To disclose or not? Julia Gilchrist on disclosing her hearing loss during a job interview

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WHEN JULIA GILCHRIST’S processor batteries died in the middle of a job interview, it could have been a negative experience.

Instead, the 37-year-old corporate communications specialist seized the opportunity to show the interview panel how well she works under pressure.

‘I pulled the new batteries out of my handbag, kept giving the answer I was giving them, changed the batteries, put the processor back on and asked “Do you have any more questions?”.’

This opened a discussion about the possible impact of Julia’s hearing loss on her ability to do the job. Julia has been living with a cochlear implant since the age of 20 and is about to upgrade to a Cochlear™ Nucleus® Kanso® Sound Processor.

Julia was born profoundly deaf and diagnosed at age 18 months with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. After completing high school, she graduated from university with a double major in communications and politics.

The battery incident in the job interview allowed Julia to reassure the panel that, flat batteries aside, her hearing loss would not affect her performance. The panel was impressed by how she handled the situation.

‘You need to package yourself as strong and sell your resilience,’ says Julia.

For many recipients, Julia’s experience prompts several questions: when should you disclose your hearing loss when applying for a new job? Is it ok to ask interviewers to repeat questions? Is it reasonable to ask if the interview can be conducted in a quiet place? Will the interview involve a panel of people asking questions?

Recruitment expert Nina Mapson Bone from Beaumont People, a recruitment company in Australia, and Julia give their seven top tips for job seekers with a hearing loss apply for a job:

1 Before applying for a role, question if it’s right for you
Nina recommends avoiding the temptation to apply for too many jobs at once to maximise your chances of success. Find out about the company culture, if the job will suit your skill set, and whether the office is a noisy, open-plan environment.

‘If you don’t know what you want you’ll end up in a job you don’t really like.’

Also, find out the essential tasks of the role and make sure you can fulfil the role without interference from your hearing loss.

2 Disclose your hearing loss in the interview – not the application
Job applicants are often competing against a lot of candidates and employers look for ways to vet a high volume of applications. For this reason, Nina suggests disclosing your hearing loss during the interview where you can build a relationship, rather than the initial written application. ‘Give yourself as much opportunity as possible.’ She adds there is often no legal obligation to disclose hearing loss unless it will affect your ability to do the job, though check local laws as part of your job research. Julia agrees that it is best to wait until the interview stage before disclosing your hearing loss unless hearing ability is critical to the role. That way employers are focused on your abilities and not whether employing a person with hearing loss will be good for the company and its image, she says. Nina recommends a brief disclosure during the interview that you have an implant is all that’s needed. ‘That’s probably all the vast majority of people need to say.’ And encourage interviewers to ask any questions about cochlear implants so they don’t make incorrect assumptions, she adds.

‘If you, as a job candidate, make it okay for people to ask questions you’ll actually move very quickly to a point where it’s irrelevant. And that’s the point – it’s all about how good you are for the role.’

If you do decide to disclose a hearing loss ahead of a job interview, consider these tips, says Nina:
• Request the interview questions in writing before the interview.
• Ask for a written agenda of the interview so you can prepare.
• Ask for any relevant company literature and a written job description.
• If you lip read, ask to be seated in a room with good lighting.
• At the interview, advise the organisation of any adjustments they may or may not need to make for you – they may assume too much.

3 Prepare for the interview
There is no such thing as too much research or preparation for an interview, Nina says.
Being informed about the company and having good questions prepared ahead of an interview will help you succeed, she says.

4 Don’t be afraid to ask questions that highlight your hearing loss
Never hesitate to ask the interviewer to repeat the question or let them know you didn’t quite understand, and ask the interviewer to look at you when they ask you a question, says Nina. In a panel interview, where people might talk simultaneously, don’t be afraid to say you didn’t quite hear or understand the questions. Also try to make eye contact with everyone in the room, which can be challenging if you lip read.

