Profoundly deaf student graduates University of Auckland

Nearly 6000 students will graduate from the University of Auckland this week but for one student, who was born profoundly deaf, it's a particularly proud moment.

Josh Foreman collects his well-earned Masters in Exercise Science, specialising in clinical exercise physiology.

"I strongly believe that if I didn't have my cochlear implants, I don't think it would have been possible," he told Newshub.

He had his cochlear implant 23 years ago, when he was just two-and-a-half years old. At the time he was the youngest New Zealander to ever have one.

Mr Foreman is among the first children in New Zealand who were born deaf, who have learnt to speak and hear, and are now graduating like anybody else.

"It's opened up a lot more opportunities than I think it would have opened if I was to remain deaf," he said.

It took eight years of speech and auditory verbal therapy to learn how to speak.

He initially started his studies with a reader/writer who attended lectures and took notes, but then found the confidence to go it alone.

"I've got to sit at the front of the lecture and I've got to take my own notes and learn my own way."

Mr Foreman now works as an exercise physiologist for respiratory patients, something he believes he couldn't have done without his implant and the communication skills it's given him. 

It lets him do even the simple things like taking a patient's blood pressure, with the implant enabling him to use a digital stethoscope.

Today babies are routinely screened for deafness, and around 50 are fitted with cochlear implants each year.

CEO of The Hearing House, Scott Johnston, says it makes a huge difference.

"Josh demonstrates the ability to actually develop language, get a degree and be a deaf person and go on and have a fantastic career and do anything that you wish to do," he said.

It's not been without hard work, but Mr Foreman says being deaf doesn't have to hold you back.