Parri T - Consumer Engagement
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I received my first CI in 2006, 5 years after I knew I was a candidate. My progressive hearing loss was first diagnosed as mild/moderate at the age of 10. In college I bought a hearing aid, hated it, put it in a drawer and then “lost” it. By my early 30’s I had a severe/profound hearing loss, worn bilateral hearing aids for 6 months, put them in a drawer and embraced the deaf world. I lived in silence, returned to school and worked with others who are deaf and hard of hearing. During an internship I had the pleasure of working with a woman who had her cochlear implant for just 6 months. Seeing her reactions to the world around us left me speechless; I was in awe of everything she could hear. I decided to look into getting a cochlear implant. The day I was activated birds, cars, plastic bags, microwaves, laugher, everything I'd been missing came back all at once. It’s been a wonderful, amazing and noisy journey I wouldn’t trade for anything. I didn’t think it could get any better. Well….
This Fall I was in a sports bar/restaurant with a group of people a friend of mine had gotten together. These were some pretty cool people, a Sierra Club attorney, ER nurse, VP of a local company, to name a few. The night started with just 3 of us and grew to 8 by the time supper came. I saw my self withdraw as more people showed up. I couldn’t hear the conversation because everyone was on my deaf side. It’s easy to position yourself when a group meets at a restaurant for dinner but near impossible to gracefully figure it out as people trickle in. Instead of moving I gave up.
The next day I walked in to my Drs Office and proclaimed it was time to go bilateral. I swear after the shock wore off a little they couldn’t grab the calendar to schedule me soon enough. January 10, 2011 was my surgery date and due my travel circumstances I was activated January 14th. I was amazed at how quickly I adapted to hearing in both ears. That weekend I felt off balance when my batteries went dead in my new ear. Shoot, with two ears I can ear the stereo in the den and the radio on my computer when I’m in the hall, never knew that before. I can hear my voice when I’m on the phone, trippy I tell you. Just like with my first CI now having my second I had no idea how much I was missing only having one CI.