Erika has cerebral palsy, and a moderate hearing loss. She is nearly 18 years old and is a clever and caring girl. For her primary years, she attended a mainstream school where she wasn’t managing well and felt different from the other children. Her progress at school declined and she was unhappy. When she was transferred to Wangsel she was taught to sign. The HHfB audiologist, Karen Parfitt, fitted Erika with two hearing aids which enable her to hear the teachers’ voices.
Erika’s best friend is Tshering Choden. She is profoundly deaf through illness. Before her illness Erika had learned to speak as a hearing child. The Karen fitted her with hearing aids in October 2018. Erika and Tshering Choden practice speaking together. They mainly speak in Dzongkha, but also have some English words.
Erika told me that she likes about her hearing aids because she can hear when someone is crying, and she can now give comfort.
When Karen meets Erika again later in 2019, Erika will talk about her village and her family. She can do this better in Nepali so an interpreter will be needed.