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Apii Joseph

58, Mangere

I started losing my hearing 40 years ago and over the years it got worse, and worse and worse. Eventually my hearing loss was so severe and profound I could no longer hear with the help of hearing aids.

Communicating was really difficult and I had to rely on lip reading. This was not perfect, as I often misunderstood the conversation and would answer the wrong thing. This had an impact on my career too and I was often subjected to workplace bullying, teasing and being called stupid and dumb. It was so demoralizing.

When people found out I had a hearing loss it was like they didn’t want to know me. I would laugh at jokes and they would say, ‘what are you laughing at? You can’t hear’.

My life changed completely 3 years ago when I got my cochlear implant. It gave me the strength to speak up, join in conversations and to get out and socialize. I especially love going to the markets on a Sunday, catching up with friends there and exploring the stalls.

I can also now enjoy my grandchildren, and I love hearing their laughter and stories, it brings me so much pleasure to be an active part of their lives now.

The CI also opened up a new world of sounds I had not heard for so long, like the sound of raindrops, waves crashing on the beach and birds singing. I’m also able to enjoy music once again, a simple pleasure I thought I would never hear again.
Life is good now.