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?

P1240056

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.

 

4 thoughts on “An Emotional Journey to Bilateral Implants | Part III

  1. This has been helpful to me as I have one CI but my surgeon is advising I need the second CI and I too am very apprehensive that I may lose the natural sound that I do have at present – the specific sound of individual’s voices – I don’t want to lose that and so I am really deliberating about this… but time is marching on and I can’t her much at all without my CI so -… thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Hi Rhonda, I know exactly how you feel. I’ve waited 8 years to get it, and I am so glad I decided to do it. But you have to be ready to do it yourself, and it just helps to read about other peoples experiences. The thing that really clinched it for me was meeting a bilateral recipient who was just like me. If you want to try and find someone to speak to, ask your clinic if there is anyone with a similar audiogram, background, etc… And then just try and meet with them, and ask them about what it was like. Good luck!
      Kate

      • Thank you Kate – very helpful to understand that others have felt similar apprehensions about the second stage of dependence on CI but reaping wonderful benefit from making the decision.

  2. Brrrrr a shiver is going down my spine. It’s exactly what I do with my ears. Try one CI on and the H/A off and then vice versa then both, then none. And I experience exactly the same as you. It’s scary. I think What if… what if… what if.
    The h/a gives what the Ci doesn’t. I’ll lose the tiny tiny tiny bit of hearing I have left. So many thoughts.
    Oh loving following you. I hope it’s going ok. Slowly but surely I hope.

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