Saturday, March 15, 2014

Imbalanced Hearing

“We have two ears for a reason,” said Jill B. Firszt, PhD, associate professor, audiologist and director of the Cochlear Implant Program in the Department of Otolaryngology at the [Washington University] School of Medicine. “A common assumption was that hearing loss in just one ear was minimally disabling. However, our studies and those of others show that listening with just one ear seriously degrades signal segregation and communication, resulting in diminished quality of life."

This is good to know. It explains why the loss of hearing in my left ear and the partial loss in my right was so difficult for me -- physically and psychologically.

I beat myself up over and over for feeling so defeated. I cried tears of remorse. Feelings of guilt and inadequacy welled up inside of me. Weak. Vulnerable. Wounded. 

It whooped my ass.

Being bimodal today -- a cochlear implant in one ear and hearing aid in the other -- has restored some balance to my life. It's not perfect, and it will never be as good as I remember it, but I am finding that a new sense of normalcy is emerging. There will always be struggles. But there will be victories, too.

As I cleaned and stored my cochlear implant processor in its dryer last night, I ruminated the events of the past year. It's still surreal -- unbelievable in the sense that I never dreamed in my wildest imaginations that I would stand in this place today; but incredible, too. Incredible that this wealth of hearing technology was developed and made available for me at this time and in this place. It has only been within the last year that cochlear implants have been approved in the United States for people like me  -- those who have one ear that is still viable with a hearing aid.

I'm leading a charmed life, I know. And for that, I am very grateful.

(Read the full article about imbalanced hearing by clicking the link.)

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