September 7, 2016

Facing The Truth



Finding out that I lost all my hearing at a young age was a hard truth to take in. It changes your life in more ways than one. However, when I got my Cochlear Implant and was able to hear again, there was joy in the air. Like any product, we don’t like to read or hear about the possibilities of product failure. Before getting my Cochlear Implant the doctors and audiologist warned that it might fail at some point in my life just like a computer that has endured years of wear and tear.

Over the last few months, I have had many doctors appointments in regards to my hearing and Cochlear Implants. My right Cochlear Implant got implanted 17 years ago next month and as awesome as it is, it caused my doctors to remind me that they can’t guarantee how long my internal devices will last. Usually, I just brush it off and say, “See you next time.” This time, I asked more questions and decided it was time to face the truth.

  • Here are some of the questions I asked about with the doctors and other professionals:
  • What is the success rate of re-implantation of the internal devices?
  • How long do I have to wait till I get the re-implantation after the implant fails?
  • How will this affect my ability in the workforce?
  • How will I continue to communicate?
  • Will insurance cover the re-implantation?

There are many other questions that I asked but this will help you get the picture. As I asked these questions and got a better idea of what may come sometime in my life, I actually felt hopeful. Not everything is a 100% success story but I will continue to have faith for when that time comes.

I was talking to a mother of two boys that have Cochlear Implants and she gave me some insight as one of her sons is facing re-implantation. Her biggest thing was “time” and “faith”. It took them almost a year to get approved by the insurance company to pay for most of the re-implantation process. While it took lots of time, they developed the faith that everything will work out. As I thought about that I asked myself, “What can I do now to prepare myself for that time to come?”

  • Here are some things that I am going to start doing now or in the near future:
  • Continue my education and occupation
  • Re-Learn ASL (American Sign Language)
  • Look into insurance policies that do accept Cochlear Implants (This is the most challenging task)
  • Live in the moment

Again, there are more items on that list but I would like to focus on the last point, “Live in the moment”. As I faced the truth, I had a choice to let it bring me down or let it help me grow and develop. I wanted this experience to help me and my family grow. My wife and I often talk about what changes we would have to adapt to if I could not hear for an extended period of time. As we both faced the truth I found more support and comfort that everything will work out. This used to be a less pleasant topic but now it has brought more comfort and strength into our lives. We are both going to re-learn ASL and teach our kids as they grow up.

Facing the truth can be daunting but it can also be a sense of security. Although my implant could last another 2-10 years – I want to make sure I am ready for that moment. This truth has been a hidden fear within me but now it is a truth that I am learning to understand and letting it help me grow.