My cochlear implant story begins in 2010 when I had my switch on at Newcastle SCIC.
I started wearing hearing aids at the age of five. Yes, those super-duper, you-beaut “transistor radio hearing aids”. The ones with long cords I had to wear in a kind of “bra” designed and made by my mother. But my hearing continued deteriorating through my teens and into adulthood.
Using the phone and hearing conversations in noise was a struggle and was relying mostly on lipreading. I was working as an itinerant hearing teacher. But I was finding it difficult (and extremely tiring!) to support students in the classroom. I was having difficulty myself understanding the teachers/assembly announcements etc.
Taking the cochlear implant plunge
It did take me several years to take the plunge. I was concerned about the loss of my residual hearing. The catalyst: attending my eldest son’s farewell assembly in year 12. I couldn’t understand most of what was being said. When my son was mentioned, and a funny story was told about him I was saddened that I could not hear or understand the story and share in this moment with him.
Six months later, following my surgery I was able to attend his passing out parade from the Navy. Not only did I hear every award, presentation and speech, but I was answering questions from people who didn’t hear things!! It was a special time that left me with totally no doubt that I had made the right decision.
The first few months
I found the first few weeks and months with my implant very challenging. So many stimulating new sounds to learn gave me brain overload!! It was difficult to get time to undertake the regular auditory training and to get regular support to complete auditory training skills ( Ironic I know as I had spent many years insisting students undertake regular auditory training and providing it for them)
After just a few months with my implant, it was a shock to learn of the worldwide recall of the internal implant I have. However, this did not mean I had to return to have my implant removed, just that they would not be implanting that internal implant in future. Thankfully for the past twelve years, all has been well, and I have had no issues.
Fast forward to today
I am onto my fourth processor and recently had the Kanso2 fitted. I’ve been enjoying the freedom it offers.
The Mini Mic2, the TV streamer, I love for the clarity of the phone connectivity. I love to use the various settings on my processor when working in noise and really love the forward focus setting especially when out for coffee or dinner or in other noisy places where I would like to continue a conversation.
Entering a noisy environment or taking phone calls is no longer a worry. This has increased my confidence and independence dramatically. I am able to connect to university lectures and participate. listen to the TV even in another room in the house and one of the most awesome benefits for me was hearing a conversation without looking at a person or even with my back turned.
Without a doubt, my Cochlear implant journey has totally changed and enriched my life and is worth the challenges and trials that come following the switch-on.
To read about other people who have shared their cochlear implant story here >