The Volunteer network in Denmark was initiated earlier this year and it’s already active, offering the opportunity to share that important personal recipient experience with both customers and clinicians.
When an ENT doctor brought up cochlear implants back in 2000, Erik was not interested at all. It took him another ten years before he said yes to a cochlear implant and then, two years later, he received a second. In this respect, Erik is no different from other CI candidates who try to avoid the inevitable for far too long.
Before receiving his CI, Erik was angry, unhappy, and very pushy about finding a solution for his hearing problems. The ‘new’ Erik is one enormous smile, full of laughter, and happy to talk about his experience.
So, when Cochlear Denmark asked him to help other CI candidates overcome their concerns by giving them an opportunity to talk with someone who has already had CI surgery, Erik did not hesitate. He committed to being a Cochlear Volunteer because he felt he could give something back for all the good things that had happened to him.
Life changing at work and home
Erik’s hearing difficulties held him back at school and he struggled in a varied series of jobs to the point where he feared he might have to stop working altogether. But today Erik is a happy and valued team member at an adult education centre, teaching mathematics and natural sciences.
Life at home has also improved.
“My wife used to say, ‘I got a new husband.’ And I certainly feel a change. Now I am more proactive and taking responsibilities. I am the one saying, ‘did you hear the broadcast yesterday?’ and nobody is questioning whether I did really hear it and understood it well. That is a great relief.
“I am now part of the conversations just as everyone else around me. That is freedom, that is life!”
Helping others as a Cochlear Volunteer
As a Cochlear Volunteer, Erik travels around Denmark with René Kongedam, Engagement Specialist, giving presentations, attending exhibitions and, of course, connecting with candidates.
“Often, we get a good response from the audience with statements like ‘I am no longer doubting that much… It was very interesting and inspiring to hear your story.’
“I do believe that it is important to talk with someone that actually knows what it means to get a cochlear implant. Because from that perspective, you are able to give the best possible coaching on what to do with your bad hearing.”