Registered Charity no. 218341  |   Telephone: 01872 225 868


Registered Charity no. 218341  |  01872 225 868  |

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Deafness, the hidden disability

My cochlear implant changed my life

Here is a story that Hearing Loss Cornwall would like to share with a happy recipient of a Cochlear Implant:

"My name is Nicola Hickling. Born profoundly deaf to a hearing family it wasn’t discovered until I was 31/2 years old at play school. 

My paternal grandmother took me under her wing to ensure I had access to the best care within the NHS. She also spent many years teaching me how to speak through a balloon so that I could feel the pronunciations 

Throughout school I was sent to mainstream as my parents felt this was the best route for me. 

I started out with the Philips box hearing aids that were worn in a brace, when I was 9 years old I was upgraded to the phonak behind the ear hearing aids. All was great until I became a teenager, I could no longer wear hearing aids, due to becoming allergic to the latex within the moulds. I was in silence until I was 28 years old. I moved to Cornwall and met a new audiologist, she asked me if I would like to see if I was a suitable candidate for a cochlear implant. 3 years later after intensive and invasive tests in 1998,  I was accepted for a cochlear implant. 

On December 1st,  I underwent the operation in Birmingham Queen Elizabeth hospital and 10 weeks later I was “switched on”.

My audiologist Jane Ninnis helped me with "Brain training" and learning to hear/listen again through various media such as audio books, radio and TV (there really wasn’t any internet or smart phones back then.)

22 years later I still love my Cochlear implant it changed my life!

Find Nicola on instagram  @the_cochlear_community  She is also on Facebook as "the cochlear community"


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