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I was born hard of hearing and was fitted for hearing aids when I was 4. I was mainstreamed for the majority of my life and took speech for many years.
I continued to do well with my hearing, I never needed an interpreter or caption on tv. I listened to music and enjoyed conversations with all my friends. I was in many sports and enjoyed social outings.
When I was 12, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative loss of vision in the retina. The combination of hearing loss and R.P. is called Usher Syndrome.
When I was 18, I was declared legally blind and by the time I was 23, I had lost my license. Now in the last five years or so, I have lost a dramatic amount of my hearing and eyesight. I depend on caption, tty, computer, and I no longer enjoy music. I cannot go to movies or play in many sports.
Over the years, I have met my wonderful husband and we have two children. My son is 4 and my daughter is 1. They are wonderful and I couldn't imagine my life without them. My son does understand my disabilities for the most part. He knows he has to tap on my arm to get my attention and knows to keep his toys of the floor.
Because I am losing my hearing so dramatically and am not able to do the things I used to, I miss it. I finally realized that I could use some help, when I went to a Visions conference through the Foundation Fighting Blindness and met other Usher syndrome people. Those people told me how great having an C.I. helped them and improved their quality of life. I also met Dr. kimberling and he gave some insight on C.I.'s as well. My audiologist told me I was a perfect candidate for implants and suggested a few clinics. After thinking long and hard, I decided, what do I have to lose. It's not like I have much hearing left to lose. I want to be able to hear my son talk to me in the car. I want to be able to listen to music again. I want to be able to have a conversation with my husband when we are driving in the dark. I want to be able to talk on the phone and catch up with family and friends.
I haven't had my implant done yet, but it's going to happen sooner or later..