my hearing journey
I was born deaf with a profound sensorineural hearing loss. My parents soon discovered I didn’t seem to be picking up sounds and was diagnosed at 18 months old. The diagnosis wasn’t expected as there was no history of hearing loss previously in my family. I was then implanted on my right side. My request for a sequential implant was at first rejected due to the cut-off age for receiving a second implant. Thankfully our appeal was successful and although the appeal process took a long time, I was implanted on my left side at 23 years old.
While at school I had support from a teacher of the deaf (ToD) as well as receiving maths and languages assistance. This was really useful and I had continued support from a note taker while at university. Having access to these services made continuing my education and completing my master’s degree easier to achieve.
I became bilateral in June 2010 after receiving an implant on my second side and have been working full time since than at a university. Having two implants has made talking to groups of people easier then when I had one implant. I am really happy with my devices, although the hardest part is getting re-tuned, as people you know no longer sound the same! It takes me about a week to adjust to the new sounds.
The highlight of having my implants so far has been developing true voice confidence, including lots of public speaking, and learning to sing! I have played the clarinet for over 20 years and enjoy listening to a wide variety of music including jazz, folk, blues, and classical.
my role as a mentor
I believe I can inspire recipients and potential candidates to get the most out of their implants. I remember getting my first implant well, aged 13, and all the challenges, uncertainty, and practical difficulties that followed.
my top tip
Practise, practise, practise – it’s the only way to the Carnegie Hall! Try new and novel listening challenges such as your favourite radio station with a good pair of Bluetooth headphones. Do this little and often – with lots of breaks – and it will accelerate your hearing development.