Kate, so enjoyed reading your post. I am writing in behalf of my husband, Donnie. He has bilateral cochlear implants.
He lost his hearing from German Measles around age 8. He wore two hearing aids through the years until they got to the point of not picking up so good.
He got his first implant in Nov. of 2008 (age 58). He started understanding speech in probably 4 months and continually progressed to understand speech really well with one on one and small groups of not more than three. I wish he could hear in a group setting as you described (work meetings). However he could understand our former pastor really well. (To our sorrow he recently resigned.)
He can hear on the phone really well if the person doesn’t talk to fast or too loud. He has to use the phone program installed on his Freedom processor.
He got his 2nd implant in Dec. of last year (2009). He chose to try the Nucleus Five processor. He was turned on in Jan. and up to now has been really disappointed in not understanding speech so far – 4 months later.
He understands a word or two every now and then. He has just this week started hearing the sprinkler running and dog barking. His audiologist keeps telling him to give it more time.
To our dissappointment he developed an ifection in the first implant the last of April. The surgeon had been very concerned for a long time, as the skin was SO thin in a spot behind the ear. Skin finally broke and started draining.
Doc did emergency surgery on May 5th to clean infection up and pull the skin back together. He has a large incision.
So, he has been in a totally silent world for 3 weeks. He lip reads pretty well with short conversations. He does not know sign language.
The infection is looking a lot better. We have been back to the surgeon every week since surgery and go back this Fri. (We live 2 ½ hours away).
The surgeon said he has NEVER been able to save an implant when infection starts, but last week he said Donnie might be his miracle. We sure hope so and have really been praying he won’t need a NEW implant. He is hoping he can resume wearing his processor this Friday. I do hope so.
Sorry I got so long. Just wanted to share his story and challenges he has been facing.
Wow, what a story – that is scary and amazing at the same time. I am hoping that Donnie’s ear will be okay, and that he wont need a new one, but if he does, then I guess there is still a chance that it will all be okay again.
but I know that is one of my big fears – losing the cochlear implant now that it works so well! I asked my surgeon many times before I got it “Have you ever had to replace the internal bits??? And was it successful??”
And of course, he said that it was preferable NOT to replace the internal bits of course, but that he had done it a couple of times, and it had worked out fine.
I trust him, so I reckon that even if the worst came to worst, Donnie would be okay too.
but good luck just the same, I’d love to be kept updated on how he goes next week.
I failed to get on here since I last posted about my husband, Donnie. He had to have more surgery in Sept. for infection cleanup and to pull the skin back together. Infection started back soon after surgery and now he has two small holes in the surgery site that the implant is visible.
The surgeon is talking of removing the implant. Letting the area heal for 3 months and then possibly putting in a new implant – waiting to hear from insurance.
Sure wish we knew where to go for a second opinion. He is so disappointed in the newer implant. Had that processor turned on for almost a year and still doesn’t understand speech with it. Hope you are doing well. Betty
I stumbled across your blog as I was writing a paper about childhood deafness for my Communication Science and DIsorders college program. I’m an undergraduate and was hoping I could get your permission to use one of your quotes on the feelings of isolation that you felt. I see that you haven’t posted anything in several years but thought I would give it a shot anyways. You can reach me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story has been inspiring and I hope all is well for you. Thanks-Joshua
Hi Kate, I’m fourteen years old and I lost my hearing at the age of nine months. I’m a girl. When I was two years old, I got a CI in my right ear. No child who gets a CI straight away hears perfectly. They get the sound, but since they haven’t been used to hearing, their brain, lacking practice, doesn’t interpret the sound that well. Many people who have been deaf from birth or from a small age , like me, need months of therapy, and even then, they don’t fully understand everything, or speak normally. I’m lucky that I have a devoted mom who sacrificed everything, every second of her personal time, to give me 24/7 therapy. She painstakingly taught me words and helped them actually get through to my brain. The audiologists in the centre were reportedly astonished by my progress. I owe it all to my mom. By my third birthday, there was nothing to distinhguish me from a normal hearing child. I could hear everything people said. I can speak normally. People who meet me don’t notice anything different. It did however take me some time to talk normally on a phone- these weird unwanted buzzing sounds always interrupted. When I got a mobile at the age of 11, that problem slowly started to disappear. Practice,practice and I could even manage on normal landlines. And the remnants of the problem just vanished when I got a nucleus 5 last year, with a built in telecoil . Now I can watch TV- though I need subtitles when watching foreign movies (I’m Sri Lankan) – and chat on the phone. I’m happy I’m me, and I realize I’ve been luckier than most .