Some Background History

What would happen if one day you woke up hearing nothing? What would happen if you found out you couldn’t hear your alarm? What would happen if suddenly the only way you could hear was to depend on an electronic device?

Well this is what I face when I wake up every morning. I wake up to absolute silence and fall asleep to absolute silence. I am only able to hear the world around me when I click on a little silver button on my cochlear implant (a more advanced and complex version of a hearing aid).

I was diagnosed as hearing impaired when I was three years old. I was upstairs in my room reading (typical me) and both of my parents were calling me from downstairs, but I didn’t respond. They both headed up into my room. I was reading on the floor with my back to them. From the door, they called out my name and I didn’t turn around. Concerned, they took me to the hospital and that was when they found out that I was hearing impaired.

I had partial hearing in my left ear, and no hearing in my right. But it turns out I was hearing impaired since birth. I just spent the first three years of my life with partial hearing that steadily worsened.

A common question that is always asked was, “if you couldn’t really hear, how come your parents didn’t realize this sooner?”

Well…with the partial hearing I had, I was able to pick up speech fairly quickly (although it was very slurred), and became accustomed to lip reading. So…to put it bluntly, I tricked my parents, little devil that I am.

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Little devil: aka me

I was born three month early. I missed an entire trimester. My dad said that I could fit in the palm of his hand and that I was the cutest baby ever. Personally, I felt like I looked like human spaghetti.

It turned out after some testing, that I had missing nerves on my cochlea, a part of the inner ear that has nerve impulses in response to sound vibrations. Simply put, it’s a snail shell shaped organ that has nerves which transmit sound. I was missing some of those nerves and that is the direct cause of my hearing impairment.

A hearing aid was sufficient enough for about three more years but my hearing got to the point where a hearing aid wasn’t going to be able to help. What I needed was a cochlear implant.

After a surgery, I was able to wear a cochlear implant and from that point on my life changed. I could actually hear.

My next post will be about the surgery and how the aftermath changed everything.

If any questions pop into your mind about hearing impairments and cochlear implants, feel free to comment below or contact me here.

Thanks for reading!

– Karina