At school with my Cochlear implant

Having a Cochlear™ implant has allowed me to attend school alongside other students who have normal hearing. Throughout my schooling, I always had special provision to help and improve my learning. I have had a great support network, teachers and students have always been very loyal and helpful.

Cochlear Implants and school

I attended Balgowlah Heights in primary school and Stella Maris College, Manly, in high school. I have always been an active student and got involved in many extracurricular activities. During my primary school years, I performed at the School Spectacular, with a limited number of students, selected from schools across Australia I was involved in P.S.S.A (Primary School Sport Association) and played all kinds of sports including tee-ball, softball, netball and soccer. I went to the state finals for shot-put after placing first place in my year group.

It is quite a flashback thinking of the best times and things I did at Balgowlah Heights. Despite having a FM device, which I wore while my teachers wore a microphone, and having to change my batteries frequently, I was just like all the other students: young, active and always happy. Students in my year were aware that I was deaf and had a Cochlear™ implant, they all respected me and loved that I could lip read their lips without sound coming out of their mouth. They always made sure that I would join in their activities such as Chinese whispers. The person next to me would take me aside away from the group, tell me what had been said, then we would run back into the circle and I would pass on the message.

Isabelle (right) with school friends.
Isabelle (right) with school friends.

In Year 6 when all students were busy writing our favourite memories of primary school for our end of year book, one of the students reminded me of a time in Year 4 when my teacher was wearing the FM device. She left the classroom for a moment with it on, and I caught her shouting at three boys. I immediately told the class which they all loved and found hilarious. I was also a Sports Captain, selected by fellow students.

Year 7 and Year 12 would have to be my favourite years in high school. In year 7 I loved meeting new people from different schools, and learning some French. I felt very grown up having to catch a bus to and from school and to do some independent study for exams. In Year 12, I was appointed as International Prefect. In this role I organised events for exchange students, including the International BBQ and International Night Out. This helped them to settle in and to have a great time. I spoke in front of the school on Harmony Day discussing differences. I shared my story and explained that I am profoundly deaf and have a Cochlear implant.

Cochlear Implants, Art

I studied Visual Arts throughout high school. In my final year, I was required to create a major artwork. I painted three large abstract paintings using acrylic oil paint and impasto gel to create thick lines and texture. I painted three different sound waves and used different colours to represent the progress of my hearing over the past few years. The first painting to the left consist of different tones of blues representing unclear hearing, I added more colours in the next two painting to show that over the years as technology improved, so did my hearing. I love visual arts and how everything has a meaning behind it. I was lucky enough to have my major artwork selected to be displayed in the Express Yourself Exhibition in Manly.

Graeme Clark Scholarship winner, Isabelle shares…

I am Isabelle Stanley, 21 years of age, I was implanted with a Cochlear™ implant at the age of 18 months, after discovering that I am profoundly deaf. I am very excited to share my story and some Cochlear experiences with you.

Being deaf and having a cochlear implant is something that I am proud of, it is what makes me unique and different from everyone. It has opened up a whole world for me. Without a cochlear implant I would not be able to do many of the things in life I enjoy: listening to music, dancing or traveling the world. I will explain more about my hobbies and aspirations in greater detail in the next blog posts.

Currently I’m on a bus in the USA travelling from New Orleans to Savannah writing this blog post. I have my family and friends to thank for being independent and capable of doing things on my own, as they have helped me feel confident with myself.
I would like to consider myself as a very social person. I am very goal driven and continue to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. I have had many part-time jobs such as nannying and sale assistants, to finance my travels overseas as well as my love for shopping and dining out.

I will be completing my Bachelor of Business at the end of this year at the University of Technology, Sydney, majoring in Marketing. In 2014, I applied for the Graeme Clarke Scholarship and was lucky enough to be awarded the scholarship! Not only will it help support my degree, it is a well-recognized award, which I am honored to be granted. I was featured in the Manly Daily acknowledging my achievement. I also received a letter from the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott who saw my article and congratulated me!

My family recently converted all our family videotapes into a file, they discovered my switch on video where I hear for the first time. Here is the video:

I can not help myself but watch it over and over again, I am so glad that such a significant moment in my life has been captured. It makes me appreciate having a Cochlear implant as it has given me a lot of opportunities to do things like a fully hearing person.

Without a Cochlear implant, my life would be silent, which is very hard to imagine as my life is currently full of colour, music, sounds, laughter and much more.

Not sidelined by deafness

My name is Samuel Cartledge, I’m 21 years old, I’ve lived in 3 cities, travelled the world and am a student and a proud recipient of the Cochlear™ implant. Without it, I wouldn’t have lived the life that I have or experienced the world of sound. My life has been a journey of ups and downs with a few bumps involved but I’ve never run out of fuel along the way. I’m a young deaf adult living and advocating for the deaf in a hearing world with close family, friends and team-mates who always have my back.

Basketball Sam Cartledge
Photo by by Grace Sophia

This is my first of many blogs for Cochlear where I want to share my personal stories regarding me and my endeavours with my Cochlear implant. These are my stories and I hope that in someway they inspire and allow the deaf youth of today to realise that nothing is impossible and that deafness is no barrier but a platform to achieve greatness.

A little about me. I’m a very active athlete training and preparing to represent and lead Australia as a Vice Captain at the 2015 World Deaf Basketball Championships and the Asia Pacific Deaf Games, both being held in Taipei, Taiwan. Growing up I was involved in many sports, soccer, touch footy, cycling, swimming, hockey but basketball proved to be my favourite and I have competed representatively in mainstream competition since I was in year 11. Basketball has taken me all over the world, Seoul in South Korea, Sofia in Bulgaria and soon Taipei!

