Melinda Vernon’s latest win

From Melinda…

It’s been a few weeks since my last post, and there have been many exciting things happening behind the scenes with my Cochlear™ Implant! I would love to share some pretty special and ground-breaking news… I have access to Cochlear’s latest technology and have finally upgraded my Freedom® sound processor to Nucleus® 6! I have been using the Cochlear Wireless Phone Clip and the Aqua+ waterproof casing as well.

When I heard the news that my generation of Cochlear recipients were eligible to get the upgrade to the Nucleus 6 model, I started thinking of all the new opportunities and experiences I will have from that day forward! Life was certainly about to get a whole lot easier and definitely more interesting! I couldn’t wait! #pumped

Photo Kevin Koresky training San Diego Feb 14.11

I got the upgrade (thanks to Audiologist Sarah at Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre, for making the process a smooth one!). When I was first “switched on” I was instantly amazed at how much clearer it sounded in comparison to the Freedom model. I don’t really like loud noises and can get quite overwhelmed and stressed out; but the Nucleus 6 gave me that much needed relief with a quieter sound cutting out a lot of the previously interfering background noise. I had peace at last! I was lucky to try out the Phone Clip which pairs and connects to your smartphone, enabling wireless and automatic connection to the phone when someone calls or when you call someone. It was so amazing being able to hear my sister’s voice so clearly on the phone through my Nucleus 6 processor.

Playing my iPhone music through the Phone Clip is so cool, I don’t have to worry about all the cords such as with the telecoil (which is like ear phones) and I can listen to music without others hearing it ,(in the case I might have poor taste in music!!!)

I started thinking of all the new possibilities that I could put into everyday life with the Nucleus 6 and Wireless Accessories! I could go to the gym, and play my music wirelessly leaving my phone in my bag and not have to listen to some boring pop music (no offence to pop culture!) playing over and over on the radio in the gym!

Thanks for reading,

Mel.

Cricket, hearing and hilarity with Lance Cairns

By the mid 1970’s I was playing cricket fulltime, whether it was 1st class representing New Zealand or playing as a club pro in the United Kingdom. Hearing problems were starting to arise but I wasn’t too concerned… After all, I was playing sport for a living and the hearing thing was not really a big issue.

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In the early days representing NZ, the match payments were shocking. Then Kerry Packer came on the scene and introduced the new game, 50 over cricket. He gave us coloured clothing to wear, we played with a white ball and half the game was played at night under lights. A brilliant change to sell to the public and boy, did they love it! Here in NZ the players soon became household names, especially with the stay at home housewives. They loved the idea they could switch the television on just after lunch and watch this new game. Lots of husbands would arrive home to no tea (dinner) on the table as the wife was too caught up in the game.

The match fees certainly made it worthwhile to be involved. Australia introduced a tri-series which in the early days involved Australia and New Zealand and one of the other test playing nations. This meant for a number of years we had to spend Christmas in Oz. One of our team priorities for this was to hold Christmas lunch where all the team members would receive a little gift. John Wright was always the MC and when your name was called you went up to the front and got your pressie. He would call my name out very softly, then again a little louder and the third time he would scream my name out as loud as he could. Up I go to get my gift and have to unwrap it in front of the guys – two very large plastic ears which of course I had to put on and wear them for the rest of the function. When we finished I had to hand my gift back in and I was given these ears for about 4 Christmases in a row…The boys found this pretty humorous, which I didn’t mind as it was just the boys having a bit of fun.

Lance Cairns- The-benson-hedges-world-series. Photo courtesy of Sports World Cards
Lance Cairns- The-benson-hedges-world-series. Photo courtesy of Sports World Cards

During this time the Oz and Kiwi boys got pretty close as we were playing against each other so often. Drinks in each other’s change rooms were compulsory after a match and the sessions we had in the Aussie’s room at the S.C.G. were legendary. Doug Walters who started out as a Rothmans representative and later became a Tooheys representative, installed a huge fridge on the back wall of the home dressing room at the S.C.G. which of course, was stocked with Tooheys products the following year and he had installed another huge fridge on the back wall. We always made sure the fridges were empty before we left the ground.

I had an interesting experience one time at the M.C.G. A part of the ground is called Bay 13 and this area attracts the more vocal patrons and maybe a few more ruffians who like to give the fielder near them a pretty torrid time vocally. Because of my hearing, I was always allocated this area to go and field in as they could scream blue murder at me and I wouldn’t take any notice… except once when I heard this female voice calling out “sign please!” I turned around to sign her book, but no book in hand… just her chest. Of course I signed it.

Cheers Lance.

On the road to the Paralympics

Hi, my name is Amanda Cameron and I have just celebrated 15 years with my first Cochlear™ implant. My second one is 5 1/2 years old and I love them both, I don’t know where I would be today without them.

