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May 17, 2005

Missing cochlear implant leaves woman in silence

From WFAA - Dallas,TX,USA - May 17, 2005


Recreational therapist Jolene Arnold helps people with disablities get more out of life.

She's also deaf, but for years has been able to partially hear thanks to a cochlear implant.

"It helps me hear sound," Arnold said. "It helps me read lips better."

But last week, Jolene's world went quiet while she was rollerskating in Garland. Jolene was skating with one of her clients—an autistic child—and when she took a tumble, she lost the earpiece for the cochlear implant.

Despite a search, announcements and even a reward, no one turned the earpiece in.

The device processes sound, sends signals to the auditory nerve and lets someone hear.

Professor Philip Loizou said this device opens up new worlds for the hearing-impaired, so losing it is like going deaf all over again.

"Actually, it's much worse," Loizou said. "Because you lose your hearing gradually, (but) in this case it's sudden, so it's much more dramatic."

Jolene can still read lips, but can't hear her clients, fire sirens and music—and can no longer hear herself speak.

"It helps me function every day," she said.

Arnold hopes someone will realize what the device is, and return it.

She doesn't have the $10,000 needed to buy another, and until she does Jolene's world will again be silent.


© 2005, WFAA-TV