Katelyn dealt with hearing loss throughout her childhood. She underwent several surgical procedures to try and heal her ear, but nothing worked. Eventually her doctor recommended the Cochlear™ Osia® System as a hearing solution for her cholesteatoma. She now embraces her hearing journey and is looking to inspire others to be proud of their differences. Read more:
“I have grown up with a medical condition called a cholesteatoma, which has now caused me to lose all of my hearing in my left ear. I have minor hearing loss in my right ear as well. I have had many surgeries so far and my last just before I finished my senior year of high school.
Hearing aids helped with things I had never heard before
I had worn a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid for several years. I will never forget my experience getting that first hearing aid. I cried. I didn’t want anyone to see it and I was so embarrassed. It took me some time to get used to it and when I did, I realized that the benefits were life changing. I heard things that I had never heard before.
Hearing aids weren’t enough – I was ready for a next step
The last two years with my hearing aid, I struggled to have a healthy ear due to an unhealthy eardrum and mastoid. I underwent several surgical procedures to heal my ear that just was never getting better. My doctor, who’s the best ever, tried everything: laser treatments, boric acid, gentian violet. I mean he really tried it all. Through all of this time of trying to heal my ear, I couldn’t wear my hearing aid. This made many things a challenge. I couldn’t hear my field hockey coaches and classroom learning was difficult, especially through masks. Being included with peers was hard. I was in for a checkup and my doctor said I think it’s time to talk about a hearing implant. I cried, again; but booked my appointment as fast as he could fit me in and was ready to take that next step. Within 2 months I had the surgery for my Osia System and activation with my audiologist.
I continued to struggle with bacterial infections in my ear due to my mastoid. At this point my doctor and I started talking about college approaching and not being so close for these constant check-ins. We made the decision together to do what is called a blind sac closure. He drilled out my mastoid, taking the anatomy out of my ear, along with a fat graph from my stomach to fill in my entire mastoid and canal. This closure left me with no natural hearing; it was pretty devastating and a huge adjustment.
Embracing a huge difference in sound
Having the Cochlear Osia Sound Processor1 at this point already made things a bit easier. I am able to hear so much clearer with it than with the traditional hearing aid. It has made a huge difference in the classroom and on the field. I was a bit embarrassed at first, but have learned to embrace it.
As I embrace my differences, I hope to show others that it’s okay to be different. I spend a lot of time working with younger kids, coaching them in field hockey. I hope that I am not just coaching them on how to play the sport but teaching them about accepting differences. I hope they see me as different and that being different is ok. I hope they see my confidence. I hope they see my compassion. I hope they see me as an inspiration.
I am proud of my journey and what I’ve gone through
I recently moved to college at Pace University, where I am studying biology and playing Division II field hockey. I definitely am going to be using the Mini Microphone to help with communication during games and in the classroom. I have accommodations in place to help me be the most successful I can be. During these next steps towards my future, I am hopeful that I can become a surgeon. I hope to continue to inspire, lead and make a change in how people see ‘different.’ I like to think that who I am today was shaped by what I‘ve gone through. I am so proud of my journey and where I am today.”
If you are seeking a hearing solution for a cholesteatoma, contact Cochlear today to see if the Osia System is an option.
- In the US, the Osia system is cleared for children 12 years and older. In Canada, the Osia system is approved for children 5 years of age and older.