Katya Gardiner used to have to swim with big bags billowing around her ears.
Now Katya Gardiner looks just the same as other children in the water. The Khandallah School pupil was born with no hearing and has cochlear Implants, surgically implanted electronic devices that provide a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.
Until last week the implants weren’t able to be used under water without bags to keep them dry. That all changed when Katya received funding from the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation’s allsports activity fund for an aqua + accessory – a device that protects her cochlear Implants.
Katya’s father, Sym Gardiner, said it had opened up the opportunity for her to swim and do the sort of messy activities other children did. “Before she basically had a plastic bag that went over it,” he said. “They would float off because there was air inside. It was also clumsy and made a scrunching sound.” “But it’s not just swimming. For school if they go off and do rafting or anything where there is lots of splashing, we can slap these on. With the bags we couldn’t have really done that.”