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My story is much like others in the cochlear community. I had a progressive hearing loss due to genetics as well as a serious hospital stay when I was 7. I was involved in a fire and had 40% burns on my body and the medications that I took during my recovery led to some of my hearing loss. I started losing my hearing in my mid 20s and college was a huge hassle because I could not hear most of the lectures. By the time I was 35, I was wearing hearing aids that helped some but not a lot. My husband had heard about the CI but I did not qualify for the surgery until much later. I did not go back to be tested until after he died of cancer. My daughter was pregnant with my second grandchild and I wanted to be able to hear him when he started talking, otherwise I probably would have gone along forever, becoming more and more isolated and angry. I had my first CI surgery in 2004 and from the very first day of activation was able to hear so much. The first week of activation, I started volunteering at the Oklahoma City Faye Donalson Hearing Helpers Demonstration Room and have been active in the hearing loss community since then. In 2007, I had my second CI implant and life is so much more balanced now. Even though I could hear well with the first one, the second implant has added so much more. It is like adding seasoning to a dish that is good but that makes it taste much better. It has added music back into my life - something that I had not been able to hear for 25 years (or could hear but only as loud noise).
Now I write a monthly newsletter for our HLA chapter in Oklahoma City, I still volunteer in the Hearing Helpers room, I am involved in setting up chapters in the state and also work with agencies in the state that help people with disabilities. I am a Cochlear Americas advocate. I encourage any of you who wonder if a CI will help you to hear better to get tested, to go for it if you qualify and to have the surgery because your life WILL change. How much depends on you. Just do it and never look back is my motto.