Felicity Bleckly

Location: Australia
Birthdate: 1951
Age at Implantation: 52 & 58
Hearing Loss Type: Childhood hearing loss (Measles)

Piano was my first love. For 14 years I took lessons, practising often four hours a day until I reached Grade 7.

My deafness was first diagnosed at 16, but I did not believe it. I left school, started work and went to college where I studied Applied Arts teaching with piano performance. Music was a big part of my life. 

I joined the college choir but, my hearing loss first impacted on my life when I was asked to leave the choir because I could not always keep pitch. At the time all I felt was disgraced. 

Tinnitus became my constant companion at 18. I visited many specialists for a cure for these other worldly sounds. I felt frightened and I feared deafness. The specialists gave me no hope, predicting I would lose all hearing by 20.

But being young I continued with my dream—to learn the piano and became a piano teacher. By the time I was 29 (1980) I had completely lost hearing in my left ear with my right ear working at only 50%. 

I still worked in the music industry, demonstrating and selling pianos and organs, playing in shopping centres and concerts. My large repertoire came in handy when I played easy listening dinner music in restaurants and hotels. 

During my time in the music industry when I won 'Rookie of the Year' in 1981 my prize was this beautiful piano. I vowed to keep it for life. I played for hours always dreaming about achieving more. 

I lost the tinkly sounds of the high pitches first. I gave up teaching and slowly I stopped playing as all sound died. By the time I was 35 I was profoundly deaf and even with the help of a hearing aid I could no longer understand television, radio or movies and parties were hell. I had become isolated. 

When I lost my job I made the heart rending decision to sell my beloved piano. It seemed my dream had become my nightmare. 

But when I was 52 and had been living deaf for many years I had a Cochlear Implant and within a few minutes of processor activation I was listening to sounds and understanding speech, things which I thought had been lost to me forever. 

Within a few months I was listening to music and my husband bought me a new piano—equally as beautiful and loved as the one I had been forced to sell. With my Cochlear implant I got my life back.

Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advise on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. 

Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.