After over 40 years with no hearing issues, Jeanne’s sudden decline in her hearing came as a shock. An even bigger shock was learning that not only would she need a hearing aid, but her hearing was only going to get worse from her adult-onset hearing loss. Luckily, she had two things on her side: resiliency and her sister. Having already gone through a similar process, Jeanne’s sister was right by her side at every step of her journey back to hearing:
“I grew up as a person with normal hearing, but in 2013, at the age of 44, I began to notice that my hearing was not as good as it used to be. It got bad enough that I decided to have my hearing tested. I was shocked to find out that I had adult-onset hearing loss in both ears. My world seemed to turn upside down.
Pretty quickly, I was fitted with a hearing aid on my right ear but couldn’t get one in my left ear due to speech discrimination issues. Over the next couple of years, my hearing rapidly deteriorated. Adjustments were made to my hearing aid, but finally the day came that no more adjustments were possible. My hearing aid alone was no longer enough.
At that point, I was referred to the local cochlear implant clinic. It took less than an hour for the audiologists to determine that I was a candidate for a cochlear implant.
The journey to hearing once again
After doing all of the required tests and evaluations, it was time to make a decision regarding which implant company I wanted to go with and where I would like my surgery to be done. I chose Cochlear’s implant system, as this was the same brand that my sister had, and I thought it would be cool for us to have the same kind! I also decided that I wanted the same surgeon that my sister had used. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to choose another surgeon to do my surgery.
Within two weeks of having to change surgeons, I was very fortunate to get an appointment with my doctor on June 27th, 2016. After he did his evaluations, he scheduled my cochlear implant surgery for July 22nd. I did not have a lot of questions for the doctor, as my sister was able to answer most of them; that was a unique advantage!After a busy few weeks of pre-op appointments, surgery day arrived. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous, especially because I had never gotten surgery before. Sure enough, the surgery went well and I was back in my room by 2 in the afternoon. The next morning, my sister, who was with me every step of the way, drove me the four and a half hours home.
To activation and beyond
After a few weeks of healing, it was activation day. It was a day that I had dreamed about for two years. The day I would be able to begin hearing again. The activation went smoothly, and I was shocked that I could hear so many things; things that I had not heard in two years. The blinker in the car, the tires on the road, noise in general. From that very first day, I adjusted to my cochlear implant very quickly. In fact, I only needed a few adjustments over the next three months and was already scoring 100 percent on the listening tests.
The only real issue I had was the fit of the behind-the-ear processor. It was uncomfortable for me and bothered my incision. Also, I have 12 piercings on my left ear which meant that I had to remove one because of the sound processor. However, that didn’t last long, as I was given the opportunity to upgrade to the Kanso® Sound Processor. By the way, I was the very first person in New Brunswick to receive the Kanso Sound Processor and I love it!
Having a cochlear implant has been an absolute joy. I missed my hearing when it was gone and to have the gift of getting it back meant everything to me. I will be forever grateful to my doctor and Cochlear for giving me the chance to hear again.
Oh, and as an ode to my experience, I got a tattoo as my way of celebrating the fact that I can, ‘Hear now. And always’!”
Are you struggling with adult-onset hearing loss and wondering if you are a candidate for cochlear implants like Jeanne? Learn more here.