If traveling the world, meeting new people and learning about other cultures is your passion, being the host of a TV travel show would have to be a dream job. For CochlearTM Nucleus® 22 implant recipient, Alana Nichols, hearing loss has not stopped her from pursuing her love of adventure as the host of Taiwan’s award-winning Follow Alana. Let Alana inspire you to try all kinds of travel activities, too.

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My cochlear implant helped in turning hearing loss into an advantage

Hearing loss is something I have lived with all my life, but it is not something that has held me back from achieving my goals. Now, as the host of a TV show, I find I also can encourage others with a hearing loss to turn disadvantages into advantages and focus on working to accomplish their dreams and ambitions.

Alana is ina helicopter with a male pilot sitting along side her.

I was born in Taiwan profoundly deaf in both ears at a time when a newborn hearing screening was not routine. I received my first cochlear implant in my left ear at 2½ years old.

As an absolute extrovert, I really enjoy meeting new people, trying new activities and learning more about different cultures and lifestyles. Through the Follow Alana program, I can try all kinds of activities and having a cochlear implant does not stop me from trying new and exciting adventures.

A few of my favorite places, adventurous activities and my Aqua+

Some of my favorite activities include going to White Haven beach in Australia – it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to. I’ve been hiking with three giant, wonderful Saint Bernard dogs in Switzerland and paraglided in the Swiss Alps.

Alana sits at the bed of a river with mountains behind her. She is sitting with three very large St Bernard dogs

It was quite exciting to use the Aqua+ 1 for the first time on the show and I now use it for all kinds of water activities – kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, even abseiling down waterfalls. Before the Aqua+ I had to communicate with instructors, family or friends and take my sound processor off before participating in any water activities. I can hear in water and this is great for my show because I can communicate to the camera and do my job without worrying about my hearing or getting my sound processor wet.

As a person with hearing loss, I have learned to be over-prepared. I want to ensure I know enough about the adventurous activities we are going to do, about the environment and the person that I’m going to be speaking with. When jet boating in Australia, for example, it was hard to hear with the noise of the engine and so I made sure that I understood what the driver’s hand signals meant before leaving the shore.

There are many activities you can do as a cochlear recipient

There are some activities that, as a cochlear implant recipient, I do need to be cautious of. I avoid all activities, like skydiving or scuba diving, that could potentially damage the cochlear implant or my inner ear structure. And I avoid going too deep while swimming. But I have still been able to enjoy many activities such as snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, hot-air ballooning, helicopter rides and caving while traveling for the show.

Alana is underwater snorkeling with her Aqua+ kit

Since my work is fast-paced and requires a lot of energy, I enjoy relaxing during my own vacations without the use of any screens such as my phone and computer. I try to immerse in nature as much as I can, whether that is the mountains or the ocean, reading and spending time with good company.

Clear communication is important

The Cochlear True Wireless™ Mini Microphone 2+ has greatly enhanced my communication experiences. For someone like me, with a common cavity malformation fitted with a cochlear implant, it is extremely helpful in clarifying spoken language in noisy environments. The Mini Mic so versatile – sometimes I will use it in restaurants when talking with friends and family.

Overall my perspective on being deaf is that these are the cards that you have been dealt, so make the best use of it. Put your focus on your work, your goals, and your dreams and do what you can, one step at a time.”

Click here learn more about the Aqua+ , get out there and explore a new water adventure!

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  1. The Nucleus 6 Sound Processor with the Aqua+ is water resistant to level IP68 of the International Standard IEC60529. The water protection only applies when you use the Aqua+ and rechargeable batteries. Not compatible with the acoustic component.
  2. Follow Alana images courtesy of Aurora Digital Media Co. Ltd.
Anna Martinez
Anna Martinez is the Services and Marketing Specialist and has worked for Cochlear since 2016. She is responsible for facilitating recipient services content development and approval. Anna is a Colorado native and enjoys being outside in the beautiful weather with her husband and daughter.