56 year old Colin, is one of many adults being supported by SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, an RIDBC service.
For environmental consultant and O’Connor resident, Colin Trinder, a cochlear implant has been life-changing.
“I lost my hearing quite suddenly following a trip to the Kokoda track in 2009,” said Colin. “I had some sort of adverse reaction to doxycycline medication prescribed for malaria prevention which induced Meniere’s syndrome causing tinnitus and vertigo episodes over a period of about two years.”
By the time the Meniere’s symptoms disappeared Colin had lost most of his hearing in his left ear.
“I initially got by with a hearing aid in that ear but by 2012 there was very little hearing remaining on that side. Then in September 2013, I suddenly lost most of my hearing in my right ear in the space of a couple of hours one evening while having a quiet dinner with friends.”
It wasn’t until Colin’s hearing deteriorated almost completely that he sought a specialist’s opinion regarding cochlear implantation.
“This is quite strange, but as a young public servant in the then Science and Environment Department in the very early 1980’s I actually took the minutes at an interview with the inventor of the cochlear implant device, Dr Graeme Clark, who was applying for a research grant for development of the technology. I’m pretty certain we gave him the grant!” said Colin.
“Jumping forward 35 years, I decided to explore the cochlear implant route for myself and did some research of my own about advances in cochlear implant technology and sought expert advice. I concluded that my only option was to pursue a cochlear implant if I wanted to stay functional in my kind of lifestyle.”
As soon as Colin’s cochlear implant was switched on, life changed.
“When the implant was switched on my first impression was that the sound was a little bit tinny but many words and sounds were immediately audible and recognisable to me. It was actually much better than I expected and within 24 hours sounded pretty natural,” said Colin. “The effect I immediately noticed was the instantaneous return of the ‘3 dimensionality’ of the soundscape – even in a quiet environment, that having hearing input from both sides gives me.
“I’ve had my cochlear implant for only about a month but I’ve tested it out in noisy bars and restaurants, group settings, boardroom meetings and auditoriums and I don’t think I have missed a word. I’m still learning all the functions of the accessories but I feel that my hearing comprehension is now about as good as a normal person again.”
Colin recommends that anyone struggling with their hearing should investigate the options available.
“I definitely would say that from my experience you don’t have to put up with being sidelined in conversations because of hearing difficulties – particularly in those social settings where the background noise is challenging. If you are struggling to get much assistance out of your hearing aids you should definitely consider a cochlear implant. For me the procedure was entirely painless and the effect way beyond what I really expected.”
For more information about cochlear implants or SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, visit ridbc.org.au/scic or call 1300 658 981.
RIDBC is Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and cochlear implant services for people with hearing or vision loss, supporting thousands of adults, children and their families, each year.
RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in the lives of children and adults with vision or hearing loss.