5 Transparency: be open and up front
Feel confident to ask the interviewer if they have any concerns about your application or your ability to perform the role, Nina says.

‘I’ve never met anyone who isn’t impressed when asked questions and it’s a really good way to finish the interview.’

6 The simple things count
Arriving on time for a job interview with a positive attitude and a smile, and looking smart are winning tactics, Nina says. Most candidates don’t do this very well. Make yourself stand out with good, general preparation. ‘That will automatically put you ahead of 90 to 95% of people who apply for a role.’

7 Be confident
Nina’s most important tip is to remember that confidence is contagious.

‘Being confident in your ability to do the role and being a personable, friendly, well-prepared candidate is actually the best thing you can be,’ she says.

Typically, candidates who are dealing with a disability have more resilience, empathy and are better at team work because these skills have helped them overcome hurdles, she says. Julia agrees and reminds candidates to stay focused on the job, not your disability. ‘That took me a really long time to learn.’

 

This article was featured in Issue 01 April 2019 Cochlear Family eNews. Want to receive stories like these? Simply visit https://www.cochlear.com/au/home/connect/cochlear-family and follow the steps.

Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information. Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your hearing professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology. Cochlear, Hear now. And always, Kanso, myCochlear, Nucleus, SmartSound, True Wireless and the elliptical logo, and marks bearing an ® or ™ symbol, are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Cochlear Limited (unless otherwise noted). Cochlear Nucleus 7 and Baha 5 sound processors are compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The Cochlear Nucleus Smart App and Baha 5 Smart App are available on App Store and Google Play. For compatibility information visit http://www.cochlear.com/compatibility. iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. © Cochlear Limited 2019.

AN EMOTIONAL JOURNEY TO BILATERAL IMPLANTS | PART VII

 

So far Kate has put in a lot of effort and has gradually been improving her hearing. It could sound better, but it’s improving!

Can’t wait to hear what changes there are in week 5…

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Asgeir Concert

How am I going 5 weeks post implant?

Well… I am really, really happy with my decision to go bilateral. It was a scary decision, and it was hard in the first few weeks, but it’s been worth it.

I am getting stereo surround sound now. I am noticing when I listen to music through the Wireless Mini Mic 2+ that I am hearing instruments on the new ear, that I could not hear in the old ear. It’s awesome.

Music sounds really good, and bass sounds awesome. That was something I was so worried about, losing my bass. Some tunes are a little tinny, and some of my old favourites sound a little out of tune. That’s not so great. I know that I will get used to it, so I am not worried. It’s like a recalibration of sound. Classical music I used to absolutely hate when I lost my hearing (sounded like sheep getting the baa’s squeezed out of them), but now it sounds wonderful again. Hip hop sounds pretty awesome too.

To celebrate my new ear, my colleague took me along to see an Icelandic band playing at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney – Asgeir. I hadn’t heard them play before, but I jump at the chance to hear new music, so we went last Friday night. It was great! I was testing out all the different combinations with my ears – one on, one off, both together, different programs. I found that the Scan setting was really good for picking up all the sounds, but not being too overpowering.

One thing I noticed was I could hear people speaking really well in the noisy pub environment – better than I remember!

And the music was wonderful – I could hear much more of the instruments, and some of the lyrics – though I still couldn’t get all of it. I enjoyed it though, and I think that’s all that matters really.

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My Colleagues and I at the Asgeir Concert

How was the second Cochlear™ implant after 4 weeks?

On Tuesday 11 June 2017, I had my week 4 mapping session, where my new Cochlear implant was adjusted again.

The results were good. I went from having difficulty understanding sentences to hearing a lot better. It’s amazing that each week there are changes.

We did a speech perception test, and a word perception test.

Now, let me explain what these are for those who are not familiar. A speech perception test is where you sit in front of a speaker, and listen to basic sentences read out. You can’t lip-read, but you can get the context of the subject. A word perception test, however, shows exactly what you are hearing because they are single words, with no chance of guessing the subject.

