Connect with Liz
- Lives in: Kent
- Deafness cause: Scarlett fever leading to a deteriorating loss and Menieres Disease
- System used: Bilateral Nucleus 5
My hearing problems began at the age of eight, when a bout of scarlet fever left me with mild hearing loss. I went through school without any aids, but on starting my teaching career, the partial deafness was picked up at my medical examination and I began to wear a hearing aid. Over the years my hearing deteriorated and I progressed from one to two ever more powerful hearing aids, which were never sufficiently effective for me to continue my teaching career. My hearing had deteriorated to 30 per cent and I applied for, and was given, a Hearing Dog to alert me to the electronic sounds that I was unable to hear.
An audiologist in the ENT department suggested that I look into a cochlear implant and 18 months later my left, worse ear was implanted. Though I had been warned that the outcome of implanting the worse ear - which had virtually no natural hearing - was likely to be less successful than implanting the better right ear, I did not feel I could risk surgery on my better ear.
After the enormously positive impact of the first implant, I felt it was then worth taking a chance and having the other ear implanted as I no longer faced the risk of total loss of hearing were it to fail. I was told there was no public funding available and in spite of the high cost, I decided to go ahead and pay for my second implant two years after the first.
The first implant seemed to me like a miracle and after a short period of adjustment I was achieving about 65% in the speech test, and the sounds I was hearing were much as I remember them from my hearing days.
After the switch on of the second implant, I was truly amazed at the results. The sound was clear, albeit a bit like Mickey Mouse! But, on the way home from the clinic I could hear every word on the car radio and I can't tell you how elated I felt.
And, after not being able to use a phone for 10 years, I could now use a phone and even a mobile! Whilst my mobile helps me to feel safe and in touch during any emergency when I'm out of the house, using the home phone again has totally transformed my life. I can talk to friends, make arrangements, and run the charities that I'm involved in. Being able to talk spontaneously on the phone is very special.
Having two implants has really helped me in my everyday charity work, running meetings, giving talks and sharing information. And, it has also considerably enhanced my enjoyment of music too, which is wonderful.
I love sharing information with other people, and just as I shared my love of physics as a teacher, I now share my experiences of cochlear implantation and my experiences of owning a Hearing Dog. If I've achieved enjoyment from something in life I want others to benefit too.
I tend to reassure people about the surgery as well as talking about the tremendous improvements in hearing that I've achieved. Cochlear implants are the difference between awareness of sound and hearing it, versus the need to lip read and then hear the sound.
“I tend to reassure people about the surgery as well as talking about the tremendous improvements in hearing that I've achieved. Cochlear implants are the difference between awareness of sound and hearing it, versus the need to lip read and then hear the sound."