Category Archives: cochlear implant

At My Service!

Welcome to the 7th and final part of the Changing Cochleas blog series – my journey with a cochlear implant.

 

Service, as defined by online dictionaries, with my additions in italics:

A valuable action, deed, or effort performed by a hearing care professional to satisfy a need or fulfill a demand by a person with hearing loss.

To perform routine maintenance or repair work by assistive hearing technology geniuses on something like a hearing aid, cochlear implant (CI), and other assistive devices.

There it is in a nutshell—what we, the people with hearing loss, need to move us from exclusion to inclusion: competent and caring assessment, support, reduction or elimination of negative emotions, assistive technology and improved communication skills.

The heaven of good service is in the additional details: the technology type, style, cost, and ease of use, along with training on assertiveness, speechreading, and emerging tech stuff, etc.

Family and friends are our communication partners and allies but they aren’t at our service. That’s the role of the hearing specialists and technical geniuses—the professionals, many of whom go far beyond what they’re paid to do. In return, I help them out by being a person on which to practice their trade, showing up for appointments, usually on time, and being honest about my needs so that we can mutually decide the course of action going forward.

I’ve been receiving services and ‘treatments’ for hearing loss since I was two years old. Doctors examined, prodded, scoped, diagnosed, and prescribed (or not). Various hearing professionals put me in the torture chamber…oops, I always get this one wrong…I mean the sound booth…to test my hearing and then make recommendations for hearing aids which they then sell to me.

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Thank you to Cochlear Americas and to HearingHealthMatters.org for their support in the development of the “Changing Cochleas” series. 

Celebrating with 1000 New Friends: Changing Cochleas, Part 4

A group of geese is called a ‘gaggle’ and cows form a ‘herd’. So what do we call a group of cochlear implant users?  A “cockle”? A “CI-heard”?

I don’t know, either, but recently I attended a very large gathering of electrically-operated people who, like me, have electrodes inside their heads and processors on top of them. And every single person in that cockle-heard, whether or not they understand it, was grateful for the technology (and to the people who created it) for returning a sense of hearing they had lost, or never fully had.

Cochlear Celebration was quite the party—but not the crazy-party bash like March Break in your university days. This was a well-orchestrated event that combined information sessions, technology demonstrations, cheerleading and candid, impromptu talks with people who know more than you do. It also inspired at least one personal, important aha moment.

There were 1000 of us at the Cochlear Americas event: CI and Baha recipients of all ages (and I mean all ages, from kids to the elderly), their favorite hearing people (spouses, friends, children, parents and whatnot) and Cochlear staff, who had convened in Orlando for three days. (If you’re going somewhere in the middle of winter to talk about reclaiming lost hearing, there should be palm trees, right?) The focus was simple: cochlear implantation and its positive and profound impact on our lives.

At Disney, you see mouse ears everywhere!

People with hearing loss should meet other people with hearing loss. Life changed when I attended my first hearing loss conference back in the ‘90s. Hearing professionals and technical people give us the technology and operating instructions, but it’s other people, walking our walk, who help plug the holes that hearing loss has punched in our lives. As I wrote in a 2014 article:

When I finally met other people with hearing loss, the lights went on, fireworks exploded, and angels danced. It was like falling in love – but with a group of people, with a new awareness and with a new me.

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