Meet Bruce

News story
Bruce is a Finance Officer who works for the administration team in the Perth CBD.
Bruce has glasses

Bruce joined the Department in 2003, doing a job he enjoys because every day is different.

"I approve purchasing accounts, process new credit card applications, update approvals, check delegations, help with flexi purchase enquiries and assist my supervisor with other work," he said.

"I've worked in both then Departments of Corrective Services and the Attorney General in Accounts Payables, Accounts Receivables and Purchasing – but working where I am now is my best job so far. I look forward to coming to work and catching up with my colleagues.

"Credit cards are used by a range of people in the Department, such as people who may travel to regional business areas and prisons and need meals and accommodation, prisons staff who need to buy incidentals and office staff who need stationery."

Until recently, Bruce has worked with only 25 percent hearing. He suffered hearing loss since an adverse immunisation reaction when he was a baby and used hearing aids for 40 years.

In 2016 he had a cochlear implant in one ear and last year a second in the other ear, giving him 85 percent hearing. His sister, who had the same reaction as a baby, was the first to have an implant and persuaded him to look into it.

"It's changed my life," he said. "At work I can communicate better and I no longer jump out of my skin when someone comes up behind me and pats me on the back.

"I don't have to ask people to repeat things and I understand what needs to be done straight away. I can also call people direct on the phone and some of my colleagues have said how moving it has been for them to hear my voice on the phone, which they haven't before.

"While I hear a lot better now, I do have a CapTel phone which sends people's speech to me as text on a small screen on the phone."

Bruce said the best thing about life post-implant was being able to hear his children's voices. He has a son (five) and a daughter (three). They are pictured with Bruce and his wife below left. 

"The first words I clearly heard my son say to me were 'I love you'," Bruce said. "It's wonderful to be able to hear the children playing outside and I remember how it felt to hear waves and thunder for the first time. I was waiting at the bus stop to go to work one morning when I heard a kookaburra for the first time.

"It's great being able to go to the movies and to understand about 85 percent of the dialogue instead of the 30 percent I used to understand."

A cardio boxer and keen Eagles fan, Bruce heard the roar of an Eagles grand final crowd on TV for the first time recently. He is also a cook, enjoying making healthy meals for his family, and loves watching his children's Little Dragon martial arts sessions.

Bruce is monitoring developments in hearing research and hopes the next step in his hearing recovery might be stem cell surgery. "I'll be putting my hand up to be a guinea pig," he said.

Page reviewed 13 February 2020