I am an 84 -year-old deaf widow
living on my social security and working as a volunteer helping the Deaf and
Hard of Hearing to cope with their hearing loss. I have recently been the
recipient of a cochlear implant. No hearing person could possibly understand the
miracle of hearing birds and being able to carry on a conversation with people
that the cochlear implant provides.
I have lived in that so called "quiet world" since early
childhood, and hearing things now that I canít identify is an ongoing
One thing that has been so great is hearing automobiles. I have a hearing
dog that I walk every morning and it has been scary as the road is narrow and
many cars come down the hill very fast.
I could not hear them coming until now.
It is such a relief to be able to tell when a car is coming before it is
right beside me.
Something funny happened too. I
kept hearing women's voices talking on and on.
I got tired of hearing them and wished they would stop.
Finally, at home, where there were no women to be talking, I realized
that my shoes squeak and when I stop moving the voices stop.
There are three parts to a cochlear implant.
The operation where an electronic device is surgically placed just under
the skin in the mastoid bone. This
operation is performed by a surgeon while the patient is under anesthesia. There
is a period of about six weeks when the incision is healing. There is no hearing
left at all in that ear. It is a
permanent implantation. The
decision to have this done is not made lightly.
Many factors have to be considered before the final decision is made.
The day the external part of the implant is attached is a day to be
remembered for many long years. It
is exciting, fearful, with high expectations in spite of many people giving the
advice of "donít expect too much too soon". Then the wonderful words
"can you hear me speaking to you?" loud and clear.
This is a very happy day.
Mapping. I have no idea where that term came from but this is where a
highly trained audiologist works with a computer to "map" your
implant. The first one is confusing
and sometimes amusing but so important. Mapping
must be done with the audiologist over a period of weeks until you are both
satisfied that you are getting the most out of this implant.
People change, health can change, many environmental things can change
the mapping, so having a good audiologist who learns about you and what you are
trying to achieve Is very important.