Archive for June, 2011

The Big Decision Part 3

(Read Part 1 or Part 2)

There are several reasons I initially didn’t want to consider a cochlear implant (CI). I will admit that most of my issues with CI were based on facts from a decade before. But beyond that, the first and foremost reason that I didn’t want a CI was that everything that I had read told me that any hearing I had left in my ear would be destroyed upon having surgery for a CI.

When CI was recommended that day by my ENT, my thoughts were I’m only 27. To me, that’s pretty young. What if five years from now, doctors can do some sort of surgery or procedure that doesn’t kill any hearing I have left? I mean, if they destroy my hearing with a CI and it doesn’t work or I don’t like it, there’s absolutely no going back. Do I want that?

And I didn’t want that. Who would?

The other reason I didn’t want CI stemmed from the fact that I knew someone who had a CI. And from what I could tell, that person communicated about as well as I could if I had just got some hearing aids at that time. Granted, the person I knew who had a CI had the surgery done a decade before I sat in my ENT’s office that day.

Raise you’re hand if you know that technology advances nearly as fast as we breathe?!

Raise your hand if you realize that a CI is a piece of technology?!

Let’s just say both of my hands were in my lap the day I was first recommended to get CI, because I was completely oblivious to all that. And honestly? I’m very glad I chose that day to adamantly tell them no. I’d never worn any type of hearing aid in my 27 years, and I see now that it was a big step for me. The type of hearing aid I would have to wear was over the ear and a hey-look-at-me-and-my-huge-hearing-aid-so-obviously-I-can’t-hear-very-well type of thing. To someone who has worn hearing aids for years, it’s no big deal. It’s like wearing your glasses to the store on a day you don’t feel like sticking in contacts. But for me it was like wearing glasses for the very first time in public. It was a big deal.

The ENT and Audiologist I saw that day (who are not the same ones I now see for my CI) clearly thought I was a little mental in wanting only hearing aids, but I was ok with that.

I was eventually sent by DARS to an Audiologist on my side of town to be fitted for hearing aids the following summer, in 2008.

I distinctly remember walking out of the Audiologist office the day I got my first set of hearing aids. The freeway ran right in front of the office, and it was amazing to me to be able to hear cars driving by. I would later drive to a local store and jump back about three feet when I was assaulted with the noise of the doors sliding open. It was overwhelming to me.

Hearing aids helped me much more than I had expected. They really did. Looking back, I realize how much my life would have changed for the better if I’d got them after that first hearing test as an adult. Sure, they didn’t bring back every bit of hearing, but the fact that they helped at all meant that my life was better because of it. You can bet that I had a very big moment when I realized I should have said years prior to that, Who cares if anybody knows I can’t hear? I don’t! I need help, and these hearing aids will help! But me, being me, cared too much what people thought.

Let that be a lesson for you. Sometimes when we care too much about what other people think, we miss out on a better life than we could have if we just didn’t let it bother us. Something I still need to hear. Even today.