The last few days have been very productive but trying.  Emotions are coming up about my hearing loss and things people say regarding my hearing loss are much stronger triggers for those emotions than they would normally be.  When you hear things about yourself that you know inside but don’t expose – such as your lessened ability to understand others or the fact that the phone is difficult – when others bring it up out into the open for you, it is hard to witness.

However, this goes along with the journey of better hearing and thus emotional support is so important.  I am in regular contact with my therapist, which is recommended to anyone undergoing the process.  Still, there will be many times where I have to process things on my own and eventually I remember that painful feelings will alleviate.  I am reminded that there is a big picture and each moment is just one tiny bit of that big picture.

Now, regarding this “big picture,
I’ve been very successful thus far.  I’m hearing beep-type sounds, which is exactly what should be happening at this early stage.  I’ve been practicing every day to process these new sounds by following along with captions on video as well as reading books on tape.  Also, having residual low frequency hearing (which the Hybrid version of the cochlear implant allows) is so useful and helpful in the journey.  I don’t need to retrain my brain for those sounds that it is receiving normally!  Plus, the residual hearing helps me follow along to phrases and words and supplements the new high frequency sounds so that they can more easily be attached to meaningful things.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey.  But it’s been an incredible journey.

My family has been so supportive as they’ve been right by my side as I begin the process.

Lisa, my AVT (formal auditory training – auditory verbal therapy) coach, has put me in touch with a psychotherapist/psychoanalyst who has bilateral cochlear implants (even though I have the Hybrid version, there is much overlap).  It isn’t to receive therapy, as I have my own therapist, but to communicate with each other as I am preparing for a career in psychotherapy and ironically psychoanalysis training has been in my mind as a future supplement to my learning!!!

Everyone is new to the Hybrid version of the implant, and so that has been a curiosity and learning experience for other people.  It’s been great to help people learn but also it’s been difficult because people don’t have the familiarity they have when dealing with people with regular cochlear implants.

This is not anyone’s fault and I don’t blame anyone!!!  I just am pointing this out.  As time goes by, people will learn from early adopters such as myself and be able to utilize that knowledge when working with other people.

I wouldn’t change a thing!  I just want to let people know that when I say “journey,” I truly mean it’s a journey!  It comes with incredible highs and lows.  But it’s worth it to me to hear and understand people better.

Please have patience with me as learning to hear with this device takes a long time, much longer than six months.  It often takes people years to continue to improve in different areas of communication and the cochlear implant is still a “tool” and not a cure.

However, the benefits of less fatigue, more support, better clarity, etc. are all worth it.