Hey guys! So I know that lately I have been beaming about how great the cochlear is, but today I want to talk about the flip side of the coin (and there is a flip side of the coin).
Deciding to get the cochlear was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. As great as technology is, the cochlear does not, I repeat, does not always work for everyone. And the extent that it does work on people varies from case to case. This is what scared me most. Did I really want to mess around with what little hearing I had? If this cochlear did not work, I would actually lose all of my hearing in my left ear. It was an all or nothing gamble that should be taken seriously and the pros and cons should be heavily considered.
My life prior to getting the cochlear was relatively similar to my life now. I was still a straight A student, I still danced, I still talked to friends, I wrote, I laughed, and so forth and so on. I was the same version of myself that I am today, except perhaps a bit more reserved, only because I was not entirely sure of what was going on around me auditorally wise. (Auditorally? is that a word? Audiologically? No, the red line still isn’t going away :P)
Here’s what the cochlear did for me: It ENHANCED my abilities to do all these things I had done before. It made hearing come easier to me so I could enjoy the activities I loved doing that much more. One thing getting the cochlear made me realize was how hard I was working before to achieve everything I was able to achieve. I never realized how tiring and how much energy goes into hearing and much effort I was putting in, straining my ears while other “normal” hearing people barely wasted a brain cell. The cochlear’s main impact on me was that it changed how much effort I put into hearing. I did not need to read lips anymore or be looking at the source of the sound to decipher it. It made me more confident in what was going on around me. The cochlear was a life changer in that it made hearing easier for me, but it did not change who I am or what I achieved.
I do not like to be defined by my cochlear, because my cochlear does not define me. I have, and always will define myself, and the cochlear is like a friend helping me along the way.
It is also important to remember that the cochlear is only a machine. It is not capable of magic. It does not always work. There are still moments when I still feel like I can’t hear and there are days when I will say “what?” more than usual. But that is to be expected, because nothing is perfect. It is just that the positives balance the negatives. The ease of hearing that the cochlear brings to me most days is worth the handful of days or moments when it doesn’t perform as well as I’d like.
For instance, when I dance, I have to use wig tape to stick the cochlear to my head, clip the magnet to my hair with a GIANT hair clip and use a mold to lock it into my ear. Though this may sound like a lot it sometimes fails and there are occasions when the cochlear will fall off and the music is reduced to floor vibrations and a bass to me.
But no matter what, I continue to make do. I continue to work hard. I continue to define myself by the things that I do and achieve, rather than the machine I wear.
I am still the same self I was before the cochlear. Just perhaps I am a more well rested version of that self.