GRAHAM Shuttlewood thought he would have to spend Christmas in silence.
The 64-year-old Rockhampton man has battled a hearing problem since he was a baby.
"I had meningitis when I was 14 months old and by the time the doctors caught it the fever had gone through my body and affected my hearing," said Graham.
While he wasn't totally deaf, both ears suffered hearing loss, resulting in Graham wearing a hearing aid in his left ear, identified as the better of the two, for 50 years.
But earlier this year Graham decided it was time for a change.
"My hearing in my left ear had got to the stage where people had to shout so I could hear them," he said.
With his "good" ear deteriorating, and his right even worse, Graham's hearing specialist suggested he would be a suitable candidate for a cochlear implant.
The cochlear implant is a medical device attached to the temporal bone and cochlear.
It is designed to bypass damaged parts of the inner ear and send electrical stimulation directly to the auditory nerve, where it is then interpreted as sound by the brain.
In July Graham received an implant in his left ear and on August 23 was officially "switched on". "It has changed my life," he said.
"Just to be on the phone is amazing. If I hadn't done something I wouldn't have been able to keep working."
In a recent hearing test Graham achieved a 98% hearing response in his left ear. Before the implant, it had zero hearing. Graham said his wife and two children, who were there for his "switch on", were extremely happy.
"I'm looking forward to spending Christmas with my friends and family now," he said.
Graham encouraged people contemplating the procedure to "just go for it". "There's a lot to be prepared for, like it not working, but there's also a lot of benefits," he said.