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Cochlear Implants, hearing loss and more! I carry an interesting perspective: someone who had normal hearing growing up, lost it all slowly as an adult, then regained it with cochlear implants. So I'm deaf, but I can hear - a true miracle. If you'd like to know more about me and my bilateral cochlear implant experiences right away, my two books have a wealth of information - see the links below. Check out the list of upcoming events too - perhaps one day we'll get to meet!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cochlear Implant Miracles: Quiet or Silent

We had a picnic today, somehow managing to find an idyllic spot in the woods that no one else had discovered.  We sat at a picnic table in a covered pavilion, laid out our luncheon goodies, and sat facing the woods.

This was Florida, so we were surrounded by varieties of palms and other tropical trees.

There was no one else there - not a soul.  It was then that I remarked, "It's quiet here." 

And with that remark, my mind began pondering what made it "quiet."  I didn't really hear anything - but yet, it wasn't silent.  There was a slight rustle of leaves and the whisper of a breeze - enough to connect me to this environment.   

I took off my cochlear implant headpieces, and the difference was stark.  It was dead silent - the connection to my surroundings had been broken.  And so, in this simplest of activities - a casual picnic in the woods - I realized that there is a vast difference between quiet and silent.


  1. Oh, yes! i have experienced this, too. I have the same auditory history as you, and I still sometimes find the "dead silence" unnerving. It can be soul-deadening. There is so much LIFE in quiet, and it is such a joy to participate in it with my bionic ears. I'm with you--so very thankful for my CIs.

    1. I really appreciate this comment - confirms my speculation, and once again, shows how similar we all are.

  2. Indeed! When my worst ear finally could hear the silence, it took me several days to identify the sound. It was such a relief when my brain figured out how to hear the silence. When I changed clothes after work, the CI would slip off and I would not notice because the lack of sound was dead air with or without the CI. That stopped happening when I could hear the silence.

  3. so very true. I had a deaf student in my Sunday school class prior to my hearing loss in '94. Now after losing my hearing, I can finally understand that complete silence. Sometimes I actually enjoy it, but quiet places are my favorite, just sitting alone listening to a creek or the sounds of nature. Thanks for your insight. Byron

  4. Love your blog post!! Very well put. While I have not had CI yet, I am a candidate and working towards getting one. However, having had HAs most of my life... I know exactly how you feel. Without my HAs, I hear almost nothing unless its a loud crash or something.

    One day when one of my dogs got to my hearing aid and chewed it up while I was in the shower... and I get out to find my hearing aid chewed up, I broke down crying. I needed to get to work, but how do I contact work to let them know what happened, I can't go in like this! I can't call, I can't hear on the phone without my HA! I was so freaking out. Somehow, I was lucky enough to just call my grandma and I waited some time, then said 'grandma, I can't hear, my dog just chewed up my hearing aid, I need you to call my work and explain what happened... and that I can't get in til later when the hearing and speech center opens so I can get a loaner HA'. I prayed that would work, sure enough it did! I felt completely disconnected from my world. It was the most awful feeling to me. Even now, when my HA batteries die, I feel that way again for a few moments til I get the battery changed. But its funny, I seem to be ok with it when I'm in the shower, no HA... but I have noticed that it seems when I'm around water, sounds are a lil more amplified?

    I imagine with a CI that complete deafness will be even more 'dead' than what I have now. Not sure how I'll deal with that at night time when I go to bed, especially knowing I have 2 young kids that I need to be alert for. I'm sure I'll manage.

    Thank you for your enlightment on the subject. :)