Want to know my test results 4 weeks post switch on????

Sentences – I got 98 per cent of the sentences correct! To put this into perspective, with my hearing aid I was only hearing about 17 per cent of sentences correctly. Word perception test was 30%, compared to 4% with the hearing aid! Wow…. And here I was worried that I might not understand speech at all.

98 per cent of sentences correct in quiet! Wowsers.

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Excited for my Speech Perception Test!

But do you know what the most incredible change is?

I feel less tired.

That’s been the most interesting aspect of getting the 2nd Cochlear implant. Such a seemingly tiny thing, but my energy levels are much higher. You can’t put a price on that when you have two small children, you’re working and trying to stay connected with family and friends.

And every day that I listen with my new ear, I am reminded that this is what these devices are all about: Relationships. Kinship. Bonds. Interaction. Connection.

 

Views expressed by Cochlear recipients and hearing health providers are those of the individual. Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advice on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. Outcomes and results may vary. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.

Cochlear, Hear now. And always and elliptical logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Cochlear Limited. D1255107 ISS3 AUG17 Cochlear © 2017 All rights reserved.

 

An Emotional Journey to Bilateral Implants | Part VI

It’s been just over a month since Kate’s second surgery, and only 3 weeks since switch-on. She has been putting a lot of effort towards training her new ear!  

How has she been coping in the last few weeks?

Ben & Kate _ 1 month Pre Op Trip NZ

Three weeks since switch-on:

Writing that, I can’t believe it, and it makes me feel better. I was feeling down about it today but then I realise that it has only been 3 weeks since switch on and I’m reminded that it is still early on in the journey. It’s easy to lose perspective when you are living it every day.

I am finding that voices are still very robotic and distorted. While I try to practice listening with just the new ear, I feel like I need to shake something out of my head, gauze… fairy floss… or something crazy like that. It’s as if there is something inside my brain that is not making it crystal clear, but I am so close. It’s very frustrating.

The surgery site has healed up really well however still a little tender. It doesn’t feel quite normal yet I guess but I’ve had no problems at all.

Today as I drove to work, I practised listening to the news on the radio again with just the new ear, and then found it too tiring and slightly upsetting because of how distorted everything seemed. I can’t tell the difference between male and female voices – they all sound deep.

But then music comes on, and it sounds how I remember music, though the lyrics are hard to understand because of the voice distortion. The fact that music sounds normal is the most incredible thing – I am hearing the deep low tones that I was so worried I would miss from my hearing aid. It sounds like the hearing aid, only better. I don’t actually get these low notes in my other CI. It’s like each ear is picking up different elements of things. And it sounds good! Really good! I am so surprised that music sounds great this early on.

I think I’ve come to a turning point – now I can’t really bear to switch off the second CI, even though I am finding it tiring wearing the two together. Location of sound is proving to be interesting. My brain is having trouble believing that it’s hearing out of the other ear properly. So I’ll hear something clearly in my new CI, but my habit is just to turn to the side of the old CI, thinking it’s from that direction. Each day I try to practice listening, and find I am even having to ask my kids which direction things are coming from, and ‘what sound is that?’ – even with the two devices on together.

Last night I had an intensely disturbing dream. I was out bushwalking with my 3 year old daughter Avienne, and we were up on a plateau in the Blue Mountains. I had forgotten to wear my new Cochlear™ implant, so I was only wearing my old one. And suddenly I lost Avi in the bush, I could hear her frightened calls for me, but I couldn’t see her. I told her to stay where she was, and I tried my hardest to find her. I strained my ears listening, trying to find which direction she was, and I just couldn’t. It was getting darker, and I could sense her voice getting further away. I was plunging through the bush, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t tell which direction she was, and I was panicking. The dream ended there, and it was one of those stress dreams that showed that I subconsciously realise that directionality is not a mundane thing, but actually so important.

