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Will’s story


19-year-old Will from Cardiff shares his story of how his loss of hearing hasn’t stopped him from following his ambition to pursue a career in medicine.

Experiences at school

After starting to experience symptoms of hearing loss around the age of five, Will was eventually diagnosed with Progressive Bilateral Hearing Loss (PBHL). Will initially had to move schools to gain more support for his condition and was able to get by in lessons but said that his declining performance in hearing tests made him feel like a ‘constant failure’.

By the time Will was in year 9, he started to struggle to hear one on one conversations or keep up with Teachers during lessons. Exhausted from trying to focus so hard, he’d fall asleep as soon as he came home.

By the end of the year, Will felt it was time to consider cochlear implants, and had them implanted by the end of September in his first year of GCSEs. After missing a month of school, Will taught himself what he’d missed. He made the difficult decision to not take up two of his planned GCSE subjects due to the exhaustion he was experiencing, and instead used this time to recuperate between lessons.

Talking about his story, Will said: "When I was younger I didn’t want to feel disabled or constrained by my disability. I think it can be really damaging for disabled children in general with the idea that generally they don’t achieve as well."

"I wanted to study medicine so that I could help other people in other situations of vulnerability, similarly to how I was helped when I was younger."

Support from Careers Wales

It wasn’t long before starting year 10 that Will began to receive one to one support from Dylan, an additional learning needs Careers Adviser at Careers Wales.

Dylan was there to talk Will through his options and ambitions, help develop a plan to ensure his learning and wellbeing needs were being met in light of his aspirations and to listen during the difficult times too.

Talking about the support Will had received from Dylan and Careers Wales, he said: "It was good to look forward and strategize about what I was going to do after I’d had the implants and what I wanted to do in the future, it gave me something to aim for and focus on; a positive future."

"I felt like I had someone in my corner helping me to think about my future and helping me organise myself and what I needed to do – not just in terms of writing it down, but mentally focusing too."

Settling in at university

Will is currently studying medicine at St Andrew’s College in Scotland and is coming to the end of his first year.

Speaking of his experiences, he said: "My hearing completely controlled my life – and I think I’d definitely say that if I hadn’t had the cochlear implants and hadn’t had the support I’d had from my family, teachers and from Dylan, I wouldn’t have been able to apply for medicine."

"Covid-19 has made this a weird first year at uni, but everyone has treated me normally and I feel like I really fit in at the university."

If you’re currently in school or college and would like to explore your interests and opportunities with a careers adviser, please speak to a member of staff who can advise on how to book an appointment.

You or your parent, guardian or carer can also call us free on 0800 028 4844, email or get in touch through live chat.


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