A 27-year-old Khayelitsha man who has been deaf for most of his life, became the 1 000th person treated with cochlear implants at Tygerberg Hospital.
Athule Mgodeli lost his hearing as a result of pneumococcal meningitis at the age of 10. He was diagnosed with a profound sensori-neural hearing loss in both ears, which meant that he was deaf.
He said being deaf had affected almost every aspect of his life.
“When I was at school, I liked to read books a lot, which was how I coped with the challenges of being deaf. Sometimes people do not understand when I ask them to speak slower so I can read their lips. The cochlear implant will change my life for the better. As a deaf person, it is difficult to find work and I am hoping that this implant will offer me new, positive opportunities,” he said.
After successfully completing matric in 2015, Mgodeli obtained a certificate in project management through the National Institute for the Deaf in 2016; six certificates in computer and business management from other colleges; and recently he graduated with a qualification in digital marketing.
His mother, Nomza Mgodeli, said: “In 2005, Athule was fitted with the most powerful hearing aids, but had limited benefit from them and was still unable to hear. Athule had to adjust from functioning as a normal hearing child to suddenly being in complete silence.”
CEO of Tygerberg, Dr Matodzi Mukosi, said the surgery represented a milestone for the hospital.
“This is an exciting time for the whole hospital, celebrating World Deaf Awareness Month at the same time as it is implanting its 1 000th cochlear implant patient,” said Mukosi.