Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cochlear Implant

I want to hear!

I can’t stand my hearing aids. I have reached the point where I can’t hear anything but static even with the multiple adjustments I have received.  My wife and I went out to dinner the other night and I wore my hearing aids so she wouldn’t have to sign all night long.  She gets tired signing and at times I do too. But I had to keep asking her to repeat what she said.  I was so pissed that I ripped my hearing aids out and put them in my pocket.  It is so much easier for me to lipread with no hearing aids or sound at all.    

My ENT said it is time to consider a CI (cochlear implant).  By the time this gets posted I will have had my CI evaluation, which is the determining factor.  I didn’t qualify at the last evaluation because the audiologist wasn’t thorough and the doctor simply didn’t want me as a patient.  I just learned a new hearing term called auditory fatigue. My hearing gets really bad as the day progresses, so having a CI evaluation at 3 pm rather than in the morning makes more sense.  

Even after I get a CI,  I will still consider myself deaf.  Please understand that a CI doesn’t fix me. I will not hear the way a hearing person does. I want to continue signing and participating in Deaf culture.  But the CI is a better device than my hearing aids if I want to participate in hearing culture. Here are the reasons I want a CI:

1.  I want to hear my daughters’ voices, especially before they graduate. Fine! - my wife’s voice, too.
2.  Having a CI will open up more options as I change careers.  (BTW, my next blog post will be about my career move and hearing).
3.  I miss music.

There is some contentious conversation in deaf cyberchat about whether deaf people should have CI’s.  I have had mixed feelings, but with the progressive deterioration of my hearing over the past six months and my recent layoff, I’ve had time to reflect on my future. Getting a CI is a personal choice based on what each person needs to follow his or her particular path. The deaf community should not look down on or shun a CI recipient. People with CI’s should in turn be accepting of those who don’t want to wear anything at all. Keep signing and learning about Deaf culture.  We all have to remember that once you lose your hearing it is gone.  You are deaf. The only difference is that some people - for any number of reasons - want to use devices that will help them hear sounds.   

We are all on the same boat.
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