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Adult User Story

I remember when I first had my first implant programming session with you, and everything sounded very electronic, a bit like 'Donald Duck'. I was very unhappy with how things sounded, and thought to myself "do I really want to hear, if it sounds like this?" After many sessions and adjustments, things started to sound far more 'normal' and today; I am still astounded that a little electronic device can have such a huge difference.

I can now have telephone conversations fluently, listen to music, and audio books without any problem, I can pick up accents that 'normal' hearing people struggle with, and the ONLY time I have a problem is when there is a lot of background noise.

A while ago, I was invited to the Southampton sound and vibration centre in order to participate in a research project by a PhD student studying cochlear implants. The person involved thought I might have been 'cheating' and reading off a reflection on the wall for my answers! When she isolated me and re-took the tests I scored just as high as before, and she was quite amazed at how well I could hear with the implant!

One of the things that I think made a difference to how well I hear with the implant is the listening practice I did when I first got the implant. In fact I tried to force myself to stop lip-reading. I looked away from people who were talking to me to make sure I had no visual cues. I regularly practiced listening to audio books and eventually I started to understand what was being said. I constantly listened to the radio in until I could make out the words I was hearing. I can now listen fluently and understand a complete conversation from a person I have never met, without any need for lip-reading.

I recalled the implant user I met before I had my implant. I asked him to describe to me what the implant sounded like. He told me that the sound was different from hearing he had before his implant, and that music and peoples voices sounded robotic at first. In my experience the sound was very clear right from the beginning. I'm sure that the techniques that I undertook early on like stopping lip reading, listening to the radio and music made was a big advantage in my ability to hear. Although I don't want to give anybody false hope, I can happily say that a cochlear implant not only changed my life, but pretty much restored my hearing to 80-90% of what it was before when I'm listening in quiet environments.

To end it on a thank you note, I am now a qualified psychologist, and my life goes from strength to strength all thanks to the work you did with me all those years ago.

Back to My CI Story