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“It can just make you depressed that you can see them all, they’re happily exchanging stories and you can’t get it” – Catherine Pile

During Hearing Awareness Week 2015, we should all take a moment to reflect on our ability to communicate. You don’t have to be severely or profoundly deaf to feel isolated from conversations. Use this week to look inside of yourself and seek help for your hearing difficulties.

In this ABC Radio National special, we follow the journey of Catherine Pile and her experience with the Cochlear implant. Unlike hearing aids which amplifies the sound waves, the Cochlear implant transduce sound to your brain by electrically stimulating the nerves in the cochlea via 22 electrodes that wraps around the basal part of the cochlea. It is able to give the implantee the sensation of sound by bypassing the damaged hair cells and going directly to the auditory nerves. The Cochlear implant is able to work because of tonotopicity of our auditory system.

Catherine’s story tells us how much work you must do in order for the Cochlear implant to be successful.  It takes a lot to retrain your brain to decipher the beeps as important speech cues and these different beeps together make words and sentences. But the fact we have had so many successful stories involving the bionic ear shows you how amazing our brain is. The research shows that kids fitted at a very early age, can potentially have near ‘normal’ speech and language development.

When there is success, the results can be amazing. As Stephen, Catherine’s husband commented, “she is a lot happier, she wants to go out”. This is the benefit restoring your hearing can do for you.

To finish up, here is another wonderful quote from Catherine about her experience with hearing loss and what hearing loss can do to you –

“you’ve lost your identity, you’ve lost more than your hearing, you’ve lost the person that you used to be”

To listen to the full show click here.

To read about this story click here.

Catherine and granddaughter Abbie. Source: ABC Radio National

Catherine and granddaughter Abbie. Source: ABC Radio National

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