Basketball Deaf championship Sam Cartledge
Photo courtesy of Tang Photography

Aside from basketball, I graduated from Broughton Anglican College in Menangle back in 2011 as a College Captain and moved to Canberra to study Architecture at the University of Canberra where I lived on campus. I have since moved to Melbourne to focus on preparing for my travels this year and also to experience the workforce, study another language, and volunteer for a number of deaf organisations. They include Hear for You, an amazing mentoring program for deaf teenagers going through high school and Deaf Sports Australia, the head organisation in Australia who facilitate and support the participation of sport to deaf Australians on all levels. I also help to coach young children how to play basketball, some are as young as 6 in the Aussie Hoops basketball program at my representative club in Melbourne.

I have intentions in the future of seeing Australia win it’s first ever medal in the Deaflympics for Basketball and help support deaf sporting system as it develops creating more awareness of sport for deaf children and young adults.

I hope you will follow me and my good friend Mel on our blogs as we share our lives experiencing sound through a Cochlear Implant.


From Melinda…

Hi guys,

I’m looking forward to sharing some pieces of advice with you all, and I thought I’d start with sport – something that I live and breathe everyday. I grew up playing sport because it enabled me to unleash my competitive side, as well as give me some confidence and make some friends along the way. Being deaf was somewhat of a barrier for me, as I didn’t have the confidence to socially interact comfortably with my peers, therefore I saw sport as a vessel to engage with my peers. Sport was something that I could perform well in and gain the respect of others. It gave others a reason to approach and engage in conversation with me.

But I am aiming for higher – to perform well in my passion in the sport of triathlon – and, to gain the respect of the wider population by focusing on my goals to achieve selection for the Rio Olympics in 2016. So that’s my story.

Melinda Vernon Devonport Oceania Cup 2014

Now, I’d like to share a few tips how you can engage in sport using your CI with minimal issues.

In sports that involve excessive sweating like running, cycling and basketball – you may freak out like the sweating guy in theSweating gif image here, getting all worried that your CI might get damaged!!! But don’t fret – you can still exercise and play with your CI without damaging it by wearing a sweat band made out of Lycra or Nylon/ Polyester/ Terry cloth material, as they are pretty sweat absorbent. You might look like someone out of the 1980’s, but I’m sure you can jazz it up and show off your unique fashion style 😉 I use the sweat band also as protection from contact to the head or ear in more contact sports. It’s also handy as a stabiliser to prevent it from falling off especially when jumping, sprinting, etc.

image1 For the newer generation of Cochlear™ Nucleus® 5 and 6 implantees, you may have heard of the Aqua Accessory -I personally haven’t used this yet due to not having the Nucleus® 6 processor (I’m part of the older generation of Nucleus® 22 which will hopefully receive our newly updated processors soon 🙂 ) I have heard it is fantastic for swimming and other water sports like Waterpolo – it would be exciting to be able to hear what goes on in the h20 world! You would be able to get better instructions from swimming coaches rather than relying on lip reading! You would also be able to get a better start in a race with a faster reaction speed and hearing the crowds cheer you on ALL the way 🙂 In the other sports like water polo, it would make it easier to communicate amongst other team members and therefore lead to a better outcome of the game.

Learn to be a great interpreter of body language – you can still perform and play to your best potential if you can learn to interpret your competition’s body language. It pays to know this as you can plan your next move in the game/ race and have an advantage for a better outcome. For example such as cross-country running – if you see someone in front of you starting to tense their shoulders, or their leg rhythm/ pacing is starting to slow down, then you know they are tiring, and it is the opportune time to overtake them, they may suffer psychologically and slow down even more – the bonus is that you have improved on a placing during the race!

Melinda Vernon Triathlete

I hope that this was some good advice you can take away and test out in your chosen sport!
Please note the above pictures and clips are used for your entertainment purposes 😉

Please leave me a comment below if there is something in particular you would like to hear about.

Melinda 🙂

Meeting Melinda

Cochlear Implant Triathlete
Melinda Vernon

My name is Melinda Vernon, and my Cochlear™ Implant has been my right ear’s best friend for 20 plus years and I don’t think they will be parting anytime soon!

This post will be the first of many posts to come, where I can share experiences of life with a Cochlear Implant, and tips/ advice that I can impart to fellow implantees or those interested in being an implantee sometime down the track. I hope these future posts will enable some feedback, discussion, identification of similar experiences , inspire, motivate or provide some fun entertainment 😉

Firstly, I’d like to introduce myself before I get to some serious experience-sharing business!

I have been involved in sport all my life – the competitiveness and physicality of it – is just in my blood! I was previously a distance runner for the past 12 years representing Australia at the past 2 Deaflympics for the 5000m/ 10,000m double, being a current world record holder for the respective events, competed at many mainstream World Championship Cross Country events. But my most noted running achievement to date was winning the 2009 Sydney City2Surf. I switched to triathlon 2 years ago and have not looked back, rising in the international rankings from 300 and something to going within the top 100 by the end of the 2014!


I have intentions to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and have recently been earmarked as a potential Olympic hopeful, being named in the Australian Shadow Olympic squad. The next year will be a tactical one – training and planning specifically for the races and having great performances, could put me in a prime position to be selected for the team. On the side, I have an Occupational Therapy degree, and have worked on and off over the past few years, but professional triathlon has been my main focus especially in the lead up to the Olympic year.

I hope you will follow me on my journey to get to Rio, as well as joining me on my experience-sharing posts regarding life with a Cochlear Implant.

My next post will follow soon! Check back soon 🙂