Hearing is Better

Marie - Narragansett, Rhode Island
Entered on August 13, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
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This I believe…

This I believe- hearing is better than not hearing. After having spent a lifetime with progressive hearing loss I decided to take the plunge and became a cyborg last year by having cochlear implant surgery. My world is now quickly changing at the age of sixty-four. I had made this decision after no longer being able to use the telephone and not hearing my precious grandchildren. Hearing aids and lip reading were just not cutting it anymore, even though I was still able to lip read the guests on my Rhode Island television show “Tea with Marie”. However, I could not communicate with my crew (also my good friends) when driving home from the studio at night and I felt lonely.

As my husband says, I am now only a battery away from being able to hear. When I do not put on my processor, an external device powered by batteries, worn like a hearing aid on the ear that connects by magnet to the internal electrodes implanted in my head I can hear nothing. So I can choose to hear or not to hear. In the morning I sometimes elect not to wear my processor as I enjoy breakfast in the tranquil state that greets my day while I become accustomed to my thoughts. After I have dressed I am ready to join life. I put on my processor and join the world around me.

And what a world! Before the implant, my world was secluded, silent and not safe. The underlying sadness and anger from being left out of conversations has disappeared. My shoulder muscles are more relaxed from not straining to lip-read and I have extra energy. Friends say I look younger and more attractive. I am more confident. I feel safer when traveling by air as I can hear the overhead announcements. I can also hear through headphones. I can listen to talk radio and be more informed. I watch television without captioning. I now understand 75% of the dialogue in movies and plays. I can hear people who are talking near me (it seemed like eavesdropping at first and it felt funny). I get the punch lines in jokes. I can talk on the phone to friends and I don’t feel left out. I feel like a real part of the community now. Best of all, I can hear my family and my little grandchildren. I am now capable of building meaningful relationships (without misunderstandings) with family members and friends. I don’t have to sit there with a blank look and the “deaf” nod when in a group and I can also speak my own mind. This I believe is good.