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Two cochlear implant users return to work at centre that gave them hearing back

Published: 
30 July 2012

Two professionals in the field of hearing impairment, who are cochlear implant users themselves, have been appointed to work at the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre (SOECIC), based at the University of Southampton.

Samantha Johnson, from Netley Abbey, is a hearing therapist who has had her Advanced Bionics cochlear implant since 2007 and Anna Lyford from Dibden Purlieu, a rehabilitationist, has also had her Med-El implant in 2007.

Julie Brinton, Joint Head of SOECIC, says: “It’s been great to welcome Anna and Samantha to the team. Their personal experience will enhance the patient focussed care offered at the centre, as they have a unique personal understanding of what is like to have a cochlear implant and also the knowledge of the science and technology involved.”

Anna Lyford (left) and Samantha Johnson
SOECIC

Both Samantha and Anna, who previously knew each other through a social group for parents with hearing loss, have said that having their implants has opened up many more work possibilities.

Samantha says: “Having an implant has opened up so many opportunities, which would not have been possible before, and enabled us to fulfil our potential in the work place.”

Anna adds: “It is such a rewarding job and I can’t believe that I’m here. When I first came I never thought I would get an implant, let alone end up working here.”

Anna was born with hearing but her family has a history of hearing loss in adulthood (her mum has a cochlear implant). She started losing her hearing as a teenager and was profoundly deaf by 28. She tried to manage with hearing aids with little success. Following meeting a cochlear implant user, she asked her GP to refer her for a hearing assessment with SOECIC in 2007.

Samantha had a high frequency hearing loss which was picked up at the age of 10. This didn't deteriorate until she went to University, when she struggled with hearing. She went to an audiologist who found that her hearing had dropped drastically. She had her first hearing aid at 21 and from that she developed an interest in audiology and working in the field as a career. As her hearing deteriorated, she tried stronger and stronger hearing aids until she was 35. In 2006 she went to an audiologist who referred her to SOECIC.

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