I’ve been meaning to blog about my 1st CI anniversary for a while – since July in fact- but I keep being diverted. This in itself is an indication of how successful the implant has been.
Back in July I went up to Sunnybrook for my 1 year assessment and map adjustments. I could give you chapter and verse about my scores on various tests but telling you a little about how my life has been affected would be a better indicator of success than comparing numbers.
In May 2009 I had a profound bilateral hearing loss that was hardly helped by hearing aids. I relied on lipreading in quiet to be able to hear a one on one conversation. Group conversations were impossible. The phone was impossible, music was impossible. TV was possible with captions, movie theatre was possible with captions but impossible in practice due to the availability of captioning. Theatre was impossible.
Conversations were stilted and truncated with few jokes, little spontaneity. Inclusion levels low with exclusion a prevailing feature in my life.
Isolation and detachment were the dominant feelings.
In September 2010 I still have a bilateral profound hearing loss but now it is helped enormously by a MED EL cochlear implant on the right side and a hearing aid on the left. I feel better, happier, lighter. I chat pretty easily, I can use the phone, watch some TV without captions, listen to the radio in the car, go to the theatre, I’m starting to hear music again. I can join in conversations; laugh, joke, understand. Often I can hear without having to look at the speaker’s face.
My hearing with the CI is not full hearing, and I never expected it to be, but it is so far removed from what I had before. Now when I don’t have any hearing gadgets in I find it very, very difficult to cope and wonder how I got through the day. Probably because there was no other choice and you just keep battling on.
So, one year on, a success story. I’m extremely grateful to have this implant and full of admiration for the skill and talents of the Sunnybrook cochlear implant team, for MED EL engineers, and of course for Graeme Clarke the man whose team invented the cochlear implant