Connect with Janet

  • Lives in: Worcestershire
  • Deafness cause: Deteriorating loss
  • System used: Nucleus 6

I was 7 when a routine school hearing test picked up a mild hearing loss in both ears, which gradually worsened so that by the age of 15 I was offered my first analogue hearing aid. I attended mainstream school without too much difficulty and went on to become a teacher. However, my teaching career was short-lived, as by this time my hearing had deteriorated to the extent where I found the classroom situation too stressful, even whilst wearing a hearing aid. Over the years my hearing continued to deteriorate and I finally progressed to wearing two digital hearing aids in the year prior to my implant as by then I had become totally reliant upon lip reading to supplement the sounds of speech.

I was offered an implant when I was 49 as by this time my hearing had reached the level at which I became eligible. For me, the results with the cochlear implant were very immediate and after the first 'switch on' I was re-hearing sounds that I had lost, such as the bubbling of water boiling in the saucepan and the rustle of newspaper pages being turned. A truly magical moment was discovering that I could hear when someone whispered in my ear, and for the first time in years I could hear speech without the constant strain of having to lip read.

The cochlear implant has brought me clarity and sheer quality of sound far beyond what any hearing aid could give and has boosted my confidence no end. My family were quick to comment upon the improvement in my speech and the fact that I now finish off the endings of words properly.

Ten years ago, I had stopped listening to the radio and using the telephone. Now I follow radio programmes with ease and even hear the traffic announcements. I can even use a mobile phone which is a wonderful new experience for me.

I love the fact that music has become an important part of my life again. Before, I could just hear the beat and had trouble making out whether there was a vocalist or not. Now I listen to all sorts of 'new' music, including orchestral, and quickly pick up tunes and even make out the words of some songs. My own singing voice has improved too!

Having a cochlear implant has really opened up my life again and allowed me to take advantage of so many new opportunities, particularly with my voluntary work for a local charity, which I had always wanted to do but never felt confident enough to undertake. I realise that not everyone will achieve the same results and deciding to have a cochlear implant is sometimes a very dif cult decision to make especially when there seem to be so many different aspects to consider. I hope that by sharing my own experience I will be able to show others what a considerable difference the implant has made to the quality of my life.

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