Lynne

"I could hear the phone ring and I could hear my dad say ‘hello’. I cried with happiness as I hadn’t heard his voice in years and although I couldn’t hear all the conversation it was a start"

Lynne

Location: Northern Ireland
Hearing Improvement Type: Cochlear implant
Sound Processors: Cochlear Nucleus® 5

It was not until I was five years old that my family became aware that I had a slight hearing problem. My GP put this down to a bad case of measles and I got on with life. I managed at school most of the time by sitting at the front of the class and copying friends’ notes from time to time. By the time I reached GCSEs I had hearing aids fitted and although I went on to university, I was beginning to struggle more, especially when socialising in groups.

Then in 1997, I became very ill and was diagnosed with Epstein Syndrome – a disease which includes kidney failure as well as hearing loss. I was on dialysis for five years and avoided thinking about my hearing issues until after I had a kidney transplant in 2002. I tried to go back on my social work diploma course but my hearing had got worse and I had to give up. It was then I was referred to an ENT clinic and discovered that I was profoundly deaf and had been getting by for many years through lip-reading alone.

When the time came to choose my implant system, the Nucleus 5 with remote assistant was available and I decided to be fitted with this. Four weeks after the operation I was switched on and I felt both scared and excited. After a bit of a screechy noise in my ear, I could hear my husband and the audiologist and it was surreal. On the way home, when my husband used his mobile in-car speaker phone I could hear the phone ring and I could hear my dad say ‘hello’. I cried with happiness as I hadn’t heard his voice in years and although I couldn’t hear all the conversation it was a start.

It took a few visits to the clinic for the sound processor to be programmed and understanding people’s voices took a little longer and needed concentration. I’ve found the remote assistant very easy and I use it to change programmes in particularly noisy situations or at a concert.

The biggest impact the implant has had on my life is that my confidence and independence have finally come back. I don’t have to rely on other people to speak for me and I can enjoy family and social gatherings again. At work I don’t have to rely on a note taker anymore and I can play a part in team meetings as I’m not one step behind all the time. I only wish I’d known about cochlear implants sooner as mine has totally transformed my life. Waking up every day being part of the hearing world again is so precious.

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