Local cochlear implant recipient Ron Lyons is letting everyone with hearing loss know there are options worth exploring this World Hearing Day.
A well-known cartoonist, Mr Lyons has seen his world profoundly change thanks to The Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children.
“Around 2008, I developed tinnitus, it just switched on, one day I didn’t have it and the next day I did,” he said.
“Prior to that, I thought my hearing was fine. Here was this sound in my head that I can’t get away from, it actually gave me quite bad anxiety.”
His hearing suffered a slow but gradual decline as Mr Lyons found himself regularly asking people to repeat themselves.
“I couldn’t understand what was being said on the television. My wife got me these cordless headphones, so I had the sound going straight into my head,” he said.
“But then it got worse and I had to have the subtitles on.”
Mr Lyons began subconsciously learning to lip read to try to figure out what was being said, or anticipate what someone was asking. A regular hearing aid proved unhelpful for
Mr Lyons, who learned that he was losing the sound of high frequencies rather than overall volume.
It wasn’t until a friend prompted Mr Lyons to make an appointment with a specialist that he found a solution to his hearing problem.
“They tested me without my hearing aid and on single words, where they say the word and I straight out repeat it, I was only scoring 18 per cent,” he said.
While reluctant at first, Mr Lyons received a Cochlear Implant in November last year, and says he noticed the difference from the day he was ‘switched on’.
When he was retested on sentences, he scored 100 per cent.
“Little things that are now audible to me are the sounds of birds, frogs in the creek, rain on the roof, the clock ticking, the clicking sound when the blinkers are on in the car, the low-fuel warning beep, the clicking of the computer keyboard as I type,” he said.
“I can also now watch television without having the subtitles on!”
World Hearing Day is on tomorrow, Saturday, March 3. Locals are urged to use the day to book an appointment with a specialist to address any hearing issues.
Emily Newton is the Weekender’s police and political reporter. Emily is also the Weekender’s Senior Journalist.