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October 5, 2012

Silence ends for Steven with help from new cochlear implant

From: Canterbury-Bankstown Express - Oct 5, 2012

ONE of Bankstown Council's long-serving employees can hear for the first time after receiving a cochlear implant late last month.

Steven Whitby, 45, has been deaf since birth.

He has worked for the council for 25 years at the Anzac St Depot.

Mr Whitby began investigating the possibility of a cochlear implant earlier this year and underwent surgery in September. After the implant was switched on, he celebrated in style.

"The doctor told me I shouldn't lift anything for two weeks, but I was OK to lift a schooner," he said.

"The surgery was a success and I returned home a little sore but very happy."

He said he was "scared but excited" after the implant was switched on. "Then I felt strange hearing sounds for the first time," he said.

"I'm looking forward to being able to hear my workmates and friends talk to me instead of writing notes."

The implant was originally switched on to a very low level to allow Mr Whitby's brain to get used to hearing sounds, and was later turned up louder.

Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour said the operation was a very big step for Mr Whitby, and the council had been determined to assist him every step of the way.

The cochlear implant, an Australian invention, has been in ongoing development since the 1950s. The first totally implantable specimen was received by a Melbourne patient in 2005.

© 2012 Canterbury-Bankstown Express