My Hearing Journey
Thirteen years ago, aged 59, whilst at work, I spontaneously lost all hearing in my right ear, my right vestibular function and thus my balance and gained very loud, persistent tinnitus. I had a full-time job that was people oriented and a very busy social life, and it was very difficult to hear with only one functioning ear.
I explored every opportunity available to me at that time, which was limited. One night when listening to the ABC radio during Hearing Awareness Week, I heard an ENT Professor discussing cochlear implants for single sided deafness. I contacted her and, after investigation, was deemed suitable for implantation. There was no hesitation, I wanted to hear in stereo and not to have to keep repositioning myself around people to be able to hear what was going on. However, before that surgery went ahead, whilst in Europe for Christmas, I suddenly lost my hearing in my left ear as well. Right sided implantation went ahead a few months later, followed by the second implant three years later.
The most helpful advice I received was that hearing was possible, but results would rely on how much effort you put into rehabilitation.
Life with My Implant
Three and a half years after the first implant I am still learning. Hearing a bird call instead of an unidentifiable sound was great, and when I found I could plug my adaptor into the airplane screens and hear a movie on overseas trips was special. Lately I can participate at dinner conversations or in a group situation without looking to my husband for translation or positioning myself strategically. I still miss many things and when this frustrates me, I just take off the processors and remember what it was like before. The highlight has been being able to Skype with our daughter who lives overseas and listening to our grandchildren.
My Role as A Mentor
Being unable to hear anything at all, especially when you previously could, can be tough and for a long time I couldn’t get the information I needed, so I would like to help someone and make their journey easier.
My Top Tip
Just do it! It will be worth it.