Here, you’ll find stories written by CI experts, CI recipients, or parents of children with CIs, about their hearing journey and helpful articles on hearing loss and cochlear implant technology. We hope this blog will become a source of information and inspiration as you embark on your own hearing journey to better hearing.
You or your family member is a candidate for cochlear implants. It’s an exciting time, and it may come with some confusion or worries. Having a productive conversation with your surgeon is an important way to clarify any uncertainty and address any concerns. The best way to do that is to come to your appointment with your surgeon with your questions written down.
Before having cochlear implant surgery, you may have questions about what to expect for the surgery, recovery, and initial activation of the cochlear implant. Hundreds of thousands of people have undergone the procedure all around the world, and it is natural to experience a wide range of emotions, including the anxiety that may accompany any medical procedure and the fear of the unknown. Surgery is a necessary, but brief, part of the process, and the more you know about cochlear implant surgery and recovery, the more comfortable you will be with the process. Here are some frequently asked questions about cochlear implant surgery and recovery.
Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, cochlear implants were just beginning to become more widely known. I remember seeing on television an elderly couple who were deaf and blind. She was given an implant and heard her husband's voice for the first time. This was my first impression of cochlear implants.
When I lost my hearing at age six and got cochlear implants, my parents often wondered what my future would be like, who I would become, and what achievements I would reach. They were told many things from professionals about how I might not reach certain milestones in the academic world, and about what type of relationships I might have. However, they were persistent in trying their best, and had faith in my future.
Having had a cochlear implant since I was thirteen months old, hearing and living with one is all I know. Now, at nineteen years old, I use a Naída Q90 in my right ear and a Naída Link CROS in my left. For those unfamiliar with CROS, it is a small hearing aid-like device that that I wear on my non-implanted left ear. It picks up sound from that side and delivers it to the sound processor on my right. This way, I can hear from all around me. I am currently attending Northern Arizona University, and come this Fall, I will be a sophomore.
As a parent of a child with hearing loss, I heard the terms “advocacy” and “self-advocacy” almost from day one. I had no idea what that really meant at the time of Miles’ diagnosis. My uneducated perception of being an “advocate” was someone who protested for the rights of others. Was I going to be petitioning city hall? Did I need to print pamphlets? Well, maybe, but advocacy for (possibly) yourself, your child, and the eventual lessons of self-advocacy are steps to ensuring a rich and rewarding life ahead.
As a newborn, our little angel Nora wasn't given any hearing tests, and she and I were discharged from the hospital soon after her birth. As days and months passed, we noticed that she had poor eye contact and wasn't responding to our calls and to hearing her name. By the time she was six months old, we took her to the doctor. We were hoping that everything was okay, but instead, what we were afraid of happened. After many tests, she was diagnosed with bilateral, severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. It was a shock for us, but that was God's will.
If your child was recently diagnosed with a hearing loss in one or both ears, you likely have many questions about what caused the hearing loss and how you can help your child succeed. Answers to some of the more common questions related to hearing loss are addressed here.
It was a minute before curfew in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, and I was anxious to get home. It had been a surreal Memorial Day week in Minneapolis: Entire blocks of the city, including a police station and a branch office of my employer, were looted and burned to the ground. Thousands of protesters blocked the freeway, and the National Guard had arrived.
My progressive deafness started twenty years ago when I was eighteen. By the time I was in my thirties, I had profound deafness in both ears. I wore hearing aids in both ears, and they were turned up very loud. When I decided to go ahead with cochlear implantation at thirty-nine, I had a lot of questions, more than my hospital had time to answer. Thankfully, my AB Mentors answered some of them by email, and they were a lifeline for me during this time.
Hearing loss can cause feelings of isolation, frustration, depression, and fatigue. It has even been tied to cognitive decline. While one of the most common conditions in adults, hearing loss is also one of the most undertreated conditions. In fact, research indicates that less than 20% of those who could benefit from hearing devices such as hearing aids actually try them. There are many reasons why people do not seek treatment for their hearing loss. Denial, embarrassment, cost, and a lack of understanding of available solutions are just a few of them.
I’ve always had a deaf mother. When I was growing up, her hearing loss has defined our relationship, whether directly or indirectly. As a kid, it was confusing as to why other kids could talk to their parents whenever they wanted, but I had to fight over background noise or repeat myself multiple times, only to eventually be told that I should try repeating it later when there was no background noise.
Finding out that you have hearing loss can create a firestorm of questions in your mind. How did this happen? Will it get worse? Will I lose my hearing completely? Can hearing aids help me? What if hearing aids can't help me? These are all excellent questions, but one of the first questions your audiologist will answer for you is, “What kind of hearing loss do I have?”
J.P. Giuliotti is an accomplished American actor who also happens to be a cochlear implant recipient. His most recent role was on HBO’s hit show Room 104, where his CI was prominently visible, making him one of the first representatives of CI recipients on popular television. He shares with us how hard work and persistence lead him to success, despite this perceived disability.
As an ER nurse and a mum of three young, energetic boys, I know how important it is to maintain social distancing to support our medical systems during this pandemic. Everyday activities are being adapted, especially for me as a cochlear implant wearer. It’s been pretty crazy at our house, but that doesn’t mean the fun has stopped.
Leo Tolstoy said that “music is the shorthand of emotion.“ Listening to music is a universal experience that requires no shared understanding of words or language, and it can stimulate a full range of emotions such as joy, sadness, fear, excitement, and nostalgia.
Ever get stuck in traffic and realize you are about to run out of gas? That was me a few weeks ago. As much as I was worried about running out of gas, I also feared that my cochlear implant sound processor would run out of battery life while I was stuck in traffic for three hours on a snowy night. That was when I realized that I was not fully prepared for any type of emergency.
Our daughter Emmy was born with a profound hearing loss. Hearing aids were providing very little benefit and we quickly realized we needed a better solution. Our family decided that the right fit for Emmy was to pursue a cochlear implant.
My wife Carol has had hearing loss most of her life. She now uses a bimodal solution, with a cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other. As with many families where hearing loss plays a big part of everyday life, our story was one of making do and getting by until we couldn’t any longer.
I received my first cochlear implant (CI) in 2013 in my left ear and in 2018 in my right ear. But I wish I had gotten them sooner. I learned that this is a feeling shared by most people with CIs. When I asked why they waited, they said it was because all the unknowns of a CI overwhelmed them when making this decision.
Treatments for hearing loss have come a long way in the past 25 years. But one thing that has not changed is that the two most successful options for treating hearing loss continue to be hearing aids and cochlear implants. These two solutions help people hear in very different ways.