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Lloyd G. Mandeville

Lloyd G. Mandeville

Who could imagine that losing your hearing could lead to an engineering degree? In 1992, Lloyd Mandeville was driving home from his work as a construction consultant.  Without any warning, he stopped hearing.  Doctors still don’t know what happened, but in a few seconds he lost 95% of his hearing.

Lloyd continued to work, but soon realized that his hearing loss was affecting his work.  So at age 50, when most people are thinking of retiring, he went back to school at the University of Alberta to become an engineer.

At first, Lloyd attended classes with people who were paid to take notes for him.  Soon though, they were replaced by an engineering solution called pocket talkers. With the pocket talker, Lloyd was able to use the hearing he had left.  The professor would wear a microphone and Lloyd wore a small receiver in his hear.  He could adjust the volume so he could hear everything the professor said and take his own notes.

Lloyd graduated from the Civil Engineering program in 2001.  He admits that at his age, it was hard to maintain the energy level required to study. “I enjoyed competing and surviving against the younger students and their intelligent minds though,” he admits. Despite being much older than the other students, Lloyd remembered lessons he had learned from his parents, growing up on a trap line in the Northwest Territories. “My parents worked hard and they put that work ethic into us.” Because he had completed most of his studies in high school by correspondence, he often had to work ahead and be very aware of deadlines so that he could finish his school work before going out hunting with his father.

The support of his wife and family, and also of the University’s Native Student Services were key to his success in engineering. “I would not have made it without them.  They are a great bunch of people.”

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