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Sharing Stories

Barb’s Story

I was 20 years old when my hearing began to deteriorate.  I had normal hearing up until then and noticed a mild loss halfway through college. After graduation, I purchased a hearing aid and wore it only part time.  I was married and had 2 children before I was finally persuaded by my audiologist to get a hearing test and new hearing aids.  My hearing had become worse and continued to do so until 2000 when I demonstrated a severe loss in both ears.  I had tried new hearing aids once again but was told by my audi that he couldn't do much more for me and that I should try a ci.  I was shocked and very angry that he would say such a thing and told him so.  His reply was that perhaps he had "planted a seed" and it was something I could consider.  

I saw a friend who happened to also be a ci and told her what I had heard.  Her reply was similar...that I should possibly consider it and that she was a attending a forum (Cochlear) and would I like to join her.  I was scared to go but just couldn't find a reason why I shouldn't.  I knew that I needed to get as much information as possible so that I could make an intelligent decision. 

I attended a Nucleus Forum in February of 2003 and it was there that I met another adult like myself who had a ci and was doing wonderfully with it.  She told her story and it was so similar to my own yet she was now hearing on the phone, hearing in one to one conversations, etc.  After listening to her story, I knew I just had to look into it.  

I e-mailed University Hospitals in Cleveland, specifically Dr. Cliff Megerian who took
the time to reply and answer all of my questions.  I had surgery in June of 2003 and after my initial stimulation in late June, my world has changed dramatically.  It took awhile to really hear clearly but because the sounds were so crisp and clear in comparison to the hearing aid, hearing was never considered hard work.  It was just fascinating listening to sounds that I hadn't heard clearly in a very long time.  In just about a months time, I was listening to the TV, car radio, using the phone and enjoying all social events with an increased self confidence that I  hadn't had in years.  Many people commented on my clear speech as well.  

This experience was so very positive that I decided to have my other ear implanted in June of 2005 and feel that now I have normal hearing on both sides.  Music was good with one ear, it is fantastic with both.  I can hear conversations on both sides of me and can use the phone on either ear.  I started taking piano lessons once again...something I hadn't played in a long time.  Most of all, I feel I am the person I was meant to be.  I am a teacher, mother of five, wife, community volunteer, church member, PTA board member, founder of a local ci support group -- all titles  that are part of the new me.  And as a foot note -- when in the booth at the audiologists yesterday, I was able to hear sounds at 15 db with my newer (Freedom) implant.  That was quite impressive to me.

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