Jean sings praises of cochlear implant
HEARING loss trapped Jean West in her own body for almost 25 years, but a cochlear implant returned her hearing.
"My hearing problem was going down and down, all the time," Mrs West said.
"You can't communicate with people because they are sick to death of repeating themselves.
"I was getting depressed and that's just not me."
She said she could not hear her grandchildren's voices and would feel isolated from her husband because it was so difficult to communicate.
Mrs West said she heard about cochlear implants and went to a Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre in Lismore to be assessed.
She said she then had an operation in Newcastle to have the implant installed.
"A lot of people are frightened about it, and I must admit I was too," she said.
Mrs West said the operation usually took a few hours and you could leave the hospital the next day.
She said the implant was then switched on back in Lismore.
"Once I was switched on it sounded very robotic, but I could understand what the doctors were saying," Mrs West said.
"The doctor sounded a bit like a Dalek actually.
"She didn't want to terminate me, which was fortunate."
Mrs West said her hearing was almost perfect with the cochlear implant.
"To me, it's an absolute blessing," she said.
She said she was given a special audio tape and book to help her get used to the implant and went to Lismore regularly to have the implant reprogrammed to suit her hearing.
"Frankly, you just get used to the different sound," Mrs West said.
"It takes getting used to, like wearing glasses.
"You have to have persistence.
"I think it is a big mistake for people to accept deafness."