Lara was fitted with her first cochlear implant in her right ear at five years of age. For Aimee, this was a game changer. “Another mother of a child with cochlear implants said to me, ‘just wait until you see the difference,’ and she wasn’t wrong. Almost immediately, we saw a massive jump in her speech.”
Samantha explains that while it can take time to have full access to sound with cochlear implants, in Lara’s case it took just two weeks. “Once she had access to sound, her speech began developing rapidly – it’s clear that her hearing was improving.
With her hearing aids, she could hear around 30% of single words. With her first implant, this jumped to 80% quickly, and today, with her bilateral implants, she’s reached 100% in sentences.”
When Lara began primary school, RIDBC continued to support the family, working with Aimee to ensure Lara could make the most of her hearing.
For some a unilateral cochlear implant is best, but that is not the case for all recipients. After the success of the first implant it was determined that a second implant could help Lara have even better access to sound.
Bilateral implants allow the brain to work in its natural state, hearing through both ears and can make it much easier to pick up speech and determine where sound is coming from.
“I was really keen to get her the second implant,” says Aimee. “I knew it would make hearing so much easier for her, and it really did.”
Lara can now not only hear her teammates and officials on the field, but also build stronger connections and socialise with her teammates off it. According to Samantha, increased confidence is a common outcome for recipients. “Access to sound through cochlear implants can help people to build confidence in themselves, at home, in the classroom and in social settings.”