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Mentor Elizabeth

  • Location: Vale of Glamorgan, United Kingdom
  • About ElizabethCochlear Implant User
  • Hearing Loss Type: Bilateral Hearing Loss
    Progressive Hearing Loss
    Postlingual Hearing Loss
  • Hobbies: Piano, Walking, Art, Poetry, Music

my hearing journey

I studied violin and piano at the Guildhall School of Music, London, and later worked as a freelance violinist and violin teacher in London. I used hearing aids for about 18 years, but as my hearing deteriorated they ceased to be of any benefit to me. Devastated, I had to abandon playing the violin and the piano. I was profoundly deaf for many years and desperate to have a cochlear implant (CI), which I received for my right ear in 2007.

life with my implant

My CI has transformed my life and given me great happiness. It has enabled me to come out of a silent world and to communicate again, especially through playing the piano. Being able to play once more is my greatest joy and consolation.

I was over the moon to hear sounds again when my implant was switched on. It took time for me to rehabilitate, but each day I was encouraged as my hearing improved.

Longing to make music again, it was the piano that became my redeemer.

At first, its sounds were so distorted I nearly gave up, but I persevered and the breakthrough came when I discovered that initially I could hear better when playing an electronic keyboard with its beautiful grand piano tone. However, now I am able to play an acoustic piano again.

Music is more complex than speech so it takes dedication and hours of practice. I combine all my abilities including sight, touch and musical training with how I hear now.

I love to play at hospitals, hospices, cafes, and events. I recently played a Chopin Nocturne at The Beats of Cochlear International Music Festival in Poland.

My CI makes socialising with family and friends easier and less stressful too and also keeps me safe when I am out and about. All in all, I would be utterly devastated without my CI.

my role as a mentor

I would like to encourage people who are profoundly deaf and especially try to help those who have a passion for music. I am happy to support anyone on their journey before and after implantation.

my top tip

Have high expectations but be patient. Delight in every small step, embracing each challenge as your listening skills continually improve.