Wa­ter­proof hear­ing aids boost hopes

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Morgan

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.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

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.

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