Tiffany S. was in shock when finding out that she had single-sided deafness. After struggling to deal with the reality of her hearing loss, she decided it was time to do something to keep her connection with family, friends and her active lifestyle. After receiving the Cochlear™ Baha® 5 Power Sound Processor, her shift in focus came to advocacy and helping others with hearing loss:
“As a new mom in my early 30s running on several hours of sleep a night, I was in complete denial that hearing loss could even be happening to me. I thought that hearing loss is an age-related process…this is just a nasty sinus infection…it will eventually get better. Three months later, my ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) was quick to clarify that my sinus infection was in fact single-sided deafness.
With no hearing loss in my family history, I felt blindsided and immediately begin to question my faith asking, ‘How can this happen to me right now? What did I do wrong? How do I even have time for hearing loss?’
Deciding disconnection from my world was not an option
I fell into a total energy block that I knew would not be sustainable with my highly active Colorado lifestyle. I ride my mountain bike 365 days a year (rain, shine, snow or wicked wind). I am also an avid rock climber, paddle boarder, skier, runner and extreme sport warrior! But what really pulled on my heartstrings was the heartbreak, love and anxieties I contemplated of missing out on any part of my children’s lives. That was the exact moment I pivoted and decided I had to do something. I realized my situation would only get worse if I did not surrender, let go and make friends with my hearing loss. Disconnection from my family and friends was NOT an option.
Enter Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Taking action on my hearing loss
On bended knee I asked God to grant me the courage to take action over this new obstacle. I simply let my fear go and decided to take control over what I could change. I have always considered myself an expert at shifting gears. I had faith there was a hearing solution perfect for me. I demoed over a dozen different hearing solutions and within 2 months I had elected to undergo surgery to receive the Baha System with the Baha 5 Power Sound Processor. I knew that, for me, it was the smartest device on the market and the only one that could keep up with me!! It is unfortunate that so many people affected by hearing loss let it impact their relationships and careers by not taking action.
Thirteen years fast-forward in my hearing loss journey, I can say my hearing loss happened for me. Yes, I struggled temporarily with emotional disruption, self-pity and social isolation. But then I quickly realized what a blessing it was to never again take for granted the abilities of the human body. Plus, there was an added upside to deafness. Sans hearing aids, sleep is blissful and if an event gets too loud or chaotic, how nice it is to hit the ‘sound off’ button.
Hearing loss advocacy and awareness
Hearing loss advocacy and awareness is something I’m very passionate about. As a Cochlear volunteer, I get to be active in the Cochlear community and get to talk about how much the Baha 5 Sound Processor has changed my life. In 2017 I was a semi-finalist in the Mrs. Colorado USA pageant, what a privilege to walk the stage with my device on and in full view and share my platform on hearing loss awareness.
I also volunteer at my kids’ school teaching American Sign Language. It’s so fulfilling to get youth inspired to learn new languages, especially such an intuitive language like ASL. I adapt my ASL lessons to school-related matters with relevant signs that kids can take home and use immediately with their peers and family. My future life plans are to continue to share my story and inspire others to self-advocate for themselves by changing their mental landscapes to look at obstacles as blessings. I was recently named a HearStrong Champion for my efforts in hearing loss awareness.”
Were you diagnosed with single-sided deafness? Learn about our bone conduction solutions portfolio to find a sound processor that is right for you.