At Cochlear, we take pride in seeing our recipients use their Nucleus®, Baha® or Osia® system to help them succeed in their studies and reach personal goals. That’s why we’re proud to support the academic excellence of our recipients through two scholarships for tertiary study:
- The Graeme Clark Scholarship for Cochlear™ Nucleus® implant recipients
- The Anders Tjellström Scholarship for Cochlear™ Baha® and Cochlear™ Osia® implant recipients.
Meet this year’s winners, Aisling and Zakaria (Zak) and find out what life with a hearing implant is like for them as students, and what opportunities winning the Scholarship opens up.
Aisling from Cork in Ireland is a qualified swim teacher and lifeguard using a Cochlear™ Baha 5 sound processor. She hopes to be a schoolteacher and is beginning a qualification in Primary Education. Zak, who has Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 sound processors, has recently moved from Belfast to Glasgow to embark on a degree in Mathematics.
How does a hearing implant allow you to live the life you want?
Aisling: “My hearing implant allows me to feel more included and more normal with my friends. When I was younger, I always felt I was missing out on parts of conversations which felt somewhat isolating. After getting my Baha I am much more confident and more myself in public. I can hear the whole conversation now. I am happier now that I can hear everything to the fullest.”
Zak: “I believe communication and human connection enhances our experience of life. Pre cochlear implants I understood that I could communicate with people even when I couldn’t hear them, through the faces I pulled and the gestures I made. After receiving my cochlear implants, a whole other world opened to me. I could now communicate in ways that used to frustrate me and the confidence this gave me was immense. I believe I have become a confident public speaker and I have grown into a more empathetic person. My growing confidence allowed me to feel able to navigate more of the world and I decided to explore Europe on my own. I have travelled to many countries, been able to explore them on my own and communicate with people speaking different languages; something I could not have done without this technology.”
What opportunities does winning the Scholarship offer you?
Aisling: “This scholarship has opened up so many new pathways for me. I am less stressed about how will I pay for my accommodation and school fees when I am at college. The cost of living crisis in Ireland has been a major factor when considering college options and this scholarship has given me the opportunity to study at my top choice college in Limerick.”
Zak: “Winning the scholarship has enabled me to feel more confident about leaving home to study and live independently. It will help with assistive technologies I may need at university, and act as a financial security blanket that will enable me to focus on my studies.”
What would you say to someone who is considering a hearing implant?
Aisling: “I would say that I understand your hesitation, it is a big decision, but I would also say that I have never once regretted my decision to get a hearing implant. It has opened new avenues for me, and it could do the same for you.”
Zak: “Each person’s hearing journey is individual. When I was younger, I wanted to hear better, but I was scared about how my life would change and if being reliant on technology would make me feel vulnerable, however the contrary is the reality. The technology has opened up the world in a way I couldn’t have imagined. The advances in technology continue and I get excited about the research and development that is happening that will further enrich my life and so many others in the future.”
Congratulations to Zak and Aisling, we can’t wait to see where our winners’ journeys take them, and we will follow intently. We are taking a pause on awarding Scholarships with the aim of coming back soon with a new, improved offering that can benefit even more recipients. Watch this space and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.