CD’s Ear Blog | Flashback Friday featured blogger
During the month of September, Healthy Hearing is featuring different bloggers in the hearing loss community. From those across the ocean to parents of children with hearing loss, we'll take a closer look at some of the top blogs and resources available to you! Today's article is the fifth of the series!
Meghan Watt has no recollection of what it’s like to hear normally, even though she was born with normal hearing. A case of HIB bacterial meningitis at age two caused hearing loss in her left ear and most of the right ear. Today, she’s a college student who writes CD’s Ear Blog – a collection of her thoughts about deafness, cochlear implants, meningitis, and what it’s like to be a typical college kid with a blended family and a stuffed monkey named Melody.
“My blog has always been a way to share my experiences, thoughts and feelings and to see if there is anyone else out there who might have similar experiences,” she said. “It’s also easy for my extended family to know what I’ve been doing in terms of going through the CI (cochlear implant) experience and such – they can share their excitement as they read about my journey.”
Meghan admits that she wasn’t always keen on the idea of having a cochlear implant, but a conversation she had with a middle school teacher got her thinking.
“By the time I got to high school, I was more curious about them and wondering if there was any possibility of getting sound into my left ear,” she said. “That’s when I started doing some research and reaching out to the online CI community. Unfortunately, due to having no insurance or method to pay for the surgery, it took ten years before I could finally get my first cochlear implant.”
Meghan said she visited several online CI forums, participated in HearingJourney.com’s Thursday night chats, scoured manufacturer’s websites and contacted reps from different CI companies to gather her information.
She received her first cochlear implant on March 21, 2012 and is scheduled to have the second one implanted later this fall. By the end of October, she will have bilateral cochlear implants, which she is looking forward to with great anticipation.
“It definitely took quite some time to get adjusted to the first CI,” she said. “Because it was my dead ear that was implanted, it took a while for the pathways to wake up and for my brain to realize there were sound signals coming in from the left ear. My brain was definitely confused for a couple of weeks. For a long time, everyone sounded like robots – very electronic. I kept at it though, and eventually everything all worked out.”
Having bilateral cochlear implants will provide better sound localization and help her hear speech better, especially in noisy environments. Meghan is also eager to take advantage of the Naida CI from Advanced Bionics’ technology, which includes bilateral features such as DuoPhone, QuickSync and Zoom.
“I’m sure it will be a quicker adjustment with the second implant in the right ear,” she added. “The auditory pathways are already there. Even my audiologist says I should get much improved hearing performance (with bilateral cochlear implants), so that’s what I’m hoping for! I know there’ll be an adjustment period of some sort, since it’s a different way of hearing sounds as compared to a hearing aid, but I’m hopeful it won’t take as long for things to sound more normal.”
Meghan is aware there is controversy among certain factions of the Deaf community regarding cochlear implants and is comfortable with the choices she’s made. “Some don’t approve of CIs and that’s that,” she explained matter-of-factly. “If they’re happy being Deaf, that’s great. That’s their decision. I like being able to hear what’s going on around me.”
It was her 9th grade science teacher that finally shortened her “Crazy Deafie Meggers” nickname to simply CD Meggers. “I’ve been using this nickname ever since,” she said. The Casper College student hopes to become a radiologist one day and said her readers respond to her blog with interest, excitement and a little curiosity. At the end of the day, she hopes her readers can relate to her journey. “There’s nothing wrong with being Deaf and not all Deaf people are going to embark on the same journey,” she said. “Just because there is technology available, there will still be Deaf people who do not want to take advantage of it like I do – and there is nothing wrong with that.”