Robert’s Story

 This month’s cochlear implant recipient story is of Robert Frith who has had an extreme loss of hearing in both ears since he was born which was not found until he was about 8 years old. He was not able to benefit from any hearing aid through his life as his loss was in the range that normal aids did not help, so he went through life with no lip reading classes. Robert was an RH (Rhesus factor) baby and was not given a blood transfusion quickly enough, hence the damage. Robert found primary school very hard but as the years went by he developed ways to cope and eventually improved at school work by reading a lot and he developed his own form of lipreading.

He has completed a University degree in Mechanical Engineering and went on to obtain his PHD in Engineering. He has also lectured in front of University students. He entered the workforce where his life was not easy either, where people did not understand his problem with telephones and group meetings etc. But he still hung in there and is now running his own consulting firm.

Robert has only had the cochlear implant for 3 years and even then the road has been very hard for him to learn to use the implant, not having heard so many things his whole life. He had never heard a cat meow or birds sing, but now he can. He commented “what is that awful noise” and after being told it was a crow, he said he was glad he hadn’t heard it before!

Throughout his life he always remained positive and thought that he was lucky because he could see things and enjoy the smiles on his children’s faces even if he couldn’t always hear them.

Robert’s advice to others: “Would be not to give up and not to let people tell you that you can’t do something” as Robert has proven you can go all the way in life and be happy.

Kindly contributed by Robert’s wife Ruth

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