Sue Walters is the President of CICADA AUSTRALIA and one of the founding members.
Sue’s hearing loss & cochlear implant story
Sue lost her hearing and balance completely from meningococcal meningitis at the age of 22.
She received the first experimental cochlear implant in Sydney in 1984. And in 2005 she received her bilateral implant.
Having benefited so much, Sue is enthusiastic about working with others to share the joy of sound. So if follows that she would love to see active CICADA peer support groups all across Australia. This would help people share their stories and build awareness of cochlear implants. And of course to help others to achieve their best hearing.
As a result of all her advocacy work Sue was awarded OAM on Australia Day 2019.
Sue is deeply grateful for the camaraderie and dedication of the Sydney CICADA group that provides such a warm welcome at all their social gatherings and a valuable network of advocates.
Judy Cassell is the Secretary of CICADA Australia Inc.
Overnight Judy lost hearing in her right ear. It was the result of an ear infection on the second day into a three months long service leave holiday in Europe. Twelve months later hearing in her left ear started to deteriorate. Six months later she was completely deaf.
Following her implant operation in 1996, she joined CICADA. She found great support from its members, particularly in the important early days.
It has become like a large family to her and working on the committee gives her the opportunity to give back for the miracle of hearing.
Chris Boyce is the Treasurer of CICADA Australia Inc.
Alan Jones is a former President of and foundation member of CICADA AUSTRALIA. Ever since he has been actively involved in the support group; specifically warmly welcoming guests to social gatherings and sharing his personal implant experience.
Alan’s hearing loss and cochlear implant journey
Alan started losing his hearing in his early teens and wore hearing aids. Although by the age of 50 these were no longer helpful.
Following an article in the Australian Women’s Weekly in 1984, on Bill Gibson’s successful implantation of Sue Walters, Alan’s wife Robyn urged him to investigate. After extensive testing, Alan proceeded with surgery in August 1985. Despite uncertain outcomes and no formal habilitation program, he resumed a relatively normal life. Thereafter, in 1999, he opted to have a bilateral implant.
Bill Gibson Biography
Since helping found CICADA Australia Inc, Alan has contributed many great ideas including proposing the Bill Gibson Biography project. Indeed, CICADA enthusiastically took this on as a way of sharing the story of Bill Gibson’s pioneering work from which we have all benefited.
The resulting book, researched and written by Tina Allen, was launched by CICADA AUSTRALIA in 2017.
Alan is deeply grateful to SCIC (now NextSense) and Cochlear Ltd for the dedication they have shown in giving him great outcomes and a greatly enhanced family, business and social life.
My first Cochlear implant was in June 2014 and my other implant was done in June 2016. They were both Nucleus 6. In 2020 I upgraded both to Nucleus 7.
My main interest is to help other people who are thinking about Cochlear implants. And helping Cochlear implant people to overcome any difficulties that they may have.
I am able to be contacted through Admin.
Cicada Committee Member Biography: Anne Dernow
Anne was born with no measurable hearing in the right ear, and mild hearing loss in the left ear. By the time Anne was seven years old, hearing loss in the left ear had become severe-profound. Hearing aids were useful for the left ear, but not for the right ear, through school years and early adulthood. Anne supplemented her verbal and written communication through Signed English and Auslan.
Exploratory surgery was conducted in 1986 to try to find a reason for Anne’s persistent deafness in the left ear. The surgeon found a fistula in the ear and patched it over, advising Anne and her family that there was no way of knowing whether Anne’s hearing would improve, deteriorate further or become stable at the level it was then at.
Anne experienced complete left ear deafness and partial hearing resurrection in 2004 (due to a common cold) and again in 2006 (cause unknown, even with another exploratory surgery done to try to find the cause).
In 2007, while considering whether or not to receive a cochlear implant, Anne was referred to CICADA by an audiologist for advice and to meet people who already had one or two implants, to discover potential knowledge, benefits, skills and experiences that could be gained by possibly having cochlear implants. Anne quickly decided to join CICADA and the cochlear implant community and became a CICADA committee member.
In 2008 Anne received a cochlear implant for the right ear and continued to use a hearing aid for the left ear. When hearing aids were no longer helpful, Anne received a cochlear implant for the left ear in 2016.
Anne enjoys providing support and sharing her experiences with cochlear implants.
Geoff Turville is a CICADA Australia Inc committee member
In 2004 he was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. As a result, a gradual hearing loss progressed. Geoff was using a single hearing aid from 2006 until 2016 when he lost all hearing in his left ear.
In early 2019 Geoff started to investigate Cochlear implants and, after a few tests and questionnaires, was accepted by SCIC Gladesville (now NextSense) as a suitable candidate for an implant. Geoff’s implant date was 6th February 2020 and his “switch on” was 2 weeks later. It was a game changer for him, his family and his social life. He could again hear his grandchildren (often too loud) and re-join conversations over dinners without having to ask the speaker to repeat themselves or ask his wife what was said.
Geoff hopes to be able to pay forward to others some of the support he received during the early stages of his cochlear implant journey.
Neville Lockhart wrote and edited the Guide to Hearing Loss and Hearing Solutions which can be downloaded here >
Neville’s hearing loss
As a toddler in Scotland, Neville’s hereditary deafness was quantified as total in the left ear and about 70% in the right ear. With hearing aids, years of speech therapy and continuous support from family, teachers and classmates, he progressed well at normal schools. In his mid-teens there was a sudden loss of the residual hearing along with tinnitus.
