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Rita Simons: My Daughter, Deafness and Me

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Rob Francis | 15:00 UK time, Monday, 19 March 2012

EastEnders' very own Roxy Mitchell, Rita Simons, can be seen in her own show on BBC One this Tuesday evening.

Rita has twin five-year old daughters, Maiya and Jaimee. Maiya was diagnosed with hearing loss at six-months old and Rita and husband Theo have just discovered that Maiya will probably lose her hearing completely.

The show charts Rita and her family's experiences as they consider making life-changing decisions for Maiya's future - should they embrace the deaf world, learn to sign and send her to a specialist school or try and give her hearing with technology, implants and artificial sound or a mixture of the two?

Rita Simons: My Daughter, Deafness and Me, will be shown at 10.40pm on BBC One on Tuesday 20th March. Check out two preview clips from the show below.

Plus, read about the making of the show over on the TV Blog

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  • Comment number 1.

    aawww bless her! i hope she manages to keep some hearing for the rest of her life and it doesnt deteriorate completly. She does look a happy child though!

  • Comment number 2.

    i will be watching to support rita and her famley, a hard issue to make choices on x

  • Comment number 3.

    I am looking forward to reading this with interest. I am a deaf person, whom relies on the full time use of hearing aids. I was not diagnosed deaf until I was 12 years old. By this point I found it difficult to accept my ability. However, it has never held me back. At the ripe ol age of 31 I have a degree, a postgraduate degree, 4 A'levels, I drive a car, I have a mortgage, a car, I have travelled the world (well a bit of it!), and I am a teacher in a all boys high school. I am proud of my achievements, and although at times I have struggled to overcome issues with hearing, and even resented it some days, I am now proud how i teach my students about working with deaf people. However, I appreciate your predicament. The end of the day, I had my struggles, not being able to hear, wanting to listen to music wearing head phones, the nightmare when hearing batteries run out on a sunday night and i can't hear the box, the pupils being little buggers exploiting my difficulty to the max. I have learned to live with it, although at school i refused to wear hearing aids as I felt I would be singled out as "the deaf girl", although I never faced bullying. That said i had some pretty tough mates! Some days, I ponder how liberating it must feel to not wear hearing aids. In all the right decision will be the one that is made, and happiness comes from love and support, and a dam good sense of humour!

  • Comment number 4.

    Rita I would just llike to say thank you so much for a very moving film abour your daughter I hope you will go ahead with the coclear implant I too had a lot of negativity from the deaf community but I wanted my life back after 3 years of no hearing the first year or so is very tiring as the brain get's used to all the sounds it has forgotten ( I am still 10 years on hearing new sounds) I have no regrets even though I was terrifed of the operation Mr Pringle did mine & he has transformed my life I have it back good luck & never give up

  • Comment number 5.

    My daughter was 2 and a half when she was fitted with her first cochlear implant, she now has two. We first noticed my daughter had hearing problems when she was about 5 or 6 months old, she is now 13 years old. She had hearing aids for a couple of years until it was discovered that she had bi lateral sensi neural hearing loss (profoundly deaf on both sides). We decided after much soul searching & lots of questions to the surgeon & scientists that we wanted our daughter to have the same start in life as a hearing child so we went ahead with the implant. Before the implant my daughter could only grunt & she was very easily frustrated & now a lot of people can't tell that she is deaf. Its by no means an easy decision & it is extremely hard work but i do believe that its all worth it in the end. My daughter was in the school choir & she is always singing about the house, she can still listen to music etc with headphones as they plug into the implant. She also has good support at school. The earlier the child gets the implant then the better the results as kids are more resilient than adults & are better at adapting. Remember being deaf is a lifelong condition & the implant is just a sophisticated hearing aid but if i had to make the decision again between hearing aids & cochlear implants then i would make the same choice because every child deserves the gift of hearing. I wish Rita & her family all the best & i'm sure they'll make the right decision for their daughter xx

  • Comment number 6.

    Best wishes for the future to Rita and family. Much appreciation for such an open and honest account. Such lovely girls, I wish them both well in whatever future paths they choose to take, despite the differing challenges along the way. I would also encourage people to support research into hearing loss, in the on-going effort to drive technology forward.

  • Comment number 7.

    Many thanks to Rita for making this documentary and highlighting the issues around hearing loss. My 5 month old daughter is currently undergoing hearing assessment and it gave me great hope to see Maiya clearly so happy and enjoying life to the full. She is a credit to Rita and her husband and they must be very proud of both their beautiful girls.

  • Comment number 8.

    So often Cued Speech doesn't get a mention. It's a way of making spoken English 'visible' to deaf or hearing impaired people. Hannah's story, based on a true story, has a lot of the same characteristics. You can see the it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ApICNWRaFc

  • Comment number 9.

    you seem an amazing mum Rita I don't have kids so don't have know Idea what you must go threw at times trying to deal with your child's hearing loss not only this your a hard working mum hats of to you

  • Comment number 10.

    Rita I was moved to see another family talking about Pendred Syndrome.
    I have two sons with Pendred now aged 18 and 15. They, like your daughter suffered further hearing loss through head trauma's plus severe vertigo, which as they grew was followed by Tinnitus. The further loss was at the early stages, we found that whilst they were suffering vertigo and afterwards for as long as we could - we kept them lying still (the longer, the better) the result their hearing return back to the previous level), which we still do today! For the last 8 years their hearing has remained stable apart from heavy prolonged hearing loss (massive fluctuations)
    Please contact me, I could help support you more Christine x

  • Comment number 11.

    Rita you are so inspirering as a mum with a death child, its probably very hard to cope and i think you are doing very very well. You hang on there. xx


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