Hello everyone welcome back to Hear and Now Podcast, my name is Sophia and in today’s episode we are going to be chatting about my cochlear implant story, from being a candidate to activation and rehab. Thank you so much for listening to this episode, make sure you like our Facebook page at Hear and Now Podcast, follow me on instagram at @sophialebano and subscribe to us on iTunes and Spotify! As always, the link to the transcript of this episode will be in the show notes, or at sophialebano.com/podcast
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Alright, now lets get into the show…
I really need to work on my transitions into my episodes a lot better, I feel like I’m always saying the same thing over and over again. I feel like this show needs to have more segments that just me talking and saying the same thing. I think I’ll put a poll up on my instagram after this goes live to find out what you guys want from me. Maybe a favorite of the week or highlight, I don’t know. You tell me! I also need episode ideas so help me out!
Anyway. Like I said earlier, in today’s episode I am going to be talking about my cochlear implant story. This is the second part of my hearing loss journey episode. If you haven’t already listened to it, make sure you find the episode down below.
When I left off in the last episode, I gave a brief explanation of where I am right now and what I am up to. I wanted to go more in detail about my journey to actually gaining my sound back after losing it 10 years ago. For a little recap, I received my first cochlear implant on my left ear on December 16, 2016. 17 months later, on May 7, 2018, I received my second implant in my right ear. Unfortunately, my story isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I became a candidate way back in 2013 but deferred for many reasons.
One, I wasn’t ready to endure a huge life-changing surgery. The rehab could take months and I wasn’t exactly prepared for that. Plus, unconditional support was incredibly important to me, and the school I attended was not equipped to handle that.
Two, even though I did qualify, the CI evaluation team didn’t communicate quite like they do now. I went to the speech therapist who told me she didn’t think it was 100% necessary to do the surgery at the moment. The loss was going to be greater than the gain. In other words, they knew that the amount of hearing I had left was potentially going to be more than what I was getting from the implants. There is no guarantee the surgery will work. It is definitely a shot in the dark when going for this surgery.
Three, timing just wasn’t right. I didn’t want to miss out on the fun things that were happening at the time, so I just kept delaying.
Four, fear. It was terrifying to think about getting a surgery, especially with it being so life altering.
So, I pushed off the surgery until my sophomore year of high school. The timing was just right, even though it also wasn’t. I know that probably doesn’t make sense but, I figured that if I wasn’t going to go back there anyway, it wouldn’t matter when I chose to do. But, my surgery fell right in the middle of midterms, and I was given a hard time by the school because my surgery was inconveniencing their schedule. It was literally the only time I could do it because my doctor was leaving for another hospital, and he had followed me since I first started there. I trusted him to do it, and so the timing was right.
I had the surgery, and I’ll spare you the details because I hate blood and yeah… In the time between my surgery and activation, I took time off from school to figure out what I wanted to do next. It was a hard time, but you can go listen to my last episode, Why it was Unconventional, and I tell you some funny stories from that time. On January 4, I was activated on my left ear with my cochlear implant. If you want to see the video, head over to my instagram, its the one where I’m wearing a brown sweater and leave a comment if you watched it!
Activation day was a lot at once. To go from not having any sound on that one side to having Donald Duck talking instead of normal voices, it was a big adjustment. Give me a second and I’ll pull up on my phone a simulator of what it sounds like. After a while it does sound normal, but for a while it is an interesting thing.
Fast forward to my junior year, I repeated the whole process over again. I got my second implant on my right side, but it was no where near as chaotic as the first one. I had the surgery on Monday the 7th, and then was back in school by the 15th. I had one therapy session and everything sounded normal by week 3 (I was activated June 5). I got lucky. Having one side already adjusted to the implant sound, it was easy to just blend them and not have to do intense therapy.
I am thriving now and I tested at hearing 96%! That’s crazy! If you are considering an implant, go for it! I am so glad that I did and I wish the same for everyone who has the opportunity. I know this episode was short this week but I need more ideas from you guys on what you want to listen to! Again, make sure you are following me on instagram to keep up with my posts. It’s still September so I want to see your deaf awareness posts. Use hashtags #deafawarenessmonth and #hearandnowpodcast so I can see you actively spreading awareness!
I think that is it for this week’s episode, make sure you subscribe and leave a review! I’ll see you all in next week’s episode! Bye.