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May 18, 2005

Woman who lost $6,500 hearing device asking for help to find it

From: Dallas Morning News - TX,USA - May 18, 2005

By RICHARD ABSHIRE / The Dallas Morning News

Jolene Arnold hopes someone will give her back the gift of sound.

The 26-year-old recreational therapist was skating with a young client at the Westlake Skating Center in Garland on Saturday when she fell and lost the speech processor that transmits sounds to her cochlear implant. Without the lightweight device that fits behind her ear, she is trapped in a silent world.

"I lost my hearing at the age of 4 due to spinal meningitis and a high fever," Ms. Arnold said in an e-mail. "I am profoundly deaf, and only the cochlear implant works for me."

She learned to play the violin when she was 10 by feeling the vibrations.

When she was 12, cochlear implants became available, and her playing improved dramatically.

The first model was cumbersome, with a box she wore under her clothes.

She went without hearing at her prom because the box wouldn't fit under her dress.

And she left it behind when she played varsity tennis in high school and her first year in college.

"I was so excited when the ESPrit 3G came out because it was behind-the-ear only and I didn't have to wear the big box anymore," she said.

The small ESPrit 3G speech processor costs about $6,500, and her insurance might not cover a replacement.

Ms. Arnold graduated from Texas Tech University in 2000 with a degree in recreation therapy and works for the city of Dallas, helping people with disabilities. She also works with private clients.

"Please tell the people if they have my implant to please return it because I really need it to hear and not being able to hear makes everything hard, especially communicating at work and being able to understand my clients that have special needs," she said. "I have relied on my cochlear implant for 14 years and to suddenly not have it is a big change in my life. It takes away my ability to enjoy things that hearing people take for granted."

Anyone with information can contact Ms. Arnold at or call 469-233-0890.

E-mail or call 972-272-6591, ext. 244

© 2005 The Dallas Morning News Co.