Ilene - Cochlear Awareness Network Volunteer
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Five years ago, on what was an ordinary night, I went to bed only to awaken to a problem that would forever change my life. I was unable to hear on one side and the other had lost a significant amount of hearing. Many doctor appointments. Not too many answers -- it was random - won't happen again - one in a milllion - blood tests, medications, but still no hearing. Slowly I embarked on hearing aids. They helped but I was still struggling as it was not so much the volume I needed but the clarity of what was being said that eluded me.
Almost three years ago, I awoke from an uneventful night to once again lose hearing. The good ear was now a bad ear too - sound was gone and hearing aids were not able to bring it back. More drugs, high doses of steroids millions of hearing tests - by now I had memorized the word lists. But nothing changed. Depressed, angry, frustrated...not a good combination...I wondered how I was going to adjust - would I never again hear my children tell me they love me, would I not hear the sounds of everyday life or speak on the telephone?
I changed doctors many times in the last three years and here and there they would mention cochlear. In November 2009, I was implanted with Nucleus 5. It is wonderous to ease back into the sounds of life, to have conversation -the smile has returned to my face and surely to those around me. The hearing on the other side continues to diminish but isn't ready for another CI even though I am.
If there is one thing I don't like - it is taking the CI off at night - the quick thrust back to silence brings a bit of anxiety but surely keeps me grateful for the opportunity to hear again.