Deafness no obstacle as Orla hits heroic note
BEING deaf is no barrier to music teacher Orla O'Sullivan. She allows her imagination to fill in the notes she cannot hear.
And despite being visually impaired, she does not let it bother her.
For the past 20 years she has taught scores of students of all levels. Now the teacher from Frankfield, Cork, has been recognised for her inspirational work.
Ms O'Sullivan was among nine people with hearing loss commended at the Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards in the Alexandra Hotel in Dublin.
She was left profoundly deaf and visually impaired when given a drug after she contracted double pneumonia at six weeks old.
Her mother noticed that, as a baby, she reacted to certain kinds of music.
Ms O'Sullivan, who started teaching deaf children in the mid-1990s, uses a purpose-built classroom in her home. "I teach music in a standard way. The difference is in how I prepare," she said.
"With my hearing aids on and with close lip reading I can usually make out what is being said. As regards the music, again, with my hearing aids on, I can hear or feel some of the notes. The notes I cannot hear, I hear in my imagination."
Exceptional people from the youngest winner Marcus Conroy (9) to Des O'Callaghan (75) were also recognised at the awards.