"The cochlear implant has helped me to get my life back again. I never expected to be able to return to my career, but since the implant I can carry on a normal conversation when meeting new people and I can use the phone quite well."
At the age of 56 I suddenly lost my hearing. Nobody is quite sure why this happened and the best guess is that it was caused by a virus. It was made worse by the fact that at the same time as losing my hearing, I also lost my balance and developed severe tinnitus. I could no longer work.
This was a big blow for an outgoing and active person like me and had a serious impact on my life. Except for family and a couple of close friends, I shut myself off from everyone and became very lonely and isolated. It felt almost like grief at the time and I was very low.
After months of trying different hearing aids which made little difference, I visited the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre and have never looked back.
I was quite nervous about the surgery but it really wasn’t a big problem. Five weeks after surgery I went for the switch on and whilst I was excited, I made myself think that things might be no better. What a shock I got – even though the sound was rather like Donald Duck speaking to start with, I could certainly hear again. My hearing then improved daily over the next few months.
Since the success of my implant I’ve had many special moments that would not have been possible without the implant. One of my first realisations that life was going to get much better again was in the car on the way back from my third program map adjustment when, for the first time for ages, I could have a conversation while travelling. I remember the exhilaration of experiencing a regained freedom.
I was upgraded from a Nucleus Freedom sound processor to the Nucleus 5 sound processor in March 2011 and this has also made a big difference. It’s much more compact and comfortable and with the Nucleus 5 I’m able to hear sound more clearly. I’ve even reached the point where I can recognise the difference in peoples’ voices and different bird song.
On my sound processor I have four customised settings for different listening environments and I find the ‘Focus’ setting a big help in crowded places where there is lots of background noise when I just want to speak to one person. I use the remote control all the time and constantly demonstrate its benefits to all my friends! As I travel quite a lot back and forth from the USA, being able to use an accessory cable to connect directly into the media outlet on the seat is also a renewed pleasure as I can watch movies again and listen to the music channel.
The cochlear implant has helped me to get my life back again. I never expected to be able to return to my career, but since the implant I can carry on a normal conversation when meeting new people and I can use the phone quite well. The sound processor has an in-built auto telecoil for phone and induction loop system use, which is a real benefit too. I’m also able to watch television quite easily and when I first got the implant I found that concentrating on what was on television actually helped me to develop my hearing again.
Most people don’t realise I have an implant, but I have to admit that I do tell them sometimes as I quite like to brag about what it has done to help me.
The best comment came from my mother who said to me one day, “You’re just like your old self again with that cochlear implant.” Need I say more!
The information on this website is for educational purposes, and is not intended to replace medical advice. Please consult a hearing healthcare professional to diagnose or treat a hearing or health problem.