Rob’s Story

April 3rd, 2009 by | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Rob and I both met each other through Facebook, and we often correspond to each other through our Facebook status, posts that we share on the News Feed, and messages.  He was formally a hearing aid user, but now has bilateral cochlear implants. He is a passionate advocate for cochlear implants and is a Cochlear™ Awarness Network volunteer in Australia. Here is Rob’s story:

I would like to share with you my journey through life being hearing impaired and now my new life as a bi-lateral recipient of Nucleus Freedom Cochlear Implants.  I have a severe/profound Sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. When I was born there were no hearing tests for babies so my parents had to work out whether my hyperactive behaviour indicated a hearing loss. It seems I was born deaf but was not diagnosed until I was at least 3 years old and was not fitted with bi-lateral hearing aids until I was 4 years old. This meant I was behind others in my age group in terms of language development. Throughout my schooling, I relied heavily on a small amount of residual sound using two hearing aids plus lip-reading. Coping in mainstream schools in normal hearing classes (primary and secondary) was a challenge. I felt isolated from peers and I only had additional support twice a week.  This was both good and bad.  It singled me out from the group, showing I needed help, but  at the same time, help wasn’t offered often enough. One of the biggest challenges has been dealing  with the demands of the ‘hearing establishment’. Going through university required a supreme effort even though I was lucky to get a little support.  Over the last few years I had heard about cochlear implants from friends. I met with my ENT Specialist and the wonderful audiologists at the South Australian Cochlear Implant Centre (SACIC) and we explored and discussed the benefits that a Nucleus Freedom cochlear implant would give me. The assessments demonstrated I would receive a significant improvement with an implant and this would make communication easier. I felt I had nothing to lose but everything to gain.   I received my first implant in 2007. My activation (switch-on) went really well and exceeded everyone’s expectations.  I was overjoyed and emotional, my hands trembled.  After living with my first implant for about 18 months, I decided I would benefit with an implant in my other ear and in late 2008, I had this operation. Once again the process was totally successful. I have had to get used to hearing from both sides and that has been a huge learning curve. The best things about the second implant have been restored detection of everyday sounds in the hearing environment, improved face-to-face communication and the ability to understand speech through hearing alone.  Before I had my implants, spending time with family and friends had been rewarding but exhausting. Now I have bilateral implants, I focus less on trying to hear and more on activities.  I have been writing an online ‘blog’ about bilateral cochlear implant journey.  You can visit my blog at http://rsdobson.blogspot.com/ .

1 Comment

June 3, 2009 at 9:21 pm

[...] Rob, a bilateral cochlear implant user from Australia, posted an adorable drawing of bilateral implants that was done by his three year-old son. Rob said: [...]