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AMA

I had a cochlear implant at 50 and am living my best life

76 replies

Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 22:50

I assume this will only interest people with a hearing loss but even if I can reach one person who is considering it, it would be worth it.

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FinallyFluid · 28/10/2021 23:18

His implant has been upgraded on a regular basis, he can hear lots, he just can't hear me when I need something doing. Grin

Southampton told us to take it easy, but he pushed himself hard from the off, he would drive to work (post op) with radio 4 in the background and it was just white noise, then slowly words started to stand out.

His favourite CD for over dinner is/was American Pie, we listened to that every bloody evening over dinner for about two months until his brain processed it.

The day he phoned me, and could hear me, I cried.

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purpleme12 · 28/10/2021 23:18

Also, do you lip read it sign? Or did you never learn?

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stairway · 28/10/2021 23:18

Can you hear music and birds sounds etc or is it just speech you can hear?

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purpleme12 · 28/10/2021 23:19

@Ibizafun

purpleme12 If you have memory of speech (ie were not born deaf), your outcome will probably be very good. You are right in that there’s no going back once you have the op, but let me tell you I am grateful for this every day, and would not go back for anything.

Oh this is really interesting and helpful I didn't know this
Thank you
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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:20

Classica Sorry I missed your question. I didn’t feel pressure as I wasn’t really part of the deaf community, as far as I was concerned it was a disability.

I do appreciate that it is a sensitive subject for some deaf people, who would wonder if how they were wasn’t good enough for me.

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BluebellsGreenbells · 28/10/2021 23:23

My hearings fine and I listen to all the 80’s classics - cool it’s Bluetooth to your hearing aids, who knew!!

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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:24

FinallyFluid my dh also cried when I called him.

I did lipread to some extent and learnt to sign out of interest but didn’t have deaf friend so didn’t use it. I can hear birds, music, anything, though if I’m honest music is a little distorted.

After the op when I got home, I heard a strange sound. It was my puppy’s paws on the marble floor.. was just incredible.

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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:29

Another reason I hesitated with the op was that I was told for years my hearing wasn’t bad enough! I happened to be in New York and saw an audiologist there who told me it was certainly bad enough and I would benefit greatly.

In the UK, adults are only entitled to one implant so I had to have the second privately. I think this is so unfair as all mammals have two ears, for hearing, balance and locating sounds. If I’m honest it wasn’t till I had the second one that my life really changed.

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bollocksybollocks · 28/10/2021 23:32

"I do appreciate that it is a sensitive subject for some deaf people, who would wonder if how they were wasn’t good enough for me."


This has always been difficult for us, we had some negative views from the Deaf community because they wanted us to allow our son to be old enough to make the decision himself to get implants, he was profoundly deaf at birth so by the time he could make that decision it would have been much harder for him to pick up speech sounds, some of the Deaf community also feel that hearing parents are trying to 'fix' their deaf children by giving them implants, as far as we are concerned there is nothing to fix, he is perfect as he is, we are just giving him access
To lots more opportunities and experiences.
I think there just needs to be a bit more understanding from both the deaf and hearing communities

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FinallyFluid · 28/10/2021 23:32

Re puppy, about two weeks after the switch on Dh said I think there is something wrong with this, I can hear a clinking noise.....

Process of elimination revealed it was the small change in his pocket trousers jangling as he walked.

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purpleme12 · 28/10/2021 23:36

@Ibizafun

Another reason I hesitated with the op was that I was told for years my hearing wasn’t bad enough! I happened to be in New York and saw an audiologist there who told me it was certainly bad enough and I would benefit greatly.

In the UK, adults are only entitled to one implant so I had to have the second privately. I think this is so unfair as all mammals have two ears, for hearing, balance and locating sounds. If I’m honest it wasn’t till I had the second one that my life really changed.

Wow I didn't know you could have one implant on the NHS
Surely if you only have one you'll be out of kilter only hearing on one side.. Unless I've got that wrong
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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:37

bollocksybollocks I am so very pleased you made that decision for your son. It IS (obviously) a disability, why would you want to limit his options in a hearing world? How old is he now and how is his speech?

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purpleme12 · 28/10/2021 23:38

When I had my most recent hearing test they gave me a graph with my level of hearing loss.
It's actually worse than I thought, looking at that
I think cos it's normal to me I go round assuming it's normal for everyone else too

Really interesting thread thank you

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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:40

Yes purpleme12 I was definitely out of kilter and balance with one implant. You need two to locate sounds, for example walking down a street I would not know where the sound of that car was coming from. When I got my second, everything fell
Into place.

It was bloody hard work though, didn’t happen overnight.

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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:42

Purpleme12 I put it off for years, seeing the lines on the graphs go lower each time. It depends how well you manage.

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purpleme12 · 28/10/2021 23:42

How did you have to work at it? (If that makes sense?)
That's so sad that you can only get one on the NHS

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bollocksybollocks · 28/10/2021 23:44

@Ibizafun

bollocksybollocks I am so very pleased you made that decision for your son. It IS (obviously) a disability, why would you want to limit his options in a hearing world? How old is he now and how is his speech?

His speech is amazing, he is 8 now and
when he speaks people can't tell he is deaf, he is doing incredibly well at school and we feel unbelievably lucky that he was born in a time when he could have access to such amazing technology, he has never known any different so it is always interesting to hear from someone who was born hearing and great to hear that your experience is so positive.
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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:46

After the op you see a speech therapist weekly. They initially give you a sheet of paper with sounds to listen out for, and you tick them off when you get them. I did listening exercises online and listened to the radio in the car where every week I just got more and more. Now I just hear, I don’t think about it.

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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:48

bollocksybollocks I am so delighted to hear that. Just incredible. My speech is also normal, nobody would realise I am deaf, but to be honest I don’t feel deaf as I can hear.

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purpleme12 · 28/10/2021 23:49

How long did it take to get the operation from the time when you made the decision to have it?

Also if you say you had to listen out for sounds after the operation, what could you hear straight away after the operation, without trying?

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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:49

bollocksybollocks have you considered sharing your story with other new parents who find themselves in the position? It’s such a positive story.

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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:54

purpleme12 It was surprisingly quick from the time I decided to the time I had it, less than two months. I also only wanted one surgeon doing it, had I not been fussy it would have been sooner.

You have to wait for the incision to heal before “switch on”. Switch On is horrific, all I heard was the sound of someone scraping nails on a blackboard. But in the car home, dh said some random short words and I got quite a few without looking at him. Every single day was better. But yes, it’s horrible at first.

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Nsky · 28/10/2021 23:54

I’m very happy for you, how lovely!x

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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:56

Nsky thank youFlowers It was the single best decision I have ever made and has given me my life back.

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Ibizafun · 28/10/2021 23:57

Anyway goodnight all, look forward to answering any more questions tomorrow!

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