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Nanna s happy to hear politicians again
Nanna's happy to hear politicians again

She might be 98 but that has not stopped great-grandmother Rose Di Stefano embracing modern technology, especially if it means being able to hear again.

Known by her five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren as Nanna-Dear, she has become WA's oldest recipient of a cochlear implant, allowing her to hear clearly for the first time in 20 years.

Once considered only suitable for children born with virtually no hearing, implants are increasingly being used in older people who have progressively lost their hearing and find that hearing aids barely help.

Mrs Di Stefano said she wanted to maintain her independence but had become frustrated at not being able to hear, particularly in her left ear, since she was 75.

"I was used to hearing people and when I couldn't any more it was awful and I didn't want to be deaf," she said.

"I heard about a woman in her 30s who had a cochlear implant and I went to an ear specialist and asked if I was too old to have one. He said I was in good health, so why not?"

Her daughter, Angela Allen, said the results were almost instant when the external part of the device, a speech processor, was turned on after the surgery.

Audiologist Gemma Ivey said Mrs Di Stefano's progress had been remarkable.

"Rose has taken everything in her stride and already understands speech without visual cues."

Mrs Di Stefano said she could now enjoy her favourite pastime of watching Federal Parliament on TV. "I love listening to the politicians fight and now I don't have to turn it up really loud," she said.