The upgrade of my speech processor

Many of us take the pleasure in a silent moment, to enjoy a few minutes of quiet time from the constant noise of our daily living and to be grateful for the things we have been blessed with in our lives. However, there are some of us who given the chance to choose between silence and sound, would not hesitate choose to hear constant sound. I am one of those, allow me to introduce myself my name is Elana Solomon and I am currently a third year Occupational therapy student at the University of Cape Town.

I was upgraded with a new speech processor on 12th of March 2012.The amount of over R70 000.00 was sponsored by Dell South Africa Development Fund. The name of the new speech processor is called the Nucleus 5.

I had my old one for 10 years and it was by time to get a new one with advance technology. I am completely reliant on my speech processor and is unable to hear and communicate without a functional speech processor. The upgrading does not involve any surgical procedure, but the upgrading of the externally worn speech processor.
The Nucleus 5 speech processor is designed to be comfortable and discreet. It is up to 43 % smaller than any other speech processor. The speech processor also comes with exclusive features such as:

  • Dual microphone zoom technology designed to enhance hearing performance in noisy environments.
  • It is more water resistant meaning that I can bath with it or run in the rain without worry about it getting wet.
  • Options of different programmes-these options are now available which improve hearing in different listening environments.
  • A bi-directional remote assistant enable me to check the status of my processor, battery life and carry out necessary troubleshooting.

The cost of the new one is R76 650. My family and I embarked on a fundraising campaign to fundraise for the cost.  I asked about 90 companies for donation and within two weeks the Dell South Africa Development Fund said that they will donate R76 000. I was so overwhelmed and did not expect it to happen so fast. I was so excited that I even started to choose a colour for my new speech processor.

On the 12th of March was the big day. I went into Tygerberg Cochlear Implant Unit to have my new processor fitted on. Firstly my audiologist Jenny Perold programmed my new processor. When Jenny switched on my new speech processor, and when she started talking, it sounded very different compared to my old one. The old processor sounded like seeing through a clouded glass and when the new one was switched on it was like seeing through a clear glass.

What really stood out for me was being able to hear my own voice like never before. WOW, I was so amazed when I heard myself talking. I immediately started to correct words which was pronounced incorrectly. My family noticed immediately that I now speak a lot more slower and clearer.

It has helped me a lot in different listening situations especially listening to classmates in venues where there are significant amounts of background noises and socializing with friends in the cafeteria or malls.

The cochlear implant has improved my hearing ability, but to such an extend however, I still make use of additional support such as a FM system, a note taker, a voice recorder and a tutor, Matumo Ramafikeng to help me with my learning.  When the lecture ends it does not end there for me. I still need to read the notes, books and listen to the recordings to fully understand the content of the work.

This technology made it possible for me to study at University of Cape Town, to learn and to socialize with others and to enable me to interact with patients in practice learning sites.

I thank Dell South Africa Development Fund  for making it possible for this life changing experience.


Author: Dell Development Fund

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