplies for residents and technical support on many occasions!

The team and residents are getting into the spirit of Loud Shirt Day at Bupa Ballarat, 

we will be wearing our wackiest shirts to help raise much-needed awareness and funds for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.