All my life I hear the saying, you can do anything you put your mind too! That is what I remember most about growing up. Here is a bit about how I came to choose Cochlear Implants at age 38.
I had rheumatic fever around age 3. It damaged my hearing and heart. My hearing loss is a sensorineural hearing loss.
*This means that a Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear (retrocochlear) to the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be medically or surgically corrected. It is a permanent loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss not only involves a reduction in sound level, or ability to hear faint sounds, but also affects speech understanding, or ability to hear clearly.
Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by diseases, birth injury, drugs that are toxic to the auditory system, and genetic syndromes. Sensorineural hearing loss may also occur as a result of noise exposure, viruses, head trauma, aging, and tumors.
Way back in the 70's they did not fit hearing aids for this type of loss or at least what they told my mom. It was at the age of 10 that I finally got my first hearing aid. A behind the ear(BTE) Beltone. Oh the sounds....I remember walking up and down the street to hear the birds sing. I remembered at 10 thinking oh it does not get any better than this.
I married a wonderful man at 20, went to college got my degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education, went to work at a fantastic school, had a wonderful child, finished my masters in Special Education, stayed at my fantastic school for 14 years(still there), and lost the majority of my hearing!
Around 7 years ago, I decided I could not do this anymore. The hearing loss was too great, but I did the best I could with so little hearing. I just went through my daily life. I started the process for cochlear implants in 2006. I found out I was a candidate within one day. I guess when you have 17% hearing in my left ear and 1% in my right ear, you qualify. I picked the best doctor in the world(my opinion), Dr. Ladabie at Vanderbilt Medical Center. My audiologist, Susan, is outstanding. That was the easy part. I was denied around 5-7 times from my insurance company. I had to have a fantastic organization, Let Them Hear, work to get my approval. I will write more about them later, just put it this way, they are the reason for this all.
So July 19, 2007 my dear scared husband took me to Vanderbilt and waited and waited from 6 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. All I remember is how thirsty I was. I drank 2 Sprites and wanted to go to back to sleep. The recovery was very hard. I tried to push myself into recovery from bilateral surgery in 5 days. I was back to school on the 29th of July.
Activation was the 8th of August - one day before the start of school. I wish I recorded my activation, but I really did not know what to expect. I just wanted to be able to hear my child talk, the rest was just gravy. There is not a word in the English language to describe what happen. All I know is my life has changed - - - completely!!
How completely has my life changed. I can talk to Jenna without turning around. I can hear the music as she dances at recitals and class. I can listen to music with an ipod. I have not enjoyed music in 20 years. I can have a conversation with my husband and understand him. I can continue to do the career I love so much, teach.
As I continue to write these blogs, I will share about me, my family, friends and fantastic CI group. With this New Year, I am so thankful for each day and the new sounds and enjoyment of renewed happiness.