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We could be Hearoes with new app

In an Australian first, a new app has been developed to help people adjust to life with a cochlear implant.

The game-based Hearoes app is a collaboration between audiologists at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) and Brisbane-based app creator Elliot Miller.

RBWH audiology team leader Carla Rose said switching on a cochlear implant was just the first step in a long and often frightening journey, even for those who lose hearing in their later years through an accident or degeneration.

“A hearing implant is not going to replicate natural sound, so it’s a new experience for every patient, no matter the circumstances behind their hearing impairment or previous hearing level,” Rose said.

App creator Elliot Miller Photo: supplied

Patients can struggle to adjust to seemingly simple sounds such as a child’s laughter or birds in the trees, as well as social cues like sarcasm or auditory memory retention.

Miller has first-hand experience of the potential issues that emerge when one gains the ability to hear suddenly.

He was inspired to develop the app after he received a cochlear implant in December 2013 after a lifetime of deafness, but found there were few tools to help him learn at his own pace.

“Getting a cochlear implant is like being given the keys to a really fast car, with absolutely no idea how to drive it,” he said.

Miller joined Nursing Review to discuss his app and how it can help people come to terms with what is a life-changing event.

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