WHEN Josie Woods was just two years old, she lost hearing in her left ear.
Her hearing declined significantly over the years and by 2010, Josie was profoundly deaf.
Two years ago, the now eight-year-old was fitted with a cochlear implant; a so called ‘‘bionic ear’’ that mimics normal hearing.
Since then, life for little Josie who attends Kurmond Public School is much easier.
‘‘Josie can attend a mainstream school, which is great,’’ her mother Rachel said.
‘‘She is also now able to better concentrate and communicate.
‘‘Life is completely different for our whole family and the school has just been fantastic in supporting Josie.’’
Josie’s only one child to have benefitted recently.
Now hundreds of other hearing-impaired children and adults can benefit from implants with the opening of the seventh Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre (SCIC) at Penrith.
The new clinic was opened last month by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales, is one of the largest and most respected cochlear implant programs in the world.
“The establishment of this service in Penrith will drastically improve services for deaf people in the Greater Western area of Sydney and the Blue Mountains,’’ the centre’s CEO Rob McLeod said.
For the past four years, patients from the Hawkesbury and surrounding areas have had to travel to Glenmore Park or Gladesville for general and specialised services.
“With demand increasing, we are now pleased to be providing a comprehensive service in the local area,’’ Mr McLeod said.
SCIC is a not-for-profit charitable organisation that receives some government funding for cochlear implant devices, but relies on corporate and community support to fund centres such as SCIC Penrith. Donations to SCIC are tax deductible. For further information or to make a donation visit www.scic.org.au.
“The opening of our Penrith clinic makes the services we provide more accessible to more people. It is a vital addition to our growing ‘family’, ensuring we continue to be the world leader in the provision of communication for the hearing impaired using cochlear implants.”