Getting to know us is to love us

It all started nearly 14 years ago.  I was one of New Zealand’s first cochlear Implantee’s back in 1993.  In fact there was very little information about Cochlear implants on the web back then.  As editor of New Zealand’s cochlear implant newsletter I was always looking for articles, and searching on the internet for them.  

So it only goes to show that eventually my searches found the Say What? Club by way of one of the founders – Bobdeafie.  He invited me to join the group, so I did.  Next thing I knew I was getting lots of emails from people from all over the world who were like me – hearing impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, cochlear implant would be’s etc… 

Over the years, I’ve made many friends through this group – some lifelong.  I’ve headbutted with a few, cried along with them, and had many many laughs.  It’s the laughter that keeps this group together, the sheer joy of laughing about things that happen to people, and knowing because of your hearing loss, it’s either happened to you too, or could quite likely happen.  It’s a group that puts our hearing loss into perspective, helps us when things get bad and you’re down because of it, opens your eyes to the many devices that are out there to help us, and simply gives us a sense of belonging.  Coming home. 

It must be pretty good as 14 years later the SWC is still a huge part of my life.  

One of the most exciting things about the SWC is the people I’ve met.  First came Bob and Ling who came and stayed with me any years ago, then Joanie from New York, then Steven from San Francisco.  I met up with Rick in Australia, and Emily from New Jersey has been out here several times now. And just yesterday, Jeff  and his daughter was in Auckland for the day so I was able to show them around. 

Last year I won the SWC Scholarship which enabled me to travel out to meet up with so many at the Philadelphia Convention.  It was a really special time putting faces to the names I’ve been corresponding with via email for 15 years.  One of the most exciting things to happen to me in my life.   I came home to New Zealand, with some great memories, ones that I’ll keep forever. 

The SWC opens up the world as well.  Not only do we have people in America, but also Australia, New Zealand, England, Finland, India, Canada, and South Africa.  We learn about different countries and cultures, and we know if we’re ever travelling in those parts of the world, there is a friendly face waiting for us to meet them.  

I would recommend SWC to anyone who is wanting to find out about  hearing loss, or just wants to ‘hang out’ with people who you know will understand the frustrations that we come across in our every day lives when one’s hearing isn’t 100% perfect.

For more details… Head to… 

I look forward to getting to know you !



0 thoughts on “Getting to know us is to love us

  1. I have to admit, I joined in 2001 and I’ve never looked back. SWC opened up alot of opportunities for me. I am now the Editor of our online newsletter. Something I always wanted to do but never had the opportunity.

    SWC is like a family, you can have a love/hate relationship with some people and know they will all be there for you when you’re going thru your trying times with hearing loss or deafness.

  2. A lovely and very true testimony to the lifetime friendships that have evolved from being a member of the SWC. I arrived in 1999, a confused and sad person new to hearing loss, with little or no education in the area, and no understanding of what was happening to me or what my future held. 10 years later, the people who I once clung to for hearing loss support, (although they still do that unconditionally) have become friends first, lifetime friends who have the added bonus of actually ‘getting it’ about me. I now advocate for people with hearing loss in the workplace, and have brought about significant changes in my own workplace. The SWC has allowed me to understand that hearing loss wasn’t the end of my world, after all. As the current president of the SWC Board of Directors, I’d recommend ‘us’ to anyone out there, looking for others like yourselves, people who understand. We hear you! Come see for yourself, at

  3. The SWC holds a dear place in my heart, although I left the list back in 2000 or so due to lack of free time. I joined in 1997 and met so many wonderful people there! I even met the man I eventually married, Dave. 🙂

    Bob and Ling generously passed their tickets to ALDAcon in 1999 on to me and Dave when they couldn’t attend — just the nicest people ever!

    For a while we used to maintain the group photo album for the list we were on. It was just really a lot of fun and we got to meet (in person) many wonderful people that we knew through the list. The SWC was a wonderful source of support for both of us.

    ~ Wendi in IL

  4. Wendi,
    I feel the same. Though I had been to HLAA meetings before SWC, their meetings were only held monthly and I often couldn’t make it due to my work schedule. It’s the same with ALDA. Since SWC is there all the time I don’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts. If something happens that I need to talk about right then, they’re always there. I joined in back in 2000 and it’s made a world of difference for me. 🙂

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