Sound reason for joy

A SMALL hearing device has been a life changer for Rhonda Greene.

The St Clair resident, 55, is one of 21 Australians who have been testing the new cochlear implant Nucleus 6 System since June.

A world first, it is powered by a microchip which enables the device to determine automatically the type of sound environment the user is in, using a scan program to self-adjust.

The Nucleus 6 is now available Australia-wide.

Ms Greene's hearing has now improved 90 per cent.

"It's made a big difference," she said. "It has given me more confidence as I can now do what everyone else does.

"I can also now hear on the telephone, which is fantastic."

She had only 5 per cent hearing from age 16 until her first implant in 1997.

"Hearing aids weren't strong enough so I was socially isolated," she said. 'I learnt to lip read so had to have conversations face to face; I couldn't hear the telephone and I was unable to work."

Since the first implant, Ms Greene has graduated as an occupational therapist and is now a social educator at Mount Druitt Hospital.

She had to change the Nuclear 5 programming to cope with different environments.

"I work in different hospital environments: having to constantly adjust it was a problem," she said.

"I can now hear my two grandchildren and interact with family and clients with a disability."

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