iPhone app helps partially-deaf Diane to hear

By Sam Cooper | 03/11/2017

iPhone app helps partially-deaf Diane to hear
Diane Matthews, who has been fitted with a new hearing aid which can be controlled through her iPhone, is pictured with husband Peter and daughter Florence. 171841-2

A PARTIALLY-deaf mum hopes to be able to hear her daughter’s voice properly for the first time after being given a specialist hearing aid linked to her mobile phone.

Diane Matthews, who is also keen to hear her husband perform in his brass band, has been unable to hear properly for 20 years. She also suffers with tinnitus.

But now, the mum-of-one from Moorgate can control her hearing through Apple devices thanks to an implant embedded in her ear, connected to an innovation called the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor.

With time, the technology should not only enable her to pick up a greater range of sounds than she would with hearing aids, but also allow her to transmit phone calls and music to her brain through an iPhone or iPad.

She is one of the first people in the UK to test out the technology, which was trialled at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

“It’s very early days and everyone has a different hearing history and audiograms so reactions to sound are different,” Diane said.

“When I haven’t heard some sounds for so long the initial set-up feels strange, as you are hearing something you can’t remember or it’s so long ago that you are feeling uncertain.”

Diane’s implant was switched on earlier this month, but it will be several weeks before she notices a major difference.

She was able to hear some speech immediately after the switch on, but her hearing will become clearer in time as she adjusts to pitches and tones.

“Even after just a few days, I’m picking up more noises than at switch-on,” she said.

“I met a friend who has a cochlear implant and could hear more of the conversation. 

“While talking, I clicked my fingers while describing something and we both looked stunned at each other - we heard it.

“A simple thing like that we don’t hear and everyone takes for granted. It’s the little things in life.”

Diane said she was looking forward to finally being able to enjoy the music of her husband, Peter, a percussionist for Grimethorpe Colliery Band and hearing the voice of her 11-year-old daughter Florence.

Despite getting the new technology, Diane said she remained committed to her campaign for hearing tests to incorporate background noise.

She added: “I am still campaigning for this change as it’s life-changing and others need to be able to access this technology who desperately need it when hearing aids are no longer beneficial to them.”



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