For 29 year old Canberra resident, Heidi Waddell, who works as a policy officer for the Department of Industry and Science, a cochlear implant proved life changing.
“I got my first hearing aid when I was two and a half,” said Heidi. “As I got older, my hearing deteriorated. It was scary. I remember feeling very vulnerable. Unfortunately I wasn’t a candidate for a cochlear implant, so the best option was to get a stronger hearing aid for my right ear. However that feeling of vulnerability never went away.”
When Heidi moved to Canberra in 2009 she was in a bicycle accident.
“I hit my head on the road,” said Heidi. “I was scared that I would lose my hearing. It was then that it was suggested I could get a cochlear implant in my left ear and I was referred to SCIC Cochlear Implant Program in Canberra. The staff were fantastic, answering the hundreds of questions my fiancé, Bill, and I had. A cochlear implant seemed like a huge step and we didn’t want to rush into it.”
A string of ear infections resulted in Heidi not being able to wear her hearing aid – leaving her isolated and unable to communicate. This became a turning point in her cochlear implant journey.
“I made the decision to go ahead with the implant, and it was fantastic,” said Heidi. “Even today, two years later, I’m still amazed by the things that I can hear now – things I had no idea I was missing out on before. I now have a lot more confidence in my hearing ability. I used to hate using the telephone and would avoid it, even to the point where I could tell it was holding me back at work. I now have the confidence to use the telephone every day.
“Bill and I will be getting married later this year and I now have the knowledge that even if our kids are deaf there is technology available that can help them. Bill and I have the same hopes and dreams that any other couples might have. I’m not defined by my hearing and I’m able to live life like everyone else.”
SCIC Cochlear Implant Program supports clients to access a range of implantable hearing devices according to their needs. The program provides support for life with a seamless, end-to-end suite of services, from early intervention and education; through to specialist assessment; surgical liaison and support; and re/habilitation services, delivering the highest level of care and support to people of all ages.
With 17 sites across Australia, RIDBC enables you to access services from any one of our centres. For those in regional and remote locations, our advanced videoconferencing and device mapping technology enables us to deliver services directly into your home, no matter where you live.
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.