Graduate's story - Imogen
“Hi, my name is Imogen and I am profoundly deaf with a cochlear implant. I was born in
June 1990 - a seemingly normal, happy and healthy baby. However, when I was about three
months old my mother started to think that something was not quite right. After health
visitor checks I had my fi rst audiology appointment in March 1991, but it was not until my
fi fth visit six months later that I was fi nally diagnosed with profound deafness.
“Luckily, when I was diagnosed, my mother heard about The Elizabeth Foundation which is
local to our family home. I then attended The Elizabeth Foundation as toddler all the way
up until starting primary school. I have many fond memories from the place, from fun activities - such as banging
on drums, painting, performing in the nativity and playing water games in the garden - to practical activities such
as speech therapy, learning to diff erentiate between sounds and communication skills.
“Unfortunately along with the hearing aids came ear infections, sore ears, whistling and discomfort. At the time,
my mother was approached about me having a cochlear implant. However, she wanted me
to make the choice as to whether I wanted to proceed with this when I was older. At the age
of nine, I decided that I wanted a cochlear implant. I had my cochlear implant operation in
February 2000 and have not looked back since.
“I went to mainstream school, completed my A Levels and then attended university in
Lancaster. Going to university was one of the best things I have ever decided to do; I chose
a university that was 300 miles away from my family and friends, and more importantly,
300 miles away from my comfort zone. Moving away and living independently really
shaped the next few years for me; after university I went travelling with my boyfriend (now
husband) across South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
“When I came back from travelling in 2012, I decided that there was no time like the present to get on with life, so started
working for a law firm during the week, whilst undertaking my postgraduate law course at the weekends - and
waitressing in any spare time I had! After undertaking exams for three years, I qualified as a solicitor in 2015 and
am actively practising within the same law firm that gave me an incredible opportunity to flourish. I specialise in
Wills and Probate, and am so passionate about my job. No day is the same and I interact daily with clients.
“It has been sixteen years since my cochlear implant operation. I am now happily married to my hearing husband.
I consider my family to be my best friends, I have lots of friends (both deaf and hearing) with whom I am very
close, and I absolutely love my job. Throughout my life, my mother has never told me that I couldn’t do anything
or made me feel diff erent to others, including my own sisters. I don’t say it enough, but I do give a lot of credit to
my family for who I am now and feel very thankful for all they have done for me.
“There is a quote to bear in mind which is very close to my heart. It goes, “Do not go where the path may lead,
go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Things are improving all the time; when I was little there was
limited technology for deaf children to grow and progress. Today’s children will have access to all sort of new
technology and support. If I can get to where I am now without most of
those things available during my childhood, just imagine what today’s
children could be capable of.
“I met so many people at The Elizabeth Foundation who I still keep in
contact with today, including one of my best friends who was one of my
bridesmaids. I have always said that The Elizabeth Foundation is not
just a charity or a building, it is a stepping stone to lifelong friendships,
a place of happy memories and consistent support for families with
deaf children. We will forever be grateful for their support!!”