Arlin_and_Avi_explorers
The explorers: Arlin and Avi

Hearing highlights this week

I’ve made a second phone call through the new CI by itself – to my mum this time! And I could hear her – I had to concentrate so hard but we had a conversation! I was so happy, but when I hung up, instead of the normal elation I’ve been feeling, I felt like something close to tears. It’s such a simple thingto use a telephone. Something most of us take for granted. There was something sad inside when I felt like I was finally able to hear in that ear again, and that I had left it for so long.

On the weekend Ben and I were walking through a busy farmers market, full of people and noise and I heard what I thought was Ben saying, very clearly, “So where are we going?”, and I answered, “I’m not sure, maybe we should go over here to get coffee.” Ben looked at me and said. “I didn’t say anything … I think you overheard that guy over there!” And about 5 metres away, in the middle of this crowd of people, was this guy talking to his family! I had overheard him and it had appeared so close, I thought he was next to me. I don’t think that would have happened with only the one ear.

It was a pretty amazing moment.

 

Views expressed by Cochlear recipients and hearing health providers are those of the individual. Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advice on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. Outcomes and results may vary. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.

Cochlear, Hear now. And always and elliptical logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Cochlear Limited. D1255107 ISS3 AUG17 Cochlear © 2017 All rights reserved.

An Emotional Journey to Bilateral Implants | Part V

Kate finally had her second surgery – so far, so good… She’s going to be switched on. Let’s see how it goes…

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19 June – I am being switched on!

It’s been just 11 days since the surgery, and I’ve now been switched on for 4 days.

The switch on took 2 hours and my family came along – Ben and the kids, mum, my older brother Rohan and his daughter Saskia.

When my audiologist  told me she was ready to switch me on … a rush of blood hit my head, and I felt like I was going to faint. It was about to happen! Oh my god. Everything I’ve been worrying about over the last couple of years is about to be thrown into my head… Right here! Right now!

Then click – “It’s on Kate, how does that feel?”

Everyone looking at me expectantly… and there it was…

A tinkling, hazy mesh of electronica. Scattering through my head.

I can see voices vaguely through a veil of matrix-like cascades of numbers that are sounds. I know they are sounds and words, and voices, but they don’t sound like it.

The audiologist reads to me the “Ling Sounds” and I have to repeat them back. I get the first two wrong, ah and sh… but once I know what they sound like now, I get them right, again and again. Hearing them without seeing her lips. It’s incredible – it’s like I am a baby again, having to relearn to hear completely from scratch…

And then I am handed a mobile phone and told to listen to music. No, this won’t sound good, I think. I choose Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares for Me… press play… and there is it…. A song I am so familiar with and…. I CAN HEAR IT! I can hear the beat, the melody, but I can’t understand the lyrics… tears come. I have a cry, even though I promised myself I wouldn’t. It’s like music was the tipping point. Music had been so important to me.

 

Everything is accompanied by a tinkle of three tiny notes at a pitch that I don’t think I’ve heard for many, many years. It’s like everything is sparkling.

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My switch on

I am brought back to the memory of my first switch on, almost 8 years ago – the alien language that I felt I would never decipher. It sounds like how I remember the first switch on!

And how weird that even though I can hear so clearly through my first CI, I am still having so much trouble understanding speech through my second. How incredible that my brain can hear things so differently through each ear, even though the devices are almost identical – and that I can’t benefit from the practice the other had – I still need to ‘re-learn’ to hear in the new ear….

And wow, I am tired. It’s hard work, even passively trying to hear.

I am trying to be gentle and kind to myself, and not expect too much. I knew it would be hard. But it’s like parent-hood. Everyone tells you it will be hard, and you know it will, and then you have a baby and WHAM! Far out, you think. That’s hard.

So what have been the sound ‘highlights’ so far?

I was sitting, reading a book while Arlin my 6 year old was colouring in next to me. There was this delightful sound that just felt like a drink of water to my head – it was Arlin colouring in and the texter tip was making the most beautiful squeaking over the paper. It sounded wonderful. I just sat back and listened to that squeaking for a few seconds.
I said “I can hear you drawing, Arlin! It sounds great.”
And his little face … he’d been so worried about me, and he said: “I’m so glad you can hear it mum!”

