Sue Walters: NSW's first cochlear implant recipient

Posted in Cochlear Implant stories

In August 1984, at 22, Sue Walters became the first cochlear implant recipient in NSW thanks to a Sydney University research grant.

Shortly after Sue helped establish CICADA Australia Inc., a group to support people interested in having the implant. Today she is the group's President and the organisation has grown to one which supports all hearing impaired Australians to find the right technology for them. From hearing aids to implantable devices.

In April 1984 Sue contracted meningococcal meningitis leaving her profoundly deaf.

She struggled to lip-read and cope with everyday conversation and was in denial when she realised she was permanently deaf. Three weeks after surgery, Sue was switched on to sound again after six months of silence. Over the years with advances in technology she has had her external sound processor upgraded, so her hearing is actually getting better even though she is getting older. (Many people think that cochlear implants are only for children, but thousands of older people, even in their 90s whose hearing has deteriorated beyond the help of conventional hearing aids are having implants and are switching on to life again).  Sue is the Clinical Support Officer at Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre (SCIC)