Auditory Implant Service

Jack’s Story

Jack Moodie

Jack Moodie gave the following presentation at our Bilateral Audit Conference in April 2013 to explain why he decided to have a second cochlear implant.

Good morning everyone. My name is Jack Moodie and I am seventeen years old. I have been asked to try and give you some of my thoughts of my experiences and expectations about making the choice of whether or not to have the second cochlear implant.

Let me start off by giving you some of my background which led to me getting my first implant at 8 years old. I was born in San Francisco, where I was diagnosed severe to profoundly deaf at 18 months old. I was immediately put into the San Francisco Speech and Hearing Centre for two years and was given two powerful, digital hearing aids. There, I received intensive therapy on my speech and language from fully qualified Teachers of the Deaf in small classes of 5 or 6. At 3 and half years old, I moved back to England with my parents and ended up attending Mary Hare Primary School for seven years. Although I was assessed every year to see whether I needed or would qualify for a cochlear implant, my hearing was a little too good and my doctors said that I was making good progress with my hearing aids. But at 8 years old, my hearing had worsened and fell into the criteria of requiring a cochlear implant.

In February 2004, I had my first cochlear implant and had the switch-on a month later. That changed my whole life for the better as I could hear more sounds and learn more and quickly too. It was just wonderful. After primary school, I went to Mary Hare School in 2006, and have been there since then. I achieved 6 B’s, 2 C’s and a D in my GCSEs and I am now studying Mathematics, History and Business Studies for my A-Levels.

About two years ago, the SOECIC team started talking to me about the possibility of having a second cochlear implant, and I then learned about all the possible advantages as well as the disadvantages. For example, I was told that I might find it easier to discover the direction of sound, and that the quality of sound should improve. I might even be able to hear sounds which I couldn’t hear before. I was also told that the 2nd cochlear might prove a useful back-up but that the responsibility of looking after the processors would double from having the second implant. At the same time, obviously a second operation was needed which is always a risk in itself. I think that the operation is about 3 or 4 hours long.

I was warned not to expect the same benefit from the second implant as I’d had from the first. That the first implant would always remain my main and best source of sound and hearing. I was also informed that some of the patients after the switch-on were not successful; for example they could not hear anything at all for a long time with the second implant.

My parents and I discussed all of this with the wonderful team from SOECIC and I could see that it seemed better to have the second implant. When I had my first operation, we had decided to implant the marginally worse ear – my right, and keep the left ear amplified with a digital hearing aid in the hope that it would stay healthy and stimulated, so that maybe in the future, it would be available to take advantage of any development in stem cell technology. By 2011, we knew that this is still a long way off, and we decided, with the SOECIC team that it would be beneficial for me to go ahead with the second implant. I was in the middle of my AS levels at school and I knew that it would be a lot of work and commitment with my “new ear” but I was also aware that the option would be withdrawn after I turn 18, so I thought that if I didn’t do it now, I might later regret not having the second implant. So, in July 2012, I went into hospital here in Southampton for the second implant operation and I was really nervous that it might not turn out to be successful. But I knew that I was a curious listener and the first implant was so successful I was also excited…

But I’m happy to say that the operation was a success, and I was out of hospital the day after the operation itself. The results of the switch-on about a month later were also successful, as I could hear something distinctively different. After several visits to the Implant Centre where my new cochlear was adjusted and tuned by the experts, I began to hear new sounds and to notice that I was more able to identify the direction of sound. Also, I am especially beginning to notice an increase in the quality of sound, through listening to music and hearing some things with my second better than my first implant. For example, I can now hear the quiet ticking of the clock, which I cannot with my right ear alone!

Now, with nine months experience with the second implant, I have never looked back at all. At a recent assessment here in Southampton, my scores for hearing in a quiet environment are 100% in the right ear and already 79% in the left, which I think is awesome!