Hello! My name is Kate, I am an Online Content Manager, and I live in Sydney, Australia.
I’ve had a progressive hearing loss since the age of 11, and am now profoundly deaf – I am 29 now, in 2009. No one knows what caused my hearing loss, which is annoying, but hey, what can you do but live with it!
I live with my partner Ben (who has normal hearing), we’ve been together a while, and bought an apartment together 2 years ago. He and I have some interesting methods of communication!
I have only just started to learn sign language (I am pretty bad at it! Keep signing things like “I would like to eat your trousers”, and other random stuff) and I wear hearing aids. I can hear environmental sounds and music, but voices are really muffled, so I mainly lip-read.
I don’t use a phone, can’t hear alarms very well, and there is no way I can hear people in the dark – because I can’t see their lips! You could argue I would be one of the worst people to be trapped with in a burning building in the dark, haha! Ok, hopefully that won’t ever happen!
So, I was finally assessed as being “finally deaf enough for Cochlear Implant” in May this year, and I have the operation in just 5 days. Oh boy.
I realise the roller-coaster ride I am in for, so that is why I have started this blog – as it will be a way of keeping a record of what happens to me, and what the experience is like. And really – a way of getting into perspective what could be the biggest decision of my life.
I am a bit anxious, but I figure that a positive mind-frame will be my most important tool in getting the most out of this … so, lots of self talk (“That’s it Kate! You can do it! Save the people from the burning building by sending a frantic message to the fire department with your mental powers only”)
Everyone is very excited about the impending operation and switch-on, but my big fear is that it won’t work very well, and people will be disappointed. In some ways I think that the disappointment of people around me would be worse than my own – because I have researched quite deeply into this subject, and I know the reality.
It is different for everyone, and for some, it just isn’t the ‘miracle’ that it’s made out to be. So this is why this blog is also to educate my friends and family about what it is really like.
I am getting a Cochlear Freedom Implant (well – I think I am! I had to order it, but in my blind moment of sheer amazement that I was actually getting it – I forgot to note which one it was – I know it’s Cochlear Ltd brand, and thats enough for me) and am getting it in my right ear. This has been my ‘bad ear’ for a while, and mostly they advise you getting your bad ear done, just in case it doesn’t work (geez, that’s great for the confidence, huh?).
If you are interested in what a cochlear implant is, and how it works, check out the links below:
So there you go – and if you don’t think it’s all a bit nerve-wracking by now, then you obviously haven’t read those links!
But seriously, everyone’s experience is different, which is why you have to research a lot, and why it is such a leap of faith.
Because no one really knows how it is going to turn out for you! but having said that – I really believe that you have to go into it with a certain element of positivity. Because I think it is also the drive that you have to make it work, that will make all the difference.
Well. We will see if I am right! Only 5 days to go until the implant operation, and then the switch-on is scheduled for Wednesday 22nd July.
Wish me luck!