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The moment I heard the squeaking texter!

And water… Water sounds insane!  Can you imagine Jimi Hendrix playing a guitar solo, lying, sweaty, on the ground, wildly playing three or four notes on the upper scale of his electric guitar, jamming, eyes clamped shut, sweat flying, and he is playing it like it’s life and death, and he’s had way too many drugs…. Well. That’s what water sounds like. Damn! I get a concert every time I wash my hands.

I have mapping sessions every week now to adjust the sound, and I expect this to be a journey of relearning to hear that could take months – and I know it will be worth it.

To be continued…

Views expressed by Cochlear recipients and hearing health providers are those of the individual. Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advice on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. Outcomes and results may vary. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.

Cochlear, Hear now. And always and elliptical logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Cochlear Limited. D1255107 ISS1 JUL17 Cochlear © 2017 All rights reserved.

An Emotional Journey to Bilateral Implants | Part IV

Kate reunited with her Cochlear Volunteer, a bilateral recipient, who reassured her that she was making the right decision.

She cannot wait any longer!

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15 June – Here is what the surgery was like…

So it’s been 8 days since I had the surgery for the 2nd implant. The days have passed in a fog. I’ve been dosed up on painkillers which left me very unsteady and woozy, unable to think straight. But I’ve felt no pain at all. I will be switched on tomorrow!

Wednesday morning was the surgery and this is what it was like…

It had thundered and poured all night, and the rain was still crashing down outside as we drove to the hospital. Traffic was chaos. When we got to the surgical area of the hospital, I had to say goodbye to Ben at the nurses’ desk. We hugged tightly, feeling like it was all happening too quickly.

I was then led into the pre-ward, where all the patients who were about to go into surgery were just lying there nervously, in neat rows, ready to be wheeled into one of the operating theatres. My bed was at the end of the ward. I got dressed in the gown and booties that were provided and lay down on the bed, fidgeting. I started to think “I cannot believe I am actually here, finally, and about to go into surgery”

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Nervously waiting to go into theatre

I nervously messaged my family from my phone, took a photo, and then my sister called me. I had a quiet and nervous conversation with her, and then suddenly, there was the wardsman appearing beside me, and saying it was time to go!

The wardsman pushed the bed on its wheels, fast, and we glided through the warren of rooms and corridors, feeling like I was going down a rabbit hole, passing people I didn’t know.

Then suddenly we stop gliding, and I am waiting, lying in the trolley bed, covered with a white hospital blanket, facing two big doors as if I am waiting for the beginning of a play or production.

I can hear and see some movement in through the glass porthole window up high… Then suddenly the doors burst open, and   out came a nurse who started asking me the same questions they’ve asked the previous 4 times – name, date of birth, and what procedure are you here for. As I rumble off my answers, she ticks a form, and then looks up brightly and says: “They’re almost ready, won’t be long now.” She puts a cannula in the back of my hand, and then disappears again.

Then the anaesthetist comes through, says hello, and administers a relaxant through the cannula. I am so grateful for this, because I can feel the slight feeling of hysteria rising. I am in control, but as I sit there for longer, each ticking minute makes my muscles more and more jumpy, and my brain flicker more violently.

Soon I am folding back, draping into the blankets and the bed, comforted, quiet, warm and relaxed.

Then suddenly the bed I am on is pushed into the operating theatre and then I am asked to move over to the operating bed, the faces start to blur, I am told they are injecting the anaesthetic, and that’s all I remember. I didn’t even get to count. I’m out!

2 hours later, I awake in the intensive care recovery ward.

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Post surgery

I blink. It’s bright. My cochlear implant processor is on my right hand side, the old ear, so that I can hear – it’s switched on. I am so tired and I feel like I’ve just had the most amazing, deep, blissful sleep…

I am awake now, and … I am alive!  It’s over! …. Thank god!

