Cochlear implant restores Iris Nash's hearing

IRIS Nash loves the sound of running water.

Ballarat cochlear implant recipient Iris Nash with the surgeon who performed the operation, Benjamin Wei.

Ballarat cochlear implant recipient Iris Nash with the surgeon who performed the operation, Benjamin Wei.

And, after 12 years of poor hearing,  it’s no wonder.

“People take those sort of things for granted,” Mrs Nash said on Thursday.

“But it’s just wonderful.”

At 84, Mrs Nash has had a cochlear implant in her right ear, the first patient from local clinic, ear nose throat Ballarat,  to do so.

Beforehand, the great-grandmother couldn’t talk on the phone,

watch television or chat to her three children due to gradual hearing deterioration that also left her wearing hearing aids.

The two-and-a-half hour operation was performed by surgeon Benjamin Wei at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital’s Cochlear Implant Clinic on May 16. On May 26, it was switched on and Mrs Nash hasn’t looked back.

“You’ve no idea. I can hear my grandchildren’s voices. It’s amazing.”

Mrs Nash’s daughter, Jennifer Jones, said it had been fantastic for the whole family.

“A sentence might have 10 words in it and mum would only pick up six and then try and fill in the other four,” Mrs Jones said.

“And I usually got it wrong,” Mrs Nash said.

Mr Wei, who consults from ear nose and throat Ballarat two days a week, said Mrs Nash had had limited hearing which had impacted greatly on her quality of life.

When the implant was turned on, Mrs Nash had been so happy she had tears in her eyes, he said.

Mr Wei has performed many implants before, but never on a patient from the Ballarat clinic.

Mr Wei said hearing was important for proper cognitive function, which in turn reduced the chances of dementia.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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