June 2017 Cochlear

Student Rebecca Livesey from Altrincham is the winner of the £6,000 2017 Cochlear™ UK & Ireland Anders Tjellström Scholarship Award for outstanding students who have overcome hearing loss. Rebecca, 19, who has just finished her first year of Bioengineering with a year in industry was born without both external ear canals, a condition known as bilateral atresia. Like many children with atresia, Rebecca also had microtia, an outer ear malformation. As a result, she had a conductive hearing loss that could have severely delayed her development.

Rebecca’s treatment began when she was 3 months old with a Baha headband designed for infants and very young children before they’re old enough for an implant. At the age of 7, she was implanted with her first Baha system, Rebecca recalls her first experience of the Baha sound processor, "I remember the day I got my first Baha, once the Audiologist had fitted the Baha he asked my mum to take me for a short walk around the hospital to acclimatise. My mum was a little worried because I was very quiet but when she asked me what my Baha was like I turned to her and replied - it’s like magic.” "Two years later I had a second Baha giving me hearing in both ears for the first time in my life. Without a doubt, having Baha fitted has changed my life. People are often surprised when they find out that I wear Baha as they are unaware that I have any hearing difficulty. The sound quality has allowed me to pursue hobbies such as studying Piano and Violin.

My Baha have enabled me to be confident in social situations and as a public speaker. It has given me the chance to take on leadership positions such as my role as a National Citizenship Service Graduate mentor, a young leader at my local Brownie pack and as a tutor at Explore Learning. All of these positions have helped me grow as a person and given me much enjoyment."

Rebecca attended mainstream school, and with the support of family, friends and hearing healthcare professionals at the Salford Royal Hospital Audiology Department - as well as lots of hard work and determination – achieved excellent exam results before continuing to advanced education. On hearing that she had won the award, Rebecca said "I am so excited to have been honoured with this award, having two Baha has changed my life and now hopefully this scholarship will help me to give the same to others by helping me with my Bioengineering degree. The people at Cochlear have already given me so much by creating the hearing aids which have helped me to become the person I am today, I am incredibly grateful that they have chosen to continue helping me through my studies."

Stuart Thomas, General Manager adds, "At Cochlear, our mission is - we help people hear and be heard. We empower people to connect with others and live a full live. We help transform the way people understand and treat hearing loss and we innovate and bring to market a range of implantable hearing solutions that deliver a lifetime of hearing outcomes. The scholarship is a great way to demonstrate our commitment to this mission and recognises outstanding academic success as well as Cochlear’s ideals of leadership and humanity. It is a great achievement to receive the award and we are extremely proud to honour Rebecca. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for her."

A support team of hearing healthcare professionals from the Salford Royal Audiology Department attended the ceremony. Gemma Jones, Professional and Operational Lead for Audiology, said ‘Salford Audiology is incredibly proud of Rebecca’s achievements and we are honoured to share this celebration with her. It is wonderful to see one of our patients being awarded this great opportunity. We wish Rebecca every success with her future studies and chosen career’.

The Anders Tjellström Scholarship Award is a unique award open to Baha System recipients in the UK & Ireland. Awarded by Cochlear, this scholarship has been set up to help fund recipients’ university studies. The UK award was established in 2014 in honour of Dr Anders Tjellström to thank him for his lifelong pursuit of finding a solution for people with hearing loss and his pioneering work in the field of bone conduction hearing implants.

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