33 Years of Happy Hearing
By Shirley Hanke
Leaving Royal Prince Alfred Hospital I was amazed at the roar of the traffic in Missenden Road. It was deafening! Plastic bags that I found so soft had the most horrid cracking noise. I was experiencing forgotten sound and was constantly asking what did I just hear?
My hearing range improved gradually. I recognise many sounds and my speech is clearer and I experienced a marked improvement in lipreading. I still combine lipreading and hearing and with failing sight rely on my CIs even more.
It was exciting times.We didn’t give a thought that we were making history – we were the first deaf people in the world to hear. Our contributions to the CI program helped its development and thousands have benefitted from our efforts. It was reported worldwide by the media and television.
In 2004 I had my second implant. We didn’t know what to expect as this ear hadn’t been used for 67 years. One audiologist told me it would have been stimulated by the other ear and she was right. No problems from this two hour operation. I went home the following morning with a strip of sticking plaster covering the incision behind my ear.
The two CIs work well together and I could locate the sound.
Each new sound processor is an improvement. The first Nucleus (now Cochlear) was primitive using 2 x 3A batteries compared with the streamline model of today.
Also I give credit to my husband, Paul, who died suddenly in 2007. We had been married for 53 years. His tremendous support and patience was such a help.