April 2019 WMSN Fox47 Madison and Wisc News

It's the little things in life we so often take for granted. Fall River resident Kate Deakin is a living example of that. "Listening is one of the greatest gifts we have," Deakin said. Deakin has had problems with her hearing ever since she was a little girl. She never had her hearing tested until she turned 24, after she had her second daughter. "I was missing out on too much with my family. I was very depressed. I was very isolated," Deakin said. Deakin failed a hearing test and started using hearing aids. But she said those hearing aids only amplified sound, and didn't clarify words. She said she had to get her hearing aids updated to more powerful ones every two years. Deakin said she got used to it.

It wasn't until Deakin watched her now son-in-law get down on one knee and ask Deakin's daughter to marry him that she knew something needed to change. Deakin said she couldn't hear any of the words being said during the proposal. "It was such a happy time and he did it so romantically and I was there. I saw it. But it was all in echoes and muffles," Deakin said.

After learning about a cochlear implant from her audiologist, and receiving words of encouragement from her family to get it, Deakin had the surgery.

Kate Deakin"I had nothing to lose," she said.

Although she was hesitant that it wouldn't work, she said at first "it was like R2D2 Star Wars, and then after a week, everything became crystal clear.” Deakin started hearing sounds that many people who have good hearing don't notice. "I was outside and a leaf was blowing across the street. I didn't know what it was. I just heard it. And then I realised, I can hear a leaf," she said.

Deakin also said she would call her husband for sounds she didn't recognise, like her dog's paws hitting the patio and the sound of bacon sizzling on the stove. "It's taken away so much depression and so much isolation in my life," she said. Deakin said being able to hear made her more outgoing. Before the implants, she said she would sit in a corner at family gatherings, try to not engage in long conversations with her family members because she simply couldn't hear them. She felt alone. "Now that I can hear the words, I belong again," she said.

After getting used to the implants, Deakin was ready for the moment she knew she couldn't miss hearing: her daughter's wedding. "It was more than just hearing. I could feel what they were saying to each other," Deakin said as she described her daughter's and son-in-law's vows. "I could hear the different expressions in their voices. I cried because that was the moment I really realised my cochlear surgery was successful."

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Here is a link to Deafblindness support and information.
They are based in Western Australia and supported by Senses Australia.

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