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Georgina's Story

Hi I'm Georgina, I'm 20 years old, so it wasn't that long ago that I was a teenager. I have bilateral implants. I had my first implant at 4 and my second implant at 17. For my first implant my parents decided to go ahead but for my second implant I had to decide. I did discuss it with my friends and family but it was my decision. There were several things I was worried about: the operation, the recovery and whether my implant would be just as beneficial as my first.  I was apprehensive having the operation but it turned out not be a big deal. Two years on from having my second implant, it was the right decision for me, I've found that having my second implant has allowed me to miss less things said and these days I'm not as tired as I don't have to work as hard to listen.

My second implant initially sounded rubbish.  I couldn't recognise sounds or words it was just noise at first.  With help from the implant team tweaking my map and speech therapy exercises to practice it was soon useful. You get out what you put in, so if you want to get plenty from your implant you have to put plenty of effort in, listening and practicing - it soon becomes easier.

I don't let being deaf stop me achieving my goals, in fact I think it makes me unique but in a good way. Being deaf doesn't define me; often it's not about your ears it's just about you. I've always been upfront about my deafness and never been embarrassed. If I'm embarrassed other people will be embarrassed and avoid me. People are usually interested, so pick the right moment and explain to them what it's like - they might have to make sure you are looking at them, repeat things for you, wait if you need to change your batteries. You will be surprised at how it soon it doesn't matter at all and people accept those small things - they aren't big deals.

I'm currently at Manchester University studying Chemistry.  I'm living away from home for a year whilst I'm working at a company on an industrial placement.  The people I'm working for haven't met an implanted person before and I think they understand a lot more now about deafness and implants. It has been great and they accept me for what I bring to the job, I'm enjoying it and hope to do this kind of work when I finish my degree.

I've achieved what all my hearing friends have achieved and more than some. It might be a bit harder but I think people appreciate the extra effort you have put in and that has been a positive thing for me.

I've played on football teams, fenced and I'm a qualified lifeguard. I won a Young lifesaver of the year national award and went to London to get my award.  I was the only deaf person so that makes it more special to me. I couldn't believe it when I won the Graeme Clark Cochlear Scholarship in 2012, that was very special and I think it's fabulous that Cochlear are recognising how far young people can get with today's technology.

Work hard and enjoy the rewards if you want to be successful and good luck.

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