Year implanted: 2015
Age when implanted: 64
Age when piece written: 67
Cause of hearing loss: sudden loss overnight caused by virus
I lost my hearing in my right ear overnight about seven years ago. My left ear was okay so I was able to manage but unfortunately the same thing happened to my left ear two years later.
At this point my consultant wrote to James Cook about having me assessed by the cochlear implant team. The referral was accepted and I went to see them. I asked lots of questions and was put at my ease.
I had to go through a series of tests. The tests of my balance were a bit of a laugh as they had me stand on a moveable floor and I kept falling off!
I also had a test called an ABR where they put little probes on the surface of my head to check how my brain was picking up sounds. The final test was the one that worried me – it was the scan to see if the implant (I call it ‘the pig’s tail’ as that is what the end of it looks like!) would fit into my cochlear.
I was really worried the scan would show it was not possible but ten months after losing my hearing I had my implant surgery. The implant was switched-on by Jen (one of the audiologists) four weeks later. It was fantastic – I could hear her talking to me.
Following the switch-on there were quite a few tuning sessions to help me hear better with the implant. My implant key worker was great, she talked me through things, helped me with my worries and answered my questions.
The implant has allowed me to interact more with my family and grandkids. It is so lovely to hear them laughing and talking and even fighting over toys. It has helped me to have more confidence.
The implant is very good but it does not replace your hearing. You can still have problems in crowded places or if there is more than one person talking. I often still have to lip read in these situations.
Despite these drawbacks, overall the implant is very good and it would be a lonely world without it. Even with the problems in background noise etc it is still a fantastic thing to have and I would recommend anyone to go for it.