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Changing lives

  JOHN's story

John & GSS counsellor Diane"A lot of people are on their own, without family or a support network to help them," Diane admits.  "We help them stay as independent as possible.”
Like John who took himself to the Emergency Room with an excruciating pain in his side. Alone at the hospital, without family or an interpreter, John signed a form agreeing to surgery.  All he knew was the surgery was life or death.  He didn't understand what the surgery was for or what was wrong with him. 

He was frustrated and very frightened. He thought he might be dying.

Luckily, someone recognized him and called Diane, his General Support Services (GSS) counsellor at CHS.  "As soon as he saw me, John's eyes filled with tears of relief," Diane recalls.

He was so grateful he finally had someone he could communicate with.

It made all the difference in the world.


As someone with hearing loss, I used to dread noisy family gatherings. Rather than being part of all the fun and conversation, I often felt like I was on the outside, looking in.

Over the years, as my hearing loss got worse, I started to avoid new opportunities and social settings. I withdrew from good friends because following conversations was such hard work. I was becoming a hermit. And I felt empty and exhausted.

After discovering CHS, I enrolled in its Hearing Help Classes. Those classes taught me how to overcome the challenges that come with hearing loss. I learned about hearing aids, speech-reading and coping strategies. And I learned how to advocate for myself.

The classes gave me the courage to finish my high school education. They inspired me to begin volunteering in my community, reconnect with old friends and make plenty of new ones.


I had a phone call from the long-term care facility where my husband lived, but I couldn't hear what they were saying. My heart pounded. I had to rush over there. I had no choice. What if it was an emergency?

I knew something had to change. I couldn't go on like this. And then something did. I was referred to CHS and its wonderful Hearing Care Counselling program. Ana, my HCC counsellor, introduced me to my first amplified phone, and then when my hearing worsened, she taught me to use a Voice Carry Over (VCO) phone. Suddenly, my whole world expanded. Conversations with friends and family are now possible again.


At seven months, Isabella was diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss. With help from caring friends like you, CHS burst into our lives and hearts right after. She was fitted with hearing aids immediately and introduced to someone who would become one of the most important people in her life: her Speech-Language Pathologist, Almut Vogel.

I honestly don't know where we'd be today without our weekly visits to Almut. As a CHS supporter, I know you are there too, behind-the-scenes, giving my child every chance to lead a fulfilling life. Your gift will help Isabella and thousands of others stay connected with the world.


I’ve lived with the challenges of being deaf all my life. I found out how difficult this can be during my first corporate job. For two years I was forced to wear the sign “I AM DEAF” in large block letters on a vest as I served coffee and completed other menial chores that were well below my abilities.

That’s when I received help from the CHS. We spent hours researching human rights issues in the workplace, and when I was ready to confront my manager, a CHS Employment Consultant was there at my side. Thanks to the support from CHS, I was no longer required to wear the humiliating “I AM DEAF” vest, and I was finally given the opportunity to work alongside my coworkers as a peer.

CHS was also instrumental in securing my next job at a daycare. Not only did they suggest the daycare to me, they also arranged the interview and endorsed me with their own recommendation.

Today, I’ve moved on from the daycare to Toronto where I’m pursuing my ultimate goal of a career in early childhood education, with the hopes of one day operating a daycare of my own.





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