"Natasha is a resident of Mumbai, currently studying in the 12th grade. She has been wearing a cochlear implant (CI) since 2 years of age. Over the years, Natasha has developed listening & spoken language, has excelled through school and in all extra circular activities. However, her passion has been rifle shooting and she has about forty medals from various tournaments to her credit. In 2022, she represented India in shooting for the 22nd Deaf Olympics at Brazil and was ranked 4th in the mixed team and 7th in the individual event.
""Initially, I began my journey with hearing aids, but they were uncomfortable. Soon after, I underwent my CI surgery and was taught to communicate in English. I taught myself Hindi and Marathi by listening to the daily conversations at my house and in school. I can also speak and write German. My friend Zia and my teachers were my best friends who stood by me through my growing years.
I wear my CI while shooting. Initially, I used to feel uncomfortable, but I am used to it now. Shooting is so much about rules and regulations that needs to be followed during a match, so my CI device helps me to listen to the commands given by the officer to commence the match activity.
There are myths that people with hearing disability cannot speak properly and are always dependent on someone. Also, that they are not very interactive and have low self-confidence. I never thought of my deafness as a disability and my family helped instill this confidence in me. I always competed with other hearing students.
Don't lose hope, things develop slowly. Always remember to involve friends while building communication and not just family members. Also, work with one language first, and then slowly, you can try to develop other languages too."
21 March 2023