Auditory Implant Service

Lindsey Baker reflects on nearly 10 years of having a cochlear implant

Lindsey Baker (nee Wilmshurt) first wrote about her cochlear implant journey in 2005 when she was 15 years old and had just had her surgery. You can read about her thoughts at the time here

We asked Lindsey if she would tell us about her life now that she has had her cochlear implant for nearly 10 years. Here is what she had to say…

Wow, has it really been 10 years since I had my cochlear implant? How time flies!

Hi, Im Lindsey Baker, I wrote a story back when I was 15 years old, under the name of Lindsey Wilmshurst, about my experience of the operation and the story of how I adjusted to this amazing peice of technology.

Well, what can I say, I’ve experienced so much the past decade its hard to know where to begin! I think I shall start by telling you, after the difficult year of not hearing anything and struggling through my mock exams, I am so pleased to announce I passed my GCSEs with flying colours, I recieved all As, Bs and Cs, including an A*

One of the main things all my family and friends noticed upon my self being after having my cochlear implant was my confidence soared. Also, I matured very quickly after being accustomed to the life of everyday sounds and understanding life better than I ever did before.

From there on, I went through life doing all the things every normal hearing person does, I went to college, I made lots of friends, I socialised and dated, I worked in a busy salon with many lovely customers at ease, then moved on to resturants, working tables and behind the bar, confidently chatting away to all the customers and colleuges.

I then met my ex-husband through a club I also joined through my new found confidence to hear and join in with groups of people. We married, and had two beautiful children named Riley and Imogen.

Life with children was no different than any others, the only difficulty I found was at night time when I would remove my cochlear implant and therefore be plunged straight back into the silent world. Whereas I enjoyed the peace of not hearing all the usual background noises, it proved difficult for when my son would cry out for his night feeds, or the worry of the alarm going off and I cannot hear it. Alas, I didnt need to worry, I got in touch with the Portsmouth City Council who put me through to the SENSORY team. They are amazing, my whole household was installed with everything I needed for a easier life. I had a pager on my trousers for when my CI would be off through the day (ie, had a shower and my hair is wet) This pager would vibrate and flash when the front door went, or my phone rang, or my baby crier got alerted my child was cying out (which picks up loud sounds made by my child who was in the room). The best part, is the pager attached to a device under my pillow which would in turn vibrate whilst I sleep.

Wow, how amazing it was, such a simple machine changed my life once again! No more relying on my husband to be my ears throughout the night, I was once again indepedent throughout.

There has been a few occassions where I have lost parts to my cochlear, or where my coil has been overtwisted and it has stopped working. It is unfortunate that the Universirty of Southampton Auditory Implant Service is so far away for me to travel at ease, (I am based in Portsmouth) however the SOEIC team work fast and posts out the essential part I need straight away, so I am never without my CI for more than a day or two.

My eldest Riley is aided with two safari hearing aids, he was born hearing but suddenly became mild hearing loss at the age of 2, and had a quick and gradual loss over the months. He has now reached severe and has been quite steady for the past two years. He copes extremely well with his hearing aids and he is lucky to beable to hear very much with them at the time being.

I would definately consider a cochlear implant for Riley in the future if his hearing level dropped to profound. I have experienced first hands life through hearing aids wih profound hearing loss, and it is not very good. Howver, at this current time, I feel he is benefiting very well from his hearing aids so I would keep things as they are.

Where am I now? Im 24 years old, will be the big 25 soon! My children have grown into confident, cheeky and very loving little people, who have many friends. They are both very good with me when I have my CI off, they will resort to slowing their speech down and opening their mouths more so I can lipread, and do a few signs in sign language aswell. Unfortuantly I seperated from their father, however I have moved onto a new life with my partner and I am very pleased to end this ‘catch up’ story on a very happy note.

My life has certaintly had its ups and downs, I am a very upbeat and positive person and never take anything for granted. If you ever asked me to tell you the highlights of my life, other than many many memories of my children, I would always say, the 28th May 2004, the day of my cochlear implant operation, the day that changed my life forever.