Life with a Cochlear Implant
After rapidly losing her hearing in her late 50s, Moira says her bilateral cochlear implants have “pulled her out of a world of listening darkness, and into listening sunshine”, and that she can now get back to doing all the things she loves most.
Moira noticed she was losing her hearing when she was working as a medical receptionist in 2011. Following a diagnosis of mild, steeply sloping to profound hearing loss, Moira began using a hearing aid in her left ear.
Although it was beneficial at first, over time, Moira observed that her hearing aid was no longer providing her with the support she needed to navigate her work and daily life.
“All of a sudden, my hearing just deteriorated. And I found after 18 months, hearing aids weren’t doing anything,” she says.
After being assessed by a NextSense audiologist and identified as a suitable candidate for a cochlear implant in her left ear, Moira was referred to an ear, nose, and throat surgeon.
One of the first questions Moira asked was: would the implant stop her from doing any of the activities she enjoys?
“When the surgeon was speaking to me about having the implant, I said, ‘But can I still have my haircut? Can I still colour my hair? Can I still go swimming?’” says Moira.
After discussing her questions, Moira was reassured that her implant wouldn’t hold her back from doing the things she loves, and, in 2013, Moira received her first cochlear implant, retaining a hearing aid in the other ear.
“When I got my first cochlear implant, some things sounded different—that’s something I had to get my head around. In the beginning I relied a lot on the hearing aid as it took time to re instruct the brain that my other ear was now able to hear,” she explained.
While it was an adjustment, the implant became key to enabling her to stay in the workforce and retire on her own terms. It also allowed her to engage in new hobbies that were previously hindered by her hearing loss—such as playing the piano again.
As her hearing deteriorated in her right ear, and a hearing aid was no longer providing the assistance she needed, in 2021, Moira decided it was time to receive a second implant in her right ear.
Since receiving bilateral implants, Moira has worked hard to re-educate her brain and adjust to the new sounds. Her hearing is now the best it has been in decades.
“I have come out of a world of hearing darkness, and into a world of listening sunshine!” says Moira.
Moira is taking full advantage of all the latest features and benefits of her devices. She uses several accessories including a portable microphone, and adjusts her cochlear implant’s speech processor settings based on the environment.
“I can change the scanning to suit a group conversation, or if I am talking to someone one-on-one in a noisy café, I can set it so that it blocks out background noise,” she says. “My favorite thing is being able to link my cochlear and mobile phone through Bluetooth—now I can have ‘normal’ conversations on the phone.”
Moira is so passionate about the positive impact cochlear implants can have on recipients’ lives that she volunteers her own time to answer questions from cochlear implant candidates and recipients.
“I wanted to help people understand more about cochlear implants. I wanted them to understand what they were about so that they could make a decision,” she says.
Outside of her volunteer work, Moira has been putting her newfound hearing to good use, learning basic Greek language skills for her upcoming Greek holiday.
“I look forward to picking up a bit more Greek [language], listening to Greek music, visiting the sacred sites, and just doing Zorba dancing everywhere I go,” says Moira.