OLIVIA Sharkey has refused to let hearing impairment hold her back. After receiving two cochlear implants, she feels like she has “new ears” and has graduated with a Diploma of Beauty Therapy.
“[They’ve brought me] a return of confidence to social situations and a new lease on life,” the 19-year-old said.
Ms Sharkey has shared her story on World Hearing Day, March 3, to explain how much hearing loss impacted her life, but also how much help is available. She was diagnosed as profoundly deaf in her right ear at four and later had Ménière's disease affect her left ear. She had a hearing aid, but opted for the first of two Synchrony implants. She said the Rondo audio processor design was “almost invisible under my hair” and helped her feel like a “normal teenager”.
One in six Australians are affected by hearing loss, nearly four million people nationwide.
By 2050, that number is forecast to reach one in four Australians, making it the second most common condition nationally – more common than asthma, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
World Hearing Day, Ability Links NSW and partners have launched ‘Listening In’, a communities-based research effort to improve opportunities for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
It starts with an online questionnaire and ends with a call to action – to help find more about what hearing assistance and supports are working, and what’s not, in our communities.
For more information, contact Ability Links or 4905 0705.