Neville relied on lip-reading through the rest of school and at Strathclyde University. He undertook extensive library work to compensate for what he missed aurally. He achieved a B.Sc in Chemistry followed by a Ph.D in the solid state physics area. In both cases hear earned the university medal and prize for top graduate. A teaching fellowship at the University of Nottingham followed, including research on electrical processes in biological materials.
Travelling to Australia in 1974, Neville joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). He progressed to senior research levels through the different fields. These included textiles, environment, coal and minerals, reflecting changing government R&D needs. Moving into management of R&D and technology, Neville became strategy and business development manager for the Division of Energy Technology. He lead the Flagship Program “Energy Transformed” addressing efficiency and greenhouse issues in the generation, transport and energy end-user sectors. Neville was fortunate that technology and personal assistants helped him cope with the increasing communication requirements. Facsimile machines, followed by mobile phone texting and emails made working so much easier.
Neville’s cochlear implant journey
In 2002 Neville took early retirement. As a result of political and relocation issues, not deafness. After his retirement, Neville visited Prof Graeme Clark in 1983. He was advised he “heard” extremely well and it would be better to come back in 15-20 years when the cochlear implant was hopefully much better developed.
Neville kept up to date, including attending CICADA functions and talking to many implant recipients. With the support of his wife Judy and the children and grandchildren, Neville proceeded with the then newest cochlear implant (Freedom) in 2005 through SCIC and Prof Bill Gibson.
What a noisy world! But after 6 months he was achieving over 90% in sentence recognition tests in quiet without lip-reading, well above expectations for someone totally deaf for over 40 years. While he still has difficulties in noise and with the phone, the implant has been a great success, both socially and in work for CICADA. Neville was a committee member for 9 years. He has been instrumental in developing articles for the national newsletter and website over the past 15 years.
Until the recent relaunched website, for many years Pat looked after the CICADA Australia Inc. website. Formerly she was a website designer and computer support staff member at La Trobe University IT Division. Prior to that she worked in the Finance Division as an accountant and IT support. This followed many years of accounting in the private sector. She has also created websites on deafness, photography and manages a number of smaller websites,
Pat has been hearing-impaired for over 70 years. Profoundly so for the last 20 years. She received her first cochlear implant in February 2014 and the second in February 2016.
Her big passions were photography and motorbikes, not that she rides anymore. She says its too dangerous with the proliferation of mobile phone use on the roads. When Pat was much younger she spent three years travelling and working overseas, one of the best times in her life.
My name is Moira Kirby. I live in Newcastle, NSW and am the Newcastle CICADA Coordinator.
Before receiving my first cochlear implant, 8 years ago, my hearing declined rapidly over the preceeding 10 years. Hearing aids wen’t enough.
I worked full time as a medical receptionist, which I felt helped me retrain my brain to work with the implant after switch-on.
In September 2021 I received my second implant. The efficiency of this technology has helped me enormously to come from deafness darkness to hearing sunshine. Consequently, I no longer think of myself as being deaf.
Because I feel so passionate about Cochlear Implants, when approached to co-ordinate a CICADA support group I didn’t hesitate. I love to help and guide participants with information as well as telling my journey and experience. So they can make informed decisions.
My cochlear journey began in 2010 when I had my switch on at Newcastle SCIC.
I had been wearing hearing aids since the age of 5 but my hearing deteriorated more and more as a teen and then as an adult. I was working as an itinerant hearing teacher, but I was finding it difficult ( and extremely tiring!) to support these students in the classroom as I was having difficulty myself understanding the teachers / assembly announcements etc.
It did take me several years to take the plunge primarily because I was concerned about the loss of my residual hearing. At first, the first weeks and months of having my implant, I found it very challenging. All of a sudden there were so many stimulating new sounds to learn. It gave me brain overload!! In addition I found it difficult to get time to undertake the regular auditory training and get regular support to complete auditory training skills.
However today, I am onto my fourth processor and have recently been fitted with the Kanso2. I have been enjoying the freedom if offers. Particularly because I no longer worry about entering a noisy environment or taking phone calls. As a result my confidence and independence has increased dramatically.
Without a doubt my Cochlear journey has totally changed and enriched my life. It is undoubtedly worth the challenges and trials that came following the switch on. Read Robyn’s full story here >
Helen, who lives in Bathurst NSW, was born deaf but diagnosed with deafness at 2.5 years old. She lived with severe vertigo until age 14 although her vertigo returned with worsening balance at age 36.
Helen used silver aluminium body worn hearing aids during childhood which were upgraded to behind-the-ear hearing aids when she was 21. She received her first cochlear implant in 1993 and second implant in 2019.
Education began with Opportunity Deaf Class, then mainstream education in Bathurst and she is now learning Australian Sign Language (Auslan).
Helen plays six different sizes of recorders in ensembles, quartet, trios, duets and solo.
Helen received Regional Deaf Woman of the Year award circa 1992-3 and mentors Australian and American Facebook groups for parents of deaf and hard of hearing children. She is happy to talk to individuals and groups, keen to dispel myths and stigma around hearing loss.