I look around me at the people in the beds. Each bed seems to have its own nurse, hovering and looking closely at the screens and monitors, not leaving the side of the patient. I have my own nurse too, I realise.

“How are you feeling?” She asks. “I’m okay.” I respond.

I remember last time I had this surgery, almost 8 years ago, I awoke feeling like I was gasping for air, pulling myself out of a sticky bed of sand, unable to breathe. This time was different, I woke gently, more naturally.

I blink again, my eyes feel out of joint, and I can’t focus for long on any object.

I’m given some juice. I can feel my arms and legs start to tremble, I think it’s a response to the anaesthetic. It’s difficult, but I try to calm my body, and manage to stop myself from shaking too much.

After 30 minutes, I am wheeled into my bed in the ward, I am sharing a room with another patient, Dawn, a woman in her 60s or 70s who has just received her first cochlear implant. The hospital ward is apparently full today!

I lie there, finally still, and feeling very tired and weighted down.

Then Ben comes in with a huge smile on his face, and gives me a hug. We are both so relieved that it’s all over.

Now I can feel my head. I lie gently, not touching anything, just feeling what I can feel.

There it is. Inside my head, near my ear. I can feel it.

A gentle ache. It’s done.

Now the next part of the journey can begin… Stay tuned!

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Views expressed by Cochlear recipients and hearing health providers are those of the individual. Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advice on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. Outcomes and results may vary. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.

Cochlear, Hear now. And always and elliptical logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Cochlear Limited. D1255107 ISS1 JUL17 Cochlear © 2017 All rights reserved.

An Emotional Journey to Bilateral Implants | Part III

Kate met with her surgeon and asked many, many questions! Then again… who wouldn’t? She is now booked in for her surgery… Did she make the right decision?

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29 May – Am I making the right decision?

So it feels weird to say this…. I am getting my second cochlear implant NEXT WEEK!!

On Saturday night, I went to a music concert with my husband Ben, to see his favourite band, The Avalanches. They played outside the Opera House, in the open air on a beautiful still night, with the VIVID festival of lights shimmering over the harbour in the background.

last_music_concert_before_surgery
Last music concert before surgery

For some reason I felt apprehensive. As we walked to the venue I was telling Ben how I was worried that this might be the last time I hear this music the way I know it. Even though I can’t understand speech from the hearing aid, I can hear music through it, and it is the last vestige of my natural hearing, even though it’s amplified to the point of jangling my ear canal with so much vibration it literally moves.

As the music began, I tested out variations. Hearing aid off, Cochlear Implant on; Cochlear Implant off, Hearing aid on; both on together. It was definitely better with both on. With just the cochlear implant I could hear the melody and beat better, but with the hearing aid, it added this deep thumping richness… What am I doing? I thought to myself. I have no idea what it’s going to sound like with two cochlear implants… Am I making the right decision?

And then I stood with both of them switched off, the silence suddenly deafening yet the beat obviously pulsating, because I could feel my rib cage vibrating. And yet silence, surrounded by movement. It’s a beautiful and lonely thing. To be still and silent amidst movement and chaos.

And then I remember that I had not heard properly out of that ear since I was about 11 years old… 25 years! I realise the long road ahead. How to train an ear that hasn’t heard clear sound for 25 years.

KAte & Jennie
With my mentor Jennie

I met up with a Cochlear Volunteer mentor/buddy last week.  It was the same one I met 8 years ago when I first decided to get the first implant, and she is the one that has convinced me to get the second.

We met in a café, we hugged and looked at each other, and I said:
“I am doing it!”
“I am so glad you’ve come to this decision yourself, because I was about to ring you to hassle you about it!”, she responded

She told me about the switch on of her second one, how it was like a vacuum cleaner sound in her ear for several days after, and how she flung it off in frustration after the first day. I am going to have to be mentally strong for this one! So much expectation.

