Greetings from Cairns! I’m on my way for a behind-the-scenes look at Cochlear Technology!

After enduring below-freezing temperatures in Canberra, the capital of Australia, I decided to fly up north to the tropical coast of Queensland. I’m staying at a backpackers’ hostel right next to the beach, enjoying a few lazy days to read and soak up some sun.

On Sunday I’ll head out on a boat to snorkel at 3 sites in the Great Barrier Reef! Then I’ll fly to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory, and spend a week camping in Kakadu National Park to finish off my trip.

There’s so much I could share from the past few weeks, but I’m particularly excited about one highlight that I’d like to share: touring Cochlear Limited!

Although the Cochlear Americas office is in Colorado, many people don’t know that Cochlear’s global headquarters are actually located just north of Sydney.

Why Australia, you might ask? It’s simple: that’s where it all began.

A bit of history

As you may know, Graeme Clark invented the world’s first multi-channel cochlear implant in 1978. He performed the first implant surgery in East Melbourne, successfully giving Rod Saunders the gift of sound.

Clark continued to study and develop the technology and practices surrounding cochlear implants, and in 1985 his invention became the first multiple-electrode cochlear implant to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration—or any world regulatory body.

Today, over 450,000 people of all ages, across more than 100 countries, now hear because of Cochlear. It is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions.

Visiting the headquarters

When I first decided to travel through Australia, I knew that visiting the Cochlear headquarters would be a bucket-list experience.

Thankfully, my awesome boss Marilyn and her Australian counterpart, Julia, were able to make it happen! I not only got to visit the office, but I was able to tour the production facilities where Cochlear™ Implants are made.

Here’s a quick video explaining the different components of a Cochlear Implant:

While I was there, I got to watch a team of brilliant people building the internal components—that is, the implants and the electrodes.

The entire process was conducted in a sealed room, with the employees wearing full-body gear and masks to maintain a sterile environment. Since each step of the process requires incredible precision, many of the steps took place under microscopes or within machines.

As we watched each step unfold (from the other side of the window, of course), I was in awe of how many different steps go into creating each and every implant.

(Unfortunately I found out that Cochlear™ Baha® technology is created in Sweden, so I wasn’t able to see my own implant being built. A future trip, perhaps?)

After the tour, Julia showed me around upstairs and introduced me to several members of the Cochlear Limited team. Everyone was incredibly welcoming!

I am so grateful to all the people who have a passion for helping others hear—and that includes everyone who works at Cochlear. Their efforts have made an immeasurable impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals, including myself. I loved getting to meet a few of them and express my gratitude in person!

A happy conclusion

Here comes what is arguably the most difficult part of an amazing trip—the end.

This has been an incredible journey:

  • I’ve visited Auckland, Coromandel, Tongariro, Rotorua, Matamata, Hobbiton, Wellington, Adelaide, Mount Gambier, the Grampians, the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Canberra, Cairns, Port Douglas, and Darwin.
  • I’ve traveled across two countries via plane, train, boat, kayak, light rail, rental car, bus, and on foot.
  • I’ve visited five of Australia’s seven states.
  • I’ve stayed in houses, hostels, hotels, and campgrounds.
  • I’ve met kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koalas, dingos, kelpies, cockatoos, parrots, and kookaburras.
  • I’ve met so many people, and made memories that will last a lifetime!

I’m sad to know that my time in Australia is almost up, but I’m excited to return home to my friends and family.

I want to express my thanks to Cochlear for allowing me to blog about my experience traveling as a Cochlear™ Baha® 5 recipient! I’ve had such a great time, and I hope these posts will be a helpful resource for other Baha recipients interested in travel.

If you’d like to learn more about how to travel with a Baha processor, log in or activate your Cochlear Family account to find valuable information and tips for packing, traveling, and exploring new places.

Until the next adventure, I’m signing off!


Read more of Skylar’s hearing down under journey:

Hearing Down Under! Step 1: Preparing for International Travel with a Cochlear™ Device

Hearing Down Under! Step 2: Navigating Airports, Rental Cars, and Unfamiliar Accents with a Cochlear™ Baha® Sound Processor

Hearing Down Under! Step 3: Hiking, Biking, and Other Outdoor Activities with a Baha® Sound Processor

Hearing Down Under! Step 4: How a Cochlear™ Baha® Sound Processor Can Help You Make Friends Abroad

Hearing Down Under! Step 5: I lost my sound processor. Here’s how I used the Baha® 5 Smart App to find it

Hearing Down Under! Step 6: Making Music a Part of the Journey

Skylar Mason
As a journalism student, Baha recipient, and Anders Tjellström Scholarship winner, Skylar is excited to join the team at Cochlear as an intern to tell the stories of other CI and Baha recipients! She attends the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.