My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Hearing loss doesn’t need to hold you back from your ambitions

Will Moseley-Roberts

An inspirational young man from Cardiff, shares his story during Deaf Awareness Week and how his loss of hearing hasn’t stopped him from following his dream career in medicine.

Whilst Will Moseley-Roberts found it difficult at first to accept that he was disabled, with the support of his family, teachers and careers adviser, he used his disability to inspire his future career, fuel his determination and is now studying to become a doctor.

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.

It wasn’t long before this period of transition for Will that he started 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 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.

“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.”

Talking further 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.”

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: “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.”

Dylan Evans, Will’s careers adviser at Careers Wales, said: “Will is such an inspirational young person and I am so pleased to have been able to have worked with him.

“Whilst I helped him to focus on his ambitions and how to achieve these, it was Will’s sheer determination to not let his disability define him that pushed him to success.

“At Careers Wales we aim to provide an inclusive and impartial careers advice and coaching service. I worked closely with Will to look at the options that were suitable for him, in relation to his passions, interests and strengths, as well as his disability.

“I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with Will and wish him all the best in his studies – I have no doubt he’ll make a brilliant doctor.”

Debbie Thomas, Head of Policy at the National Deaf Children’s Society Cymru, said: “We were delighted to hear about Will’s inspiring story and it shows that with the right support, deaf young people can do anything their hearing friends can do.

“There are around 2,500 deaf children and young people across Wales and they’re showing incredible potential as they finish school. As they approach this critical stage of their lives, it’s vital they get the support, guidance and inspiration they need to aim high and secure the right career for them.

“Our fully accessible helpline is here for deaf children, young people and their families and we would urge any of them to get in touch when they need support.”