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Breaking the silence


Nikki Cleine woke up one morning when she was 34-years-old and realised she couldn’t hear herself speaking. Now, the Christchurch mother of three is sharing her story to help others hear again.

 

 

“I remember saying to my husband, ‘Did I just say that out loud?’ He said ‘yes’, and I realised I couldn’t hear myself. It was really shocking,” says Nikki, of that morning.

“I haven’t been given a reason for my hearing loss, it came out of the blue. I failed a hearing test in my early 20s, and it gradually deteriorated to the point where I became profoundly deaf.”

Nikki says her hearing loss had a significant impact on her work and family life.

 

“Think about how many people you talk and listen to in a day. I had a busy job as a customer service supervisor. [Plus] school activities, work life and my personal relationships were all affected.

“The kids stopped talking to me – they started talking to their dad. I had to leave my job and I was worried I’d never work again. Hearing loss is chronic and unrelenting. Every communication is a struggle.”

Only 40 adults receive government-funded cochlear implants each year, with more than 230 currently on the waiting list.

Luckily, Nikki was referred to the Southern Cochlear Implant Programme (SCIP), and underwent surgery for a cochlear implant in 2011. SCIP is one of the two charities, along with The Hearing House (THH), which benefits from Loud Shirt Day.

The annual campaign raises funds and awareness for the charities, which deliver cochlear implant services to Kiwi children and adults.

 

“By the time I received my cochlear implant my confidence and quality of life were at rock bottom. Being isolated from life going on around you, and not being able to participate, makes it a very lonely world to inhabit.

“I no longer have to stand on the sidelines watching everyone else living and laughing because I’m right there with them.”

“The day my cochlear implant was switched on was one of the best days of my life,” says Nikki. “I could hear my kids. I had never heard anything my three-year-old said, ever.”

Loud Shirt Day is October 23, 2020. Find out how you can donate online.


 

At last! I can Hear Again!


During the recent COVID-19 lockdown, we experienced a huge change to our daily lives. The normal buzz of activities and work slowed to a more pedestrian pace and it gave most people a chance to return to a simpler, family life. That is, if both of your ears were working!

 

 

When your main activities are chatting to the family and watching TV, you very quickly realise how important your hearing is and how much we take this for granted.

While locked down, Hear Again received many calls from desperate people whose ears had become blocked with wax and had no options for getting this removed.

For some people, this meant a very frustrating several weeks wait until clinics were allowed to re-open and provide the relief they needed.

This resulted in many people saying, “At last! I can Hear Again!”.

Managing Director Steve Foster explains, “Wax production in your ears varies greatly from person to person”.

“Wax is your ears’ natural cleaning mechanism and is mostly made up of dead skin cells. Some people never have wax blockages forming, but for others it is a regular occurrence. This will not normally cause much of a problem until the ear canal becomes fully blocked, at which point it sounds like you have gone underwater in that ear! It is always best to have excessive wax removed before this occurs, as it is the difference between a routine and pretty urgent procedure.”

Hear Again can remove ear-wax easily and comfortably using the very latest micro-suction techniques.

This involves using a small vacuum tube to gently pull the wax out of your ear canal.

The procedure takes only a few moments and gives instant relief from a blocked ear. For anyone who has had ear syringing previously, this is very different; as it places no pressure or strain on your ear drum.

Ear blockages can also be things other than wax. Steve recalls, “We have removed many interesting things over the years: sand, insects, glitter, beads, seeds and even some 20 year old Play-Doh! Ear infections are also quite common and tend to stick around for many months if not treated correctly. These can cause itching or burning sensations in the ear and can result in a rather unsavoury discharge leaking out of the ear. Medication to cure these infections rarely work well if the ear is blocked with discharge, so removal of the blockage by micro-suction is the best way to prepare an ear for effective medication.”

The friendly team at the Hub in Hornby are happy to check your ears at no cost to see if you need them cleaned and the cost for two ears micro-suctioning is only $45. Include ear cleaning as part of your annual medical warrant of fitness.