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.