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.


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!


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 🙂