The Channel 4 documentary Breaking The Silence: Live which aired this evening at 8pm proved to be emotional viewing, especially for me, having gone through the same experience early last year.
I identified with so much of what the patients talked about, not only about their medical diagnosis, but with their feelings of isolation, loss of character and confidence and deterioration of their relationships with loved ones.
Feeling left out from social situations has a massive effect on your self confidence and character, it takes away your feeling of worth and makes you feel as if you have no positive contribution to make to society. No person should have to feel like this.
Several patients said “I just want to hear him/her/my family” and it broke my heart. It is exactly what I said during my own activation. The look on their faces and their wide beaming smiles when they were switched on and they could hear voices was just incredible.
It was their miracle.
There was a common consensus that hearing your own voice on activation is a weird thing, and I can testify to that. My own voice sounded so different to how I had imagined it and took longer to adjust to, now it just sounds “normal”.
Talking of how speech sounded, I too thought everyone sounded like a Chipmunk or a high pitched (but tinny), giggly schoolgirl and it gave me a lot of laughs for a few days!
The way the documentary explained cochlear implants was well handled, so many people do not understand exactly what it is despite several attempts to explain. By providing visual evidence as well as detailed verbal explanations, they managed to get the intricacies of the implant across and I’m sure it’ll be of much benefit to those going through the Cochlear Implant process or considering an implant, as well as removing or at least reducing the stigma attached to hearing loss, so kudos to channel 4 for that.
Looking at my Twitter feed, it has been positively received by all, both those with hearing impairments and those with “normal” hearing. Hopefully this will raise further awareness of hearing loss and the traumatic effects it can have on lives.
I only hope that the NICE criteria currently used in the UK to determine whether a patient is eligible is reviewed in light of this documentary. The criteria applied is too restrictive. The fact that only 5% of people in the UK that need an implant have recieved one speaks for itself.
Well done Channel 4, I’m so proud and priviledged to be one of the (approx) 11,000 people in the UK with a Cochlear Implant and I hope many, many more people continue to benefit from this amazing peice of technology.
As one twitter account stated, the NHS staff are our unsung heroes.