When schools re-opened their doors after the coronavirus-induced hiatus, 12-year-old Sarah had an exciting piece of technology to bring back to the classroom.

After being diagnosed with a permanent hearing loss in her left ear last year, Sarah underwent cochlear implant surgery – and amidst the stringent conditions of a global pandemic, had her implant switched onto sound at the Hear and Say Brisbane centre.

“Due to coronavirus my implant surgery had been on and off several times which was disappointing, so when I was finally able to have the surgery I was really excited,” said Sarah.

“When it came to switch-on day, my excitement was mixed with nervousness as it felt like I had been waiting forever to hear again. Mum and Dad kept saying that it would sound different than normal hearing, but it was impossible to know what this difference might be like.

As soon as I heard some sounds, my nervousness stopped and I felt only excitement – and once my ‘good ear’ was masked, I was amazed that I could distinguish between different sounds and understand some words, even though what I could hear was like rapid beeping.”

Since having her cochlear implant switched on, Sarah said she was adjusting to hearing through her new implant, and enjoying trying out features like Bluetooth streaming.

Teenage Girl With Cochlear Implant

“I have started streaming stories straight into my implant and following along with the book – it has been lovely to revisit some of my favourites from when I was little. During coronavirus there is even an Instagram account with celebrities reading books, so I have an endless supply,” said Sarah.

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