a good friend of mine - who is a science teacher at Hawthorne High School - asked me to come talk to a couple of her classes about my cochlear implant. at first, the idea terrified me because i am NOT a fan of public speaking, but i swallowed my fear and agreed to be a guest-speaker at the school.
i wasn't sure if i spoke too quickly or too quietly, but nobody had any complaints, so i guess i did an okay job. i basically told the "life story" of my hearing loss -- how my parents found out, what it was like wearing hearing aids, how i got by all those years in school as a HOH student and then of course, my implant experience.
i discussed details about the surgery, the hook-up and the two processors i wear. i even passed them around the classroom so that the students could take a look at them up close. as scared as i was to be speaking in front of a large group of people (there were around 30, i think), it felt very empowering to "brag" about my CI. for some reason, getting to share my story with all these wonderful kids validated my experience in a way and made it more REAL for me.
at the end of my presentation, the students asked me some very interesting questions. because some of them i had never even thought about, i figured i would share them with my blog-readers:
- Q: what is your favorite sound? A: i was not prepared to answer this and wish i had come up with something more unique and original, but the only thing i could think of (besides every new sound i've heard) is my husband's voice -- being able to hear him without having to lipread him is so rewarding. my least favorite sound was a no-brainer, though, and that is the vacuum cleaner... ugh.
- Q: do you regret getting implanted? A: NO WAY! if i had to do everything all over again, i would... no doubt about it. there is nothing i would change or do differently. gosh forbid something ever happens to the hearing in my other ear, i would LOVE to be implanted on that side, as well (that is, if my health insurance approves it)!
- Q: what is the difference between the two processors (the ear-level versus the body-worn one)? A: the sound-quality is definitely different -- the ear-level processor sounds more "mechanic" or "robotic" than the body-worn processor, but that is a small price to pay when i don't want to be tied down with wires.
- Q: will the implant ever have to be replaced? A: no. because i am an adult, my cochlea and mastoid bone will not change in size, so the implant shouldn't shift/move out of place. for children who are implanted at a very young age, replacement of the inner parts is sometimes necessary. i'm no expert when it comes to this, but those that are curious, i did find this tidbit on the Internet -- Reimplantation is necessary in approximately 5 percent of cases because of improper electrode insertion or migration, device failure, serious flap complication, or loss of manufacturer support. In general, reimplantation in the same ear is usually possible, and thus far individual auditory performance after reimplantation equals or exceeds that seen with the original implant (Cochlear Implants in Adults and Children. NIH Consens Statement. Online 1995 May 15-17 [cited 2005 March 16]; 13(2):1-30).
anyway, it was a *great* experience for me... and hope that my visitors think the same!