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Bionic Hearing Reality

There’s much confusion on what a cochlear implant will do for a person’s hearing especially since many variables come to play. Before I started looking into CI again (we went to House Ear Institute in LA and had looked into it wayyyyyyyy back in 1984 when it was one channel or something), I thought CIs were just a glorified hearing aid, or a super hearing aid. People who could NOT wear or benefit from hearing aids were benefitting from CIs. That’s not me. I was happy with my hearing aids since I could hear the sounds I needed to get through my day.
The Holy Grail, as I mentioned before, is to be able to hear without lipreading and talking on the telephone. It may or may not happen or to a varying degree. People who weren’t born deaf and lost their hearing as they got older are more likely to experience this Holy Grail than those who were born deaf. Alas, there is no measuring stick. That’s what made the decision to have the CI done difficult. No one could make a promise of what I’ll be able to do with the CI in comparison to the hearing aid.
The doctor told me that I’ve got a 98% chance of success with the CI. What does success mean? It means I’ll hear better with the CI than with my hearing aid. Just how much and how well is the question. For instance, with my hearing aids, I can hear the dryer buzz ONLY when I’m in the laundry room. The CI might enable me to hear it from other rooms (Darn! No more excuses of not being the one to get the laundry because I didn’t hear the buzzer.).
As to when will I know… it could be six months… a year. Beginning day one of getting hooked up, my hearing will change and adapt every day. So this blog won’t end on hook up day.
Whenever I have time (Ha! Three kids, work, volunteer, sleep, etc.), I’ll be doing audio therapy using Web sites, the tv with captions, and family. In other words, I’ll practice listening and intepreting what is said without lipreading. In the beginning, I’ll need to rely on text along with the audio to get a feel for translating sounds into words.