From near silence to a sound future
Andrew Stewart grew up in a world of near-silence. Coming from a large family, each with a form of genetic hearing loss, he never new the joys of true sound until several years ago after receiving a cochlear implant through SCIC.
Fitted with hearing aids at a young age that only gave him limited assistance, Andrew’s remarkable determination to enjoy a ‘normal’ life, despite his listening difficulties, saw him lead a busy social life and work as an engineer. And yet, as his hearing deteriorated, he became increasingly exhausted after every encounter with noise; each requiring a huge amount of energy and thought in an effort to keep up with the world around him.
In 2008, Andrew made an appointment that would change his life forever. Meeting with SCIC, he shared how his deafness put him at great disadvantage, both socially and professionally.
Having been accepted into the program he chose to have the implant in his worst ear so that it would help him to cope immediately. It was depressing for him when first switched-on as his father had received a cochlear implant several years earlier and had understood speech at his switch-on, as did his brother.
It took Andrew over six months to understand speech. In that period there was no assurance of the outcome – a dark period indeed for him. SCIC was fantastic he said, scheduling him for extra appointments as much as he could manage.
During this time Andrew had one rule – if he had his hearing aid on, then he had his cochlear implant processor on as well.
Now four years into his cochlear implant journey, Andrew’s hearing is better than ever. He summed it up when he said “ It has been one of the hardest journeys of his life – but it has also been an investment in my future, which after two years started to pay dividends.”
For Andrew, frustrations are being left behind, making way for a future that he couldn’t have imagined just a few short years ago. “I’m so grateful for the support I received from SCIC and that I persevered”. From despair to joy, Andrew’s journey is one that reminds us of the uplifting, transformative, and touching power of the work of SCIC.