How my life has been transformed by a cochlear implant, by Miss Universe hopeful Siobhan Brindley-Lewis
Posted Feb 25 2009 5:58pm
My name is Siobhan Brindley-Lewis. I am 22 years-old and become deaf aged three of meningitis.
At the age of five I had my first hearing aid and went to Percy Shurmer Primary School in Balsall Heath where things went well. But at the age of six, I found that my hearing aid didn’t work for me anymore and I couldn’t hear anything.
The doctors at the children’s hospital in Birmingham told my family about cochlear implants in Nottingham Hospital and they decided to go for it. We went to the hospital and met ENT surgeon Prof Gerry O’Donoghue, and he performed the operation when I was seven – it went really well.
After eight weeks’ recovery from the operation, we went back to Nottingham to try the cochlear implant on and have it switched on. It was loud and I could hear very clearly. I can hear much better than with a hearing aid. The first noise I heard was water running and my mum calling me.
Hazel Lloyd, a special speech therapist, stayed with me throughout my time at Shenley Court School and Sixth Form, and I had my ears tested every six months in Nottingham up to the age of 16, now just once a year.
I am very happy to have a cochlear implant because I can hear everything better, e.g. music, TV, bird song, car, fire alarms, etc. It’s also helped me to improve my speech more than the hearing aid did.
Lots of people ask me questions about my cochlear implant and how it improves my hearing. I advice them how much it has helped me, my hearing and my speech.
I thank my family and the doctors at the Children Hospital for the cochlear implant. I’ve had my CI for 17 years. It’s important to me to hear and communicate better in my life, and without it my hearing and speech wouldn’t have improved.
However, after suffering from meningitis, I have never let my hearing impairment prevent me from reaching my goal and living my dreams.
I am a qualified beauty therapist and was even awarded “Special Recognition” for progress into Higher Education in 2005. In 2007 I graduated with a degree in Beauty and Spa Service at the University of Derby/Buxton, where I had the opportunity to visit the Czech Republic, Malta and Cheltenham Chapel Spa.
I also won Miss Deaf UK “Best Evening Gown 2008” and modelled for Cancer Research. I am now a contestant for Miss Universe after securing a place as one of the 40 finalists out of 500 entrants.
I try not to let my disability stop me from doing anything and have a very positive ‘can do’ attitude. I pray to God to help me realise my dreams as life’s not easy. Even when I have experienced disappointments, I have kept focus on my goal and won through.
To help Siobhan reach the Miss Universe final, please vote for her by calling 0901 6561 55510. For voting details, please visit the Miss Universe GB website.