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I started experiencing loss of hearing sometimes in 2010 (41 years old) owing to some medical issue. I was having difficulties hearing conservation especially in meeting. Thus, giving me the fear in attending meeting.
Initially I started with Phonak hearing aid. It helps amplified the sound and I could hear better then. Somehow, my hearing loss deteriorated further that in late 2012 (43 years old), there was profound loss of hearing on my right ear. Even digital hearing aid could not help. On my left ear there is still about 50% to 60% hearing with hearing aid. I was lost at this point of time. I was considering learning sign language. I went to see my ENT specialist and my audiologist Mr. Bala advised me to go for an CI as an alternative to my hearing loss.
The Cochlear Implant
I went to consult my ENT doctor (Dr Raymond Ngo) about CI and he described to me how it works. I was happy to learn that I could hear again with the CI. I was not concerned by the operation I needed to go through, it was the cost of that was my main obstacle. It cost about 15 to 20 times more than a normal digital hearing aid.
My first CI (AB Q70) – 2013 (44 years old)
In the beginning of 2013, I totally lost my hearing on my right ear. In December 2013, I went through the operation for my right ear. About one week after the operation, the processor (Advance Bionic Q70) was switched on. It was wonderful experience when I can hear again. At first, it sounded like “mickey mouse” voice when I hear people talking around me. But very quickly, I have adopted and though it is not perfectly the same as before my hearing loss, it is more enough to let me live normally again. It works very well in quiet environment but is still a challenge in noisy places, like hawker centre or site meeting etc.
In 2015, my Q70 was upgraded to Q90 processor, which is what I am using today. The sound quality is much better and has more functions/program in its software.
In 2016, my left ear also suffered complete hearing loss. Though hearing with just the right ear is sufficient for my daily routine, I still felt handicapped at times. I cannot hear properly if people stand on my left side while talking to me or call me from behind. Understand that our local government will not subside for the second ear implant and the cost of CI is also not cheap, I could only go with one hearing ear at the moment.
I also thank God for Engineer and Scientist, giving them the knowledge to create such a complex and sophisticate device to help those with hearing loss like me. It will be all perfect if the cost is affordable too.