Working alongside our audiologists and kaitautoko kiritaki - support navigator, Bronwyn is our amazing cochlear implant rehabilitationist helping adult cochlear implant users regain confidence in their communication.
Our approach to rehabilitation is holistic where a person's language and culture is valued.
Bronwyn is a speech and language therapist who is proficient in New Zealand Sign Language.
Her goal is to give our cochlear implant users the skills they need to have confidence communicating with the aid of their hearing technology.
Whether it be spoken or Sign, Bronwyn is here to support you on your hearing journey.
Beyond speech and listening therapy
Rehabilitation is being part of a person’s hearing journey, involved with them, their family, their interests and understanding why they wanted a CI, says Bronwyn.
"Often people who are hard of hearing feel quite isolated so we want them to reconnect and feel like they’re contributing to family and community and belonging again.
"I want to find out what they want to get back to doing, and what the barriers have been. It could be to reintegrate socially with family visits, returning to the workforce, going to bridge games or meeting friends at cafes again."
With this knowledge Bronwyn can help you set functional goals tailored to your individual needs.
What does rehabilitation look like?
1. Building confidence
Bronwyn begins by working with you to build your listening skills to a point where you feel comfortable using a the phone - "this takes a lot of practice."
2. Utilising technologies
Next she will identify what technologies are available to help you meet your specific goals.
"If it's returning to work, we’ll look at accessories like mini mics for meetings or better communication with background noise."
If your goal is to enjoy watching TV, she will guide you on the assisted technology available that streams sound directly to your implant.
3. Communication strategies
Finally, Bronwyn will help you do some training on strategies to support your communication.
"It might be advocating for yourself in terms of what you need from your workplace or your family. It could be using assisted technology, and knowing there’s a speech to text app that you can use at the doctors if you can’t hear them through the mask," she says.
"It’s not all about the listening, it’s all about effective communication strategies, when there's been a breakdown and how to repair that.
"That’s the difference between a young child who is learning to hear with a cochlear implant, and an adult who has already learned language - whether it be spoken or sign language - and how they can now use their cochlear implant to support them in their communication."
Rehabilitation is more than training your implant, ear and brain to interpret the new sound, it's about enjoying your new hearing.
"I love it when someone tells me they’re attending their first social events since their hearing got to the point that hearing aids don’t help anymore.
"For me, success is knowing that they feel confident to attend these sorts of events again or have returned to chairing their local bridge club or running a coffee group at their retirement village, where before it was easier to isolate because communication was too hard. It really is about quality of life.”