Thanks to cochlear implants I can now hear my grandchildren
The birth of a grandchild is one of the sweetest experiences of growing older. But for Lynne Haynes, the arrival of her latest grandson was especially poignant – because she could hear him cry.
The 64-year-old Mackay, Queensland resident doesn't know when or how she lost her hearing – it could have been the scarlet fever and glandular fever she suffered as a child, a car accident she had as a teenager or the loud music she enjoyed. What she does know is that by the time her second child Jessica was born in 1979, there were concerning signs. "If Jess woke during the night I didn't always hear her," she says.
"It was about two years after Jess' birth that I decided to do something about my hearing loss," Lynne says. "It was then that I received my first set of hearing aids and boy was I amazed at the difference. I went back to work, life seemed to be great, communication became a lot easier," she recalls. "But over the years, as the children grew up, the hearing started to slip again. Conversations became tumbled, I would miss key words. I was frustrated and confused."
The greatest heartbreak was losing the communication with her children. "I lost so much conversation with them," the now 64-year-old Lynne recalls. "Eventually, probably through frustration, they would say 'It doesn't matter' and go off and play, but for me and for them that moment was lost. Or to see the embarrassment on their faces when in front of their friends I would make a silly comment because I misunderstood what had been said."
Everything changed in 2015 when Lynne and her husband Ted moved from Melbourne to Mackay. "I needed a hearing test to see if my hearing aids needed to be adjusted. It was the audiologist at Clarity Hearing Solutions, Michael Polkinghorne, a brilliant young man, who asked the question 'Have you ever considered a Cochlear Implant?'."
Thanks to that checkup and conversation Lynne's world changed in 2015 when she received her Nucleus 6 Cochlear Implant. “I've had my challenges,” she says. “Like any journey the road isn't always smooth. The love and support of family on the journey has been incredible.”
Since then she has gone from strength to strength. She says her Cochlear Implant gave her back her life. "I've gone back to work, working in a remote community as an aged care coordinator," Lynne says. "My confidence is back up where it used to be. Conversations around the family dining table are something I now actively join in. Also, we have a new grandson and I don't intend to miss any of his conversations like I did with the others.
"The first step in any journey into the unknown is the hardest. Look at it as an adventure into a world of hearing. Move out from the shadows and into the sunshine. Hold on tight for a wonderful road to hearing. The road may be a little bumpy, but the destination is so worth it."