When I was one year old, my parents discovered that I was deaf, and were told that I would never learn to hear or speak and would need to be placed in an institution where I would only sign. My parents were frightened by this prediction and did everything in their power to ensure that I would grow up living a normal life.
I immediately received hearing aids and began intensive auditory verbal therapy. I was mainstreamed in normal schools from the beginning. However, my hearing kept getting worse and worse, until the point came when we started to do research about cochlear implants.
At the age of 11, I received my first implant at the center in Warren, OH, and was implanted by Dr. Franklin Rizer (RIP). This first implant allowed many new doors to be opened to me and changed my life in a way I did not expect. I went on to a prestigious high school, was involved in many extracurricular activities, and received many awards for my photography, leadership skills, community service, and writing.
At a routine mapping one day, my audiologist asked me if I was considering a second implant. I didn't even realize that it was an option because of insurance, but a little over a month later, I found myself waking up from the surgery, with the knowledge that many new doors would soon be opened. Just a few days before my high school graduation, my second implant was turned on and I was able to hear everything happening on my right side! Sounds were
At graduation, as I received my diploma, I could hear clapping from all around as I took this step into a new stage of life. Three months later I boarded a plane with 84 other recent high-school graduates for a program called Nativ-a year long study abroad experience in Israel before college.
Here in Israel I have had amazing opportunities-some in a classroom and some outside. I have learned about the history of Jerusalem while being able to look outside the window
While these experiences would have been amazing with just one cochlear implant, or in fact, none at all, having the amazing sense of hearing that two implants gives you has allowed me to hear the Muslim prayer calls five times a day, the siren before the Sabbath on Friday afternoons, the rustling of the trees in the wind, and the noises of birds overhead.
Sound is within every experience, it is up to you to pick your experiences and allow yourself the opportunity to hear the sounds within.