my hearing journey
I became profoundly deaf at five months old after being diagnosed with meningitis. I needed two hearing aids but was still able to attend mainstream school with a hearing support team. I began looking into cochlear implantation when I was 11 to 12 years old but I didn’t feel ready to leave my hearing aids behind. Then, as a teenager, I noticed I couldn’t hear through my right ear and I stopped wearing my hearing aid. That’s when I revisited the potential of a cochlear implant (CI), which I received at the age of 19.
life with my implant
My implant has given me access to sound again. My family have commented on improvements in my speech and this has continued to develop over time. Having my CI has helped me grow in confidence and has made it much easier for me to speak to small groups and at meetings, which I have to do as part of my job in healthcare.
I wasn’t prepared for the silence that followed my surgery. I struggled with this until I was switched on a few weeks later. Initially, noises were difficult to understand. Everything sounded different with the hearing aids, which was strange at the beginning. It took me 12 to 18 months to adjust to new sounds and music and it still takes extra time to process conversations in large groups, but I’m hoping this will improve with practice.
Unfortunately, I experienced a device failure a few years ago, which has made me appreciate the benefits my CI brings to my everyday life. I have now been successfully re-implanted and can hear more sounds than before.
my role as a mentor
I am very grateful for my cochlear implants and want to share my experiences, but also my euphoria. I hope to be able to support and advise those people who are even before the decision CI yes or no, who are still uncertain or have the questions.
my top tip
My top tip for anyone considering a hearing implant is, be open and talk to as many people as possible because everyone’s experiences are different and it’s helpful to try to establish realistic expectations.
If you’re a new CI user, be patient when adjusting to all the new sounds, learn to love your new hearing world and don’t expect too much early on.