I was born profoundly deaf, I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome type 1 when I was a bit older, which means deafness and retinitis pigmentosa (slowly deteriorating vision). At the moment I have 20 degrees vision and it’s basically no peripheral vision and I see through a tunnel.

I got my first implant when I was 11. I remember the day of switch-on and it wasn’t a particularly happy day for me. I thought everything sounded awful and it was just a whole lot of beeping and everything sounding the same. However, the first morning with my processor on, I kept hearing these really annoying consistent sounds so I grumpily asked my parents “What is that noise?” They were really amazed and told me it was birds singing which I had never heard before.

It probably took a good few weeks to adjust to the new sounds but after then I was back to normal routine, except with better hearing. I went to mainstream school, continued in my ballet and occasionally went back up to the hearing clinic for re-mapping. It wasn’t always easy but it does get quicker and you learn lots – what used to be an hour and half session with the audiologist now only takes 20 minutes.

I finished school and made the big move down to Wellington to study Architecture. A few years later, I decided I wanted a second implant, reason being I wanted to hear more especially with my deteriorating vision. I thought one was great, but I wanted to be more independent and secure because I have no idea what the future holds for me. I was very fortunate to be able to go private this time, and went for a second implant.

The second time around wasn’t as easy, as I was transiting from no hearing to an implant, whereas the first time around, I wore hearing aids right up to the surgery. It’s still not as great as the first one but I have noticed a definite improvement in having two implants. I wouldn’t change it for anything now!

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I am even representing NZ in sport, and it wouldn’t be the case without my Cochlear™ implants. I race on a tandem bike under the blind/vision impaired category, with a sighted pilot, and communication between the pilot and myself (the stoker) is paramount for good results in training and racing.

TT

I was never very sporty growing up even though I was always involved in something, I did ballet for 10 years when I was young. I played team sport including netball, soccer, tennis and badminton before I gave it up due to lack of peripheral vision and then I just kept fit by running and occasionally swimming and gym work.

It wasn’t till nearly 2 years ago when I was watching Attitude TV (a documentary series every Sunday morning featuring disabled people and their lives) when I became really inspired by other disabled people in sport, one striking me in particular. That was Mary Fisher, a blind swimmer and a world champion.

It made me crave a challenge and something I could do for myself. I got in contact with Paralympics NZ, who introduced me to tandem cycling. At first I scoffed at the idea and thought the idea of me cycling was ridiculous. But I had asked for a challenge and I am not one to give up so here we go.

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I began a training programme, attended a camp and began competing nationally and internationally. I am not a natural at my sport or the best, but I train and work hard and today I’m in the Academy Squad. My pilot, Hannah and I are currently striving for Podium Squad as we continue our journey to Rio 2016.

An unexpected hearing journey… by Lance Cairns

Meet Lance Cairns – Former New Zealand Cricketer

Lance Cairns w sibling Isla and Aaron_ Hearing House clients _ Photo Moira Blincoe
Lance Cairns with siblings Isla and Aaron – Hearing House clients. Photo Moira Blincoe

I am the second eldest of five boys raised by a single mum in the ‘50s in Picton, a small town at the top of the south island, later well known as the berth for the inter island ferries.

I had no issues with hearing growing up, the best indicator of this would be my school work in primary school. I did very well learning wise.

High school was in Blenheim which meant a train trip of 40-50 minutes leaving the station at 8am, this meant I had a walk of nearly 2 miles to catch the train every morning. I ended up wagging more than attending and became very good at forging mum’s signature on the absentee notes!

Sport was always there and rest assured I was on hand when the Firsts had a game on.

I was making a name for myself in those early days in a couple of sports, hockey and cricket. Hockey and cricket were played on the same ground and this was about 100 yards from home. Played rep hockey for the men’s team at the age of 13 and for the top cricket team at the age of 15.

The day I turned 15 it was goodbye to school. Family wise it was always a big struggle financially so if I could earn a wage that was what I was going to do as soon as possible. It was off to the freezing works which, along with the railways solved Picton’s employment issues. After a couple of years work mum noticed that I was asking her to repeat herself too often but nothing was done at this time.

Lance Cairns

The big one that made me realise there was a problem was at the age of 23, when I had just made the New Zealand cricket team, Lindsay Yeo from the 2ZB radio station in Wellington wanted me to take part in a live quiz, which was to be done by telephone. This freaked me out, being live on air and realising I could stuff it up by not hearing what the questions were. I got through it, but it highlighted that I needed to say goodbye to the telephone.

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A fact here is that my son Christopher and I had our first chat on a telephone when he was 40. The first thing he wanted to do when I came out of theatre after being implanted was to give me a ring, but I told him a little patience was required. He made sure he was the first to call when I was finally turned on.

My hearing loss could be traced to those early days in the works. Beside me where I worked they washed the carcases by hose and the water was forced out of the hose by air pressure creating a loud hissing noise. Ear muffs were not heard of in those days.

To be continued.

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.

🙂

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!

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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 🙂