Waterproof hearing aids boost hopes
The sound of the sea is coming through loud and clear for waka ama paddler Vesna Radonich.
Until last week the 32-year-old, who has been deaf since childhood, had to take her hearing aids out while paddling.
But that’s a thing of the past thanks to Siemens New Zealand, who have supplied Vesna with waterproof hearing aids, after seeing her story in the Central Leader last month.
They’ll give her an extra edge at the world championships in Sacramento, which start today.
“It means I’m going to have everything I need when racing,” Vesna says.
“It relieves the pressure knowing that I’m not going to miss any calls.”
Previously she had to rely on flag signals to know when the race started and set the pace for other paddlers in team competition.
The Ngati Maniapoto descendant, who divides her time between Mt Albert and Okahu Bay, reckons the hearing aids could boost her chances of picking up a medal.
“One-hundreth of a second could be the difference between a medal and no medal,” she says.
Siemens New Zealand communications manager Ron Murray says it wasn’t a hard decision to help Vesna out.
“Our feeling is she’s a very deserving person and a role model for young people who face these challenges.”
Vesna will compete in the individual 500m race after winning gold in the 250m individual at the world champs two years ago.
She will also compete in several team races.
Crystal clear: Hearing-impaired waka ama paddler Vesna Radonich will be able to listen to her team-mates on the water at the world champs this month after receiving waterproof hearing aids from Siemens New Zealand.