At the beginning of this year I never would have guessed that I would get my 2nd cochlear implant at the end of this year. Crazy how quickly things change.
Not long after my one year mapping appointment for my first CI last December, I started noticing that my left ear, the one with the hearing aid, was ringing more loudly and felt really stopped up. I also noticed that my hearing aid didn’t seem to be contributing as much to my overall hearing as it had before.
Turns out I had swimmer’s ear. I thought once that cleared up it would be the end of it. Not so. I later went for testing to see about upgrading my hearing aid, and found out during that test that my hearing had dropped to the point where I could no longer understand speech. This was all coincidental, and had nothing to do with the swimmer’s ear.
After a couple rounds of antibiotics and steroids, my hearing improved briefly, then dropped again, rendering my hearing aid completely useless .
Thankfully, my right CI was able to take over and help me continue to function relatively normally while I went through the process of getting approved for a cochlear implant in my left ear. Without my right CI, I would have been in a much different situation this year. Because of it, I was still able to communicate and listen to music, movies, etc.
My surgery for my left CI was December 13th, and I was activated on December 30th. I am amazed at how quickly my left ear is improving–by minute practically. I’m able to hear speech, which took a couple of weeks to achieve with my right side.
Despite the different sounds coming from each implant–right ear sounds normal, left sounds a little cartoonish, they still somehow find a way to work together and provide an even, balanced sense of sound. I can’t wait to observe how they sound when my left one gets fully trained. I’ve never had equal hearing on both sides before.
Since I’ve lost the rest of my hearing, I have not had to deal with the wild hearing fluctuations, pressure headaches, dizziness, or vertigo. I still have horrible tinnitus (ringing), but as my left implant improves, the tinnitus should improve. I am grateful to live in a day and time where thanks to technology, going completely deaf worked in my favor.
So, in 2014, I look forward to training my left ear and getting my balance on track. It’s been a tough 5 years hearing and balance-wise, but “hopefully” it can only look up from here on out.