Well it’s been a long while since my last post on sensorineural hearing loss. It’s been about 8 months since onset with no improvement. I had tried hearing aids and they just weren’t going to work for me. I have adapted quite a bit, but still find it hard to communicate and get so tired after hanging out with people for a short amount of time. I’ve also started to learn ASL.
Last year, the FDA approved cochlear implants for unilateral hearing loss and I was approved as a candidate to receive one.
In order to be approved, I had to go through testing with the most advanced hearing aid. This was to cheek and see if I could benefit from a hearing aid instead of getting a cochlear implant. The testing took a bit over an hour and I was shocked I could still hear certain things though it was very painful with how distorted the sound was. With the best hearing aids available, I have 4% word recognition. I needed to be under 60% to qualify as a candidate for an implant. I was approved.
I was so excited that I qualified! With a cochlear implant, I would be able to have directional hearing again and (hopefully) not be so fatigued after conversations. I can’t imagine how directional hearing will be since it’s been so long since I’ve had it, I’ve gotten used to hearing in mono.
This decision did not come lightly.
There are risks involved with surgery. Facial paralysis, vertigo, taste loss or change, worsening of tinnitus, etc. Overall, I believe the surgery to be worth it. The benefits of being able to hear and not having to worry about losing the ability to communicate is huge. If I was to lose my other ear, I would have a hard time communicating–even with learning ASL, it would take me and my family a long while before fully successful.
I saw what life was like for my grandma who was unable to hear or see and I know she would have taken the opportunity for an implant if she had it. I’ve talked to a few people who have had a similar situation like mine in their youth and now they are losing their hearing in their remaining ear. They talk about how isolating it is and how it leads to depression. It’s also easier to adapt to the implant and heal from it at a younger age.
I am still incredibly nervous of course and I am really worried about losing the ability to taste(!!!) food. It seems in most cases taste can return so that gives me some hope. Yesterday I was constantly second guessing myself, but today I feel much more at ease.
I made my mom’s lasagna yesterday and her chili today for dinner in case I do experience taste change. I thought long and hard about`1 what I’d want and couldn’t decide between the two. It feels a bit morbid, but hey, I love food.
Next time I report back, I will be part bionic 🙂
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