Christmas is hear
DANIELLE Cooper will be able to hear the sleigh bells ringing this Christmas.
The 13- year- old Albany resident is looking forward to summer now she has two cochlear implants.
‘‘It’s absolutely incredible,’’ she says. ‘‘My world has completely opened up.’’
Danielle was diagnosed as deaf at six months old and has relied on hearing aids ever since.
But she started developing lesions on her ears when she was 11 and the devices became painful to wear.
Earlier this year she stopped wearing her right hearing aid altogether and decided to look into cochlear implants.
Fast forward through numerous audiology appointments and she was accepted for surgery on her right ear for August 20, then the left for November 5.
Now Danielle is enjoying sounds which she had never been able to hear, such as the clock ticking, frogs and birds, the purring of her three cats and the school assembly.
Danielle can now hear even while swimming, thanks to the waterproof Aqua+ accessories.
She and her family go away on their boat every year and she says the implants will change her whole summer.
‘‘So many of my friends have pools and I’ve never been able to go and fully participate,’’ she says. ‘ ‘ Last summer was very lonely and I lost a lot of important information and contacts.
‘‘Now I can go swimming and talk to everyone. It’s not going to be so isolating.’’
Danielle has already been to the beach with friends to test it out and says it was one of the best moments of her life.
‘‘Going under the water was incredible,’’ she says. ‘‘I could hear water squirting around the implants, waves crashing and the bubbles. I was included and I could hear people.’’
Mum Tracey Cooper says it will be great for Danielle to be able to relax around water because the hearing aids weren’t waterproof.
‘‘She can be more spontaneous around water,’’ Tracey says.
‘‘We were always worried with the hearing aids in rain or if someone had a watergun.’’
Even without the Aqua+ cover the cochlear implants are water resistant and will work after being left to dry out.
‘‘It’s a whole new set of ears,’’ Tracey says.
‘‘She can hear people read their stupid cracker j okes out and laugh at them.’’
‘ ‘ I couldn’t be happier,’’ Danielle says. ‘‘It was the best decision of my life.’’
Never happier: While making the decision to get cochlear implants was tough and scary, Danielle Cooper says it was the best decision of her life.
She’s unstoppable: Having two cochlear implants means Danielle Cooper can do all the things she loves, such as gymnastics, without feeling left out.