Robyn gave me this article as a report of her story; you can also read it on the Cochlear Awareness Network website.
"Silence is not always golden"
Renee Jones, The Aucklander, Wednesday Nov 29, 2006
"Robyn became deaf as a child. She was bullied at primary school because she was going deaf.
Many years later in life, her condition ensured she couldn't hear her baby cry and she struggled for recognition at work. The 45-year-old, from Northcote, began losing her hearing as a child and by 31, it disappeared completely.
But her life changed dramatically in 1993 when she became one of the first people in New Zealand to undergo a cochlear implant. Suddenly, the silence was broken. Robyn could hear again. Within three years her life changed beyond recognition. She was promoted at work, her salary doubled, she became more confident, happy, and her social life flourished.
She wants more people to have access to the life-changing technology. 'As soon as it was switched on the difference was amazing, I could hear things I had never heard in my life before. Nobody should be deaf in this day and age. Nobody should suffer. This changes the lives of deaf people so dramatically. It's the best thing since sliced bread.'
'I love the sound of a felt-tip pen or pencil on paper. People take it for granted but I'd never heard it before. It gives you a greater appreciation of sound.'
There are more than 100 people waiting for cochlear implants in NZ, but the government funds only about 27 operations a year. Although funding was provided for 20 additional implants this year, many people are forced to pay for the $45,000 operation themselves.
The Pin Drop Foundation was launched this month to help raise funds and awareness for cochlear implants. New Zealand manager for the company Cochlear, Jeremy Rosser, says they are vital. 'We need to raise awareness of cochlear implants and ensure individuals know the options available. We also need to encourage various sources of funding so more people, especially adults, can take advantage of the latest technology. "
For further information on the PinDrop Foundation, phone the 021 757 423 or see http://www.pindrop.org.nz