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Laura’s Story

February 20th, 2010 by | Tags: | Comments Off

Laura has an extraordinary life as she triumphed over many obstacles including dealing with an infection that she could not fight off and caused the removal of an implant.  She has her own blog at Laura’s Medical Journey, which provides insightful stories of her life as a cochlear implant user and overcoming other medical issues.  Laura took a moment to write a story for this website about her life.

I was born hearing in August 1985 to a hearing and speaking family, mum, dad and brother. I started having problems from when I was a baby but no one realised till I was 2 yrs old and I wasn’t starting to talk. I underwent hearing tests and was given hearing tests. I also saw speech therapists as well.  I carried on with those until all that changed one Easter morning in 1993 when I woke up completely deaf at the age of 8

No one knew why I went profoundly deaf at 8 at the time. No doctor could give us an answer. My parents found out about a device that would help me hear again.  A cochlear implant

My parents found out more and they decided to get me implanted but the cost of the operation was £30.000 and they asked the NHS and our local council for help with funding. The council were unsure whether to fund the operation due to cochlear implants being controversial in 1993.

Finally, after newspaper front page article and clippings, the council and NHS agreed to fund the cochlear implant and any ongoing care I will need for it. On February 24th 1994, I went under the knife for 5 hours to get my cochlear implant in my right ear. I was in hospital for a week before I went home. I had my stitches out in hospital too.  I was switched on a month later with a box cochlear implant that I could clip onto my belt. When they switched me on, I was a bit shocked with awe hearing my mum’s voice even if it sounded a bit robotic at first and then I heard the audiologist’s voice asking me if I could hear and I chirped up saying “yes!” The drive home was so weird; I could hear the car and the traffic!

I was enjoying lots of different sounds from everywhere and anywhere till I was 15 when disaster struck and I had caught an ear infection. Although my cochlear implant doc did a lot of exploratory operations and tried everything from drops to packs to stop the infection, my implant had to be sadly taken out in November 2000. I was deaf for Christmas. I was very upset to hear I had lost it but was pleased to know that I could be implanted in my other ear.

3 months later I was implanted in my left ear , I spent less time in time in hospital this time just 3 days and had dissolvable stitches which  I was pleased about.

I still have the implant in my left ear and I am very grateful to have it. I love hearing and listening to music! I wear my CI 24.7 and only take it off for baths and bed and if I need to.

I found out the reason I went profoundly deaf in 2004 which was because I have a condition called Mitochondrial multiple DNA deletions which affects my energy genes. It was nice to know what caused my deafness as we never knew from the start.

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