I asked if she really felt it was worth it. “Yes. I don’t like to be without the second one now. Sometimes I will listen to the podcasts on the other ear, the second ear,” she responded.

Sounds simple, but this comment had the same impact as me watching her on the phone that first time 8 years ago. You see, we’re always told you won’t hear as well with the 2nd ear… I don’t really expect to hear speech as well in that ear…

With the first CI, I was amazed that she could hear on the phone. Now I am amazed that she can actually hear speech through her 2nd CI, well enough to listen to a podcast.

I want to have that incredible clear sound in two ears. I just don’t want to wait anymore.

I am anxious… but excited.

I will keep you posted……

Kate.


Views expressed by Cochlear recipients and hearing health providers are those of the individual. Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advice on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. Outcomes and results may vary. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.

Cochlear, Hear now. And always and elliptical logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Cochlear Limited. D1255107 ISS1 JUL17 Cochlear © 2017 All rights reserved.

 

An Emotional Journey to Bilateral Implants | Part II

 

 

 

Kate O 2016

Kate recently decided to go ahead with her second Cochlear implant – after putting it off for 6 years. She feels slightly drained, sad and quiet. She didn’t expect this journey to be so emotional… Fast forward to March 6th and she is now sitting with her surgeon. Will she book an appointment?

6 March 2017: So many questions, so little time!!! 

Kate CT scan
Having my CT scan done

So today I took my CT scans to my surgeon.

 

I took my 6 year old son (sick day), and 71-year-old mother, who is considering getting a cochlear implant along for the ride. Mum is experiencing moderate age-related hearing loss and finds her hearing aids are not quite enough, especially in noisy situations. I hear better than her… and I am profoundly deaf!

 

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At home with my 6-year-old Arlin

In the appointment, Professor da Cruz was intrigued why I waited so long to get the second ear implanted – I had forgotten I did an assessment for the second ear nearly 6 years ago!

My reasons?  Too busy, not quite ready, thought I was ok with just one ear, fear of surgery.

I asked A LOT of questions, even though I had been through it all before.

  • How long does it the surgery take? Mine would be just over an hour.
  • What about healing? A day in hospital; a week feeling a bit out of it.
  • How many surgeries has he done? He’s done 500 CI surgeries now.
  • He explained his choice of implant and why he’s selected that particular option. He explained CochlearTM implants were easy to insert, and that the technology was incredibly reliable, and that Cochlear’s main point of difference was the accessories and connectivity of the processor.
  • The cause of my deafness? It’s unlikely my hearing loss has been caused by the Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome (something I’ve been told could be the issue for the last 20 years), as the vestibulars weren’t enlarged. Still no idea what has caused it.
  • Head looks normal, and cochlea shaped well for the electrode. Tick.
  • He told me I was a rare age in his clinic – most of his patients are between the ages of 12 months -2 years, and 70-90 years old. Apparently the thirties is very rare.
  • Hmmm. When is the appointment? He tried to book me in for next week!!!!
    WHOA NELLY! Too fast!!

I am officially booked in for Wednesday 7th June!

And now I am worried that it’s too far away! Who would have thought?

OK – now I need to focus on sorting out  private health insurance to ensure it’s all covered. I am also getting an NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) planner to assess my situation to see if they can cover Wireless Accessories for me. I am intrigued as to how much will eventually be covered.

I am feeling a lot better about the decision. It helped that the surgeon really understood how I was feeling.
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And when we got out, my son looked at me and said:

“Mum … does this mean you’ll have two computers in your head?” …

“Hmmm… Kind of, I guess…” , I answered
He just looked at me quietly, nodding.

“Cooooool”, he replied.

 

Stay tuned for Part III …

 

 

Views expressed by Cochlear recipients and hearing health providers are those of the individual. Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advice on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. Outcomes and results may vary. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.

Cochlear, Hear now. And always and elliptical logo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Cochlear Limited. D1255107 ISS1 JUL17 Cochlear © 2017 All rights reserved.