At last, my hearing is no longer a hindrance — it’s a huge help

As a tour guide and someone who regularly interacts with people, life with little or no hearing doesn’t bear thinking about. Judith Lloyd, aged 68, based much of her

enjoyment on communicating with others but her gradual hearing loss became increasingly problematic. Now, technology has provided a solution that gives her the confidence to do the things she loves without her hearing loss becoming an obstacle. A retired administrative assistant for the

NHS and Birmingham City Council, Judith now spends her time as a volunteer educa- tion and tour guide at the National Trust site of Birmingham Back to Backs. While before she used to be hampered in her work by poor hearing, this is no longer the case. Her cochle- ar implant has been a game-changer. “I was diagnosed with hearing loss when

I was just 11 years old, but my hearing had deteriorated quite a lot recently. After wear- ing hearing aids for many years, I was told about cochlear implants and how they could help me. “After meeting with consultants and being

given all the information I needed, I had the operation in 2011. It’s amazing. The difference in sound quality and being able to hear people clearly has been marvellous.” The operation Judith had was one-off rou-

tine surgery to fit an implant. The implant re- places the function of the damaged inner ear. A few weeks later, she returned to have the sound processor switched on. Judith has recently been upgraded to the Nucleus™


for-iPhone sound processor. Sound from a compatible iPhone,

streamed directly to the processor that sits

Separate studies have shown the implications of not prioritising hearing health — hearing loss has been linked to developmental difficulties in children and early cognitive decline for adults, including dementia

people in the UK who have been diagnosed with a hearing impairment don’t treat it with a hearing device. The same research also found that half of

Judith Lloyd

behind the ear of the user. The accompanying app enables the user to control the sound in their environment directly from their device so that it’s always at the optimum level. The Nucleus 7 sound processor functions

with a cochlear implant — an electronic med- ical device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear — and provides sound signals to the brain. Sound captured by the Nucleus 7 sound processor is turned to digital code, which is then transmitted through the external coil wirelessly to the implant. The implant converts the digitally coded sound into electrical impulses which are fed to the brain. For Judith, the Nucleus 7 from Cochlear

7, the world’s first made- iPad or iPod can be

was a solution that came about firstly from a diagnosis, and then personal choice. However, research conducted by an independent agen- cy on behalf of Cochlear found that 55% of

the British population (51%) listens to mu- sic on their personal devices at a level above the volume warning. And 12% of Brits have knowingly exposed themselves to dangerous levels of noise as a result of being too scared, or feeling too awkward, to ask for the volume to be turned down. But our hearing is an asset that should be

protected, even if it means having practical conversations with either a healthcare profes- sional or friends. Separate studies have shown the implications of not prioritising hearing health — hearing loss has been linked to devel- opmental difficulties in children and early cog- nitive decline for adults, including dementia. Judith found it important to tackle her

hearing loss head-on. This included research- ing the newer options that have become avail- able since she first started wearing hearing aids as a child. But she also made every effort to talk about it with those closest to her, who were able to support her. “Your hearing shouldn’t be a constant worry

in life,” said Judith. “You should feel confident enough to, for example, ask the servers in a restaurant to turn down the music if you’re having a problem with the ambient noise. But more importantly, you should directly address

To find out more about cochlear implants, please visit:

any issues you have with your hearing be- cause, as I’ve found with Cochlear, there are some effective solutions that can really help.”

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