A Personal Cochlear Implant Story
Many stories of people who are successful using both hearing aids and cochlear implants can be found on our website at www.healthyhearing.com. We wanted to share one with you:
I am a 52 year old mom of four children. I have been a realtor for the past 19 years. Approximately a year and a half ago I began considering a cochlear implant as it was getting increasingly difficult for me to hear. I e-mailed and spoke with many people who had already obtained a CI. They all spoke so encouragingly about them. I was nervous about the surgery and about the possible surgical side effects. The surgical side effects are extremely rare yet I worried that they would happen to me!
I had an acute realization on the day I was driving with my 12 year old son. I was trying to communicate with him as usual by lip reading while driving. We were going 70 miles an hour in rush hour traffic and I was suddenly cut off by another driver. My lapse in attention was critical. It was a wonder I didn't kill us both, or my family or clients on numerous other occasions!
I had cochlear implant surgery November 20th, 2002. No side effects. No dizziness, No facial paralysis, no nausea. No pain. No metallic mouth taste. I slept a lot.....that was the extent of it.
My cochlear implant was activated (''turned on'') Dec. 18, 2002. At first it sounded like clanging bells on the side of my head. YIKES! On the other side, I still wore my hearing aid, and that seemed to be the same as before.
Over the course of several days the clanging progressed to beeps, toots, and tweets. I remember feeling discouraged and frankly, disappointed. I was unable to focus on hearing the voices of clients and friends with conflicting sounds coming in on both sides of my head. I was afraid that I might be one of the less than 1% of the population that the implant did NOT help. Discouraged.
I was urged to go on using my cochlear implant. I was promised it would get better.
It did get better. Amazingly and profoundly better. I am so lucky I had the opportunity to get this incredible device. I hear new things every day. Miraculous and wonderful things; the dogs toenails tapping on the
floor, people walking past me and softly saying hello in the hallway, and most of the time, I can locate the direction of sound! I am able to find the cordless phone in our house by the locator beep which I never even heard before! I can go to the movies now and hear almost every word! I can watch TV without captioning!
Before I had my cochlear implant, if I was riding in the car at night, people would have to face me and hold a light to their mouths so I could lip read. Now, with my cochlear implant, I can hear in the car -- usually without lip reading.
With my cochlear implant, in the majority of listening situations, I am able to have conversations with clients, other realtors, lenders, and lawyers without straining. Phone usage is getting better too.
Music fills my soul. One of my favorites is Pachebel's Canon in D, recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. I can hear the different instruments exquisitely weaving in and out. The tapestry of the music is wondrous. Sometimes I think about all the things I missed before I received my cochlear implant, but most of the time I just try to appreciate what I have!
Are you considering a cochlear implant? To me, it's been an amazing event in my life and certainly the right choice. If you're a candidate for a cochlear implant, I anticipate your life will be changed through cochlear implantation in ways you cannot even imagine. For me, it has been one of the best decisions in my life.
Mark Twain once said, ''Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream.''