"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cochlear Implants

I had an email from someone today who has gone through the process of being born deaf, and now hears with cochlear implants. It's a fascinating story. I never realized that there is a process of "learning to listen, learning to hear." It makes sense though, because I'm often wondering, "What is that sound?" So many sounds today are indistinguishable to me. I'm constantly asking my husband what he hears. I can see on his face when he is listening to or for something.

What I found to be so wonderful about Julie's story is that she went from being profoundly deaf to actually hearing AND understanding what her daughter is saying....in the next room! That is amazing to me. I do remember a time when I could hear things in the other room. I don't know when it faded away, and sometimes, I actually forget I can't hear well anymore. In my dreams at night I hear perfectly well.

Although noise often confuses me and grates on my nerves because it is unclear, it's just noise or static. With an implant one can actually hear and understand what the speaker in front of them is saying. Currently, my hearing aids have microphones in the back, so I pick up noise from behind me or electronic noise. I can usually tell when someone nearby is getting a call on their cell phone. Once in awhile, there is a zap when walking into stores through the metal detectors that absolutely drive me nuts. I would hate to think what those could do to a pace maker. Noise can really put a person on edge if they are not accustomed to it. With the implant, as with hearing aids, it can be turned off. However, unlike hearing aids, sounds through the implants are clear and distinguishable from what my new friend was describing.

I have decided to look more into this. I see so many wonderful possibilities with this technology that can truly change a life in so many positive ways. Have you or someone you know tried this technology? I'd love to hear your story.


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