Tomorrow at 11.30am I get switched-on.

I have been waiting for this moment, not just since the surgery 3 weeks ago, but for about 10 years.

I first knew I was a candidate for a cochlear implant when I was about 17 or 18 years old. I always thought to myself  “one day I will get it, but not now”. It was too scary a thought back then.

As the years progressed, and my hearing worsened, I always thought, “if worst comes to worst, and it gets unbearable, I can get an implant”. It was always this distant, frightening aspect of the future – a moment when my hearing loss would get the better of me, and I would ‘succumb’.

In fact, it hasn’t really been like that. I probably could have continued on the way I have been – with hearing aids doing very little! Because I lip-read, I can ‘get by’. But who wants to spent their lives just ‘getting by’!?

Some people might say, why did you wait so long?

Well, if you were the one talking to all the doctors and audiologists about the pros and cons, you would wait too! It is not simple. It is not easy. It requires a lot of planning, there are so many potential risks, you need to have a supportive network of people around you, and unless you have private health insurance like I did, it costs a hell of a lot. It also requires a certain amount of faith in yourself, because it’s also a lot about the way you think that affects the success of the implant.

So, you can see why tomorrow is so huge for me.

All the different people I have spoken to that have implants have all had such amazing and different experiences.

I think the 4 main hopes I have for my cochlear implant would be:

  1. I’d love to be able to hear and understand the voices of my little nieces and nephew. They are all under the age of 5, and they are so hard for me to hear. I want to hear when they ask me stuff, and make comments on things
  2. I want to be able to play the piano again – I had to stop when I was 18 because I couldn’t hear the differences between the notes anymore. That was devastating, so I stopped playing. I’d be so happy if I could play again.
  3. I ‘d love to be able to hear the voices on the radio when I’m in the car, and hear the lyrics to my favourite music. Maybe even watch a movie at the cinema.
  4. And most of all, I’d like to be able to call my mum, and tell her I love her, without having to have someone standing next to me telling me what she’s saying.

If anyone of these things was made possible by an implant, then I will be happy.

But either way, I think that tomorrow will be up there with the other big life moments I’ve had that get mentally added to  “The Grand and Unabridged Compendium of the Historical Moments of Kate Locke’s Life”.

2009’s entry will say something like “Cochlear implant happened, and it was good/bad/awesome/stupid/changed my life/ruined my life/made me grow wings/caused nuclear war/saved the planet (select correct corresponding descriptive term).”

Who knows what the future will bring?

Let’s hope not nuclear war!

To my family in New Zealand, South America, Brisbane and Melbourne – I will post all about the switch on tomorrow night! Wish me luck! And maybe one day I might even be able to call you on the phone.

Have you ever wondered how deaf people listen to music or watch movies or TV?

To understand what they are hearing, they usually need captions.

I used to be able to hear normally… and one of the things I really miss is being able to hear the lyrics to music.

I can hear some music quite well with my one remaining ear – jazz, alt rock, folk. Other music of course sounds horrific (mainly violins/classical, and heavy metal).

Unfortunately, daggy pop-music sounds quite good to my ear – which means Britney Spears, Katy Perry, that Swedish band that sang ‘Barbie Girl’…

However, as a deaf person, I can’t hear lyrics, so, unless I ask someone, I have no idea what they are singing about.

I have a very clear memory of when I was about 17, driving to Newcastle with my mum. She always let me play the music I liked (what a mum!!!), and there was this song I loved called “Remember me” by Blue Boy. I used to sing along with it, because I thought that the words were “meh meh mehmeh- mehmehmeh meh meh meh”

I finally asked mum whether they were actually saying anything, and I remember her saying “Well, let me see…” and she rewound the tape, and went through the entire song, listening, and sang me all the words, so I could lip-read them.

Thinking back – what a wonderful wonderful thing my mum did for me. All the more so because the words are SO STUPID AND ATROCIOUS!

See lyrics below!!!

Remember Me, by Blue Boy, 1997
Chorus:
Remember me, I’m the one who had your babies.

***YES, WHAT YOU ARE READING IS CORRECT: This is the only line in this song!!! It is repeated several times.

I actually preferred the song my way, with all it’s “meh meh meh”s

If you are interested, check out the video clip. This is still one of my all time favourite songs. I wonder if it’s because I can hear the beat so well. I can hear the singer’s voice still, but like I said, it just sounds muffled.

Check it out:

This is a YouTube music video of one of my favourite songs - "Remember Me" by Blue Boy - I never realised how stupid the lyrics were, until I got my mum to sing them to me. Click here to open YouTube and watch it. You will need sound.

This is a YouTube music video of one of my favourite songs - "Remember Me" by Blue Boy - I never realised how stupid the lyrics were, until I got my mum to sing them to me. Click here to open YouTube and watch it. You will need sound.

Now, one other thing you might find interesting – there is a blog out there by a guy in America that is dedicated to captioning all videos online to deaf people like me.

For the first time ever I was able to watch a Britney Spears video with captioning, so I could understand the lyrics. I mean, most of the time I can lip-read Britney. And boy. Does she pronounce her “L’s”!! She sings like she is licking something… Which kind of captures what the whole Britney brand is all about.

But anyway, after watching these captions, I have lost all respect for Britney’s songs. Now I understand why people hate her. She just sounds really stupid!

But hey. Her tunes are good. Pity she doesn’t make up the tunes. HAHA

Check out Britney’s captioned video below!

Hilarious captioned version of "Oops. I did it again" by Britney Spears. Every music video should be captioned, because then maybe stupid lyrics would never be released!

Hilarious captioned version of "Oops. I did it again" by Britney Spears. Every music video should be captioned, because then maybe stupid lyrics would never be released!

I salute Bill Creswell, hero to deaf people, bane of brainless musicians, for Captioning the internet, one video at a time.

My name is Kate, I am an Online Content Manager, and I live in Sydney, Australia.

I have been profoundly deaf for about 5 years, having lost my hearing slowly over the years from the age of 11 – 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!  >>Click here to read MORE >>