When Sue heard the sound of rain on her roof for the first time in many years, she knew her decision to get a cochlear implant had been the right one.
Now in her 70s, Sue’s teenage years were spent enjoying live music, and she vividly remembers waking one morning to the sound of ringing in her ears. Her hearing loss progressed over the following years until she found it increasingly difficult to work or socialise.
I began to feel quite isolated and disliked going anywhere groups of people gathered... I wasn’t able to watch television comfortably and even phone calls were difficult.
While she wore hearing aids in both ears, her hearing had deteriorated to the point that, despite loving her job, she felt retiring early from her role as a surgical ward clerk at her local hospital in regional NSW was necessary.
After a visit to her audiologist, he suggested she might want to consider a cochlear implant in her right ear, which had more profound hearing loss, and referred her to NextSense.
Sue had little knowledge of cochlear implants and had not considered it previously.
Never in my wildest dreams did it occur to me that a cochlear implant was an option.
Following a series of tests, Sue was confirmed as a suitable candidate for an implant and accessed surgery through our centre in the Northern Rivers region.
Just 10 months later she returned to the local hospital she had worked at for so many years to have her cochlear implant surgery. Local access to surgical services and follow-up care made the process easy for Sue.
My hearing took a giant leap forward very quickly following surgery. Not only was the hearing restored in my ear with the cochlear implant, but my hearing aid in the other ear was paired with the implant.
Through Bluetooth technology, Sue enjoys watching television again and making phone calls from her smartphone, which are both connected to her hearing devices.
‘I have the joy of being able to communicate with my four grandchildren and listen to my husband play and sing with his ukulele group’, she says.
Sue is now loving her retirement and spends her time tending to her garden, growing her own vegetables, fishing and exploring Australia in her caravan.
Would she do it all again given the chance? ‘Absolutely’, she says. ‘For me it has been—quite literally—life-changing.’