The Big Decision. Part 1.

Most everyone that I am acquainted with knows that I was, at some point, a person with hearing loss. Heck, there’s a lot of people that I don’t know who are aware that I had a hearing loss. But when I started blogging over a year ago, I had already made a decision. I would definitely have a Cochlear Implant surgery, and I had even, 6 months prior to this, begun the very long process of awaiting approval for it through a state program.

What most people don’t know about me, is that making the decision to get a Cochlear Implant was not an easy one. It was actually one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made.

And this is the story about my decision.

I grew up hearing perfectly normal, as most of you know by now. I don’t know at what age that my hearing began going downhill, as gradual as it did, but I was very protective of it. I started realizing in my early twenties that people around me, ones who knew me well, started slowly making accommodations for me. They stopped calling out to me to grab my attention, but rather started tapping my shoulder or waving their hand so that I looked at them. My immediate family and in-laws all knew my dad, and I know that they recognized the same hearing loss signs in me.

The weird thing was that I didn’t. Or rather, I refused to. For reasons that delve into my own spiritual life, reasons that I won’t go into right now, I’ll just say that I unrealistically thought that if I didn’t talk about my hearing loss, that it wouldn’t be there. That it would just go away. And it took a very long time for me to understand that, by refusing to deal with the situation, I caused a lot of unintentional stress on myself, my husband, and our whole family.

For years, my mom had gently prodded me to go get my hearing checked, to at least consider hearing aids, and I just adamantly refused to do so. I will admit that part of me was still growing up. I still knew everything (although once I hit 25, I realized that I really didn’t know it all) and I was adverse to doing something that my parents were telling me to do. Know now that anyone who gives an adamant opinion that something should be done one way, means that I will find a way to do it differently. It’s kinda funny, yes, but it’s also something that’s just ingrained in me, and I’ve had to work very hard over the years to change my attitude behind that.

I remember going to a local Jone’s Hearing Center for my first hearing test as an adult. I was only about twenty-one or so. The first thing they did was give me a hearing test. I honestly feel sorry for the guy who did my test. After I came out of the testing room, he sat me and my husband down at a table, and showed us the chart that showed my results. Any control I had over my emotions went out the window with the first glance of that chart. By the time he told me I had a severe hearing loss and that hearing aids would only help minimally (in his opinion), I had completely given up on controlling the tears. The man stepped out of the office and my husband just rubbed my back as I broke down in uncontrollable emotions. I didn’t get hearing aids that day or any day following. I couldn’t even bring myself to think about my loss for some years after, much less deal with a hearing aid that I was told wouldn’t really help.

Skip a while down the road to when I had both my children, some six years later. I’ve written before about the time I finally realized I couldn’t hear my son laugh anymore. It was the final straw for me, and my hearing loss. I knew at that point, that whatever I had to do to hear even the slightest bit better, I would do it. There’s something to be said about a mother and her natural instinct to want to protect her kids. And I knew without doubt that it was my first purpose behind the motivation I suddenly acquired.

This time around, I went a different direction. Instead of walking into Jones Hearing Center, I went to an ENT (Ear/Nose/Throat) doctor. In case you’re in the dark here, I had previously only been to an Audiologist for that first hearing test. An Audiologist is not a medical doctor. A person gets a doctorate in Audiology, which is a technical field, not a medical field. An ENT, however, is a medically licensed practitioner who deals with hearing loss, in conjunction with other related issues. Don’t ask me why I didn’t go to the ENT the first time. My only thought is that I was just not as educated in the matter before then.

At the ENT’s office, I was sent out for an MRI and bloodwork, in a failing attempt to find a medical solution as to why I had a hearing loss. At twenty-seven years of age, I returned to the doctor’s office to hear the results of the tests, and it was then that I was finally diagnosed with the worst classification of hearing loss. They told me I had what is termed Profound Hearing Loss.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

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