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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!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cochlear Implant Adventures: Trip to Advanced Bionics in California - Part I

I just spent the most amazing week in California, and I can't wait to write about it!  Advanced Bionics, the maker of my cochlear implants, has its headquarters in Valencia, California. They have a wonderful Connect to Patient program, where their cochlear implant recipients come to talk to their staff about their experiences. Many of the researchers and technicians don't get out in the field to meet the real people who use their cochlear implants, so this is a way for them to meet face-to-face and learn the impact these miraculous devices have on people's lives - what works well, what's on our wish lists, what suggestions we have. 

This wasn't my first time doing a Connect to Patient presentation.  I had come three years ago, while I was writing my book, Listening Closely: A Journey to Bilateral Hearing.  At that time, I was researching certain aspects of the book, and it helped to speak directly with people who were involved in developing and producing my cochlear implants.  I ended up writing about the visit itself, which became a chapter in the book, called "The Visit" (page 151).  The presentation I gave at that time was recorded, and that video is available on my website www.arleneromoff.com , captioned in English and Spanish (see previous blog entry about "Clickable Transcripts").  That visit had been an enchanting experience, so I was truly looking forward to this trip.

My husband accompanied me on this trip, and we flew out of Miami International Airport, into Los Angeles. I've flown on my own before, but it's always easier to have a companion to fend for all the communications along the way (and carry luggage) - so I didn't have to be extra alert, particularly in those noisy environments. It was like flying with a staff - made everything stress-free. The flight was uneventful, we touched down on time, picked up a rental car, and headed up I-5 to Valencia. Our hotel was next door to the Advanced Bionics building, just a short walk across the courtyard.
I was scheduled to spend the next day at AB, doing my talks and meetings throughout the day. I was still on East Coast time, so woke up bright and early - too early, actually. I peeked out behind the curtains, and nearly fell over. My room overlooked the AB building, and faced East. The "dawn's early light" was in front of me, with the sun just starting to emerge above the surrounding mountains.
A spectacular vision was unfolding before my eyes, beyond my imagination.  As the sun rose slowly into view, it cast an illuminating light on the AB building. 
Here I was contemplating how to begin my talk about the miracle of my cochlear implants, and I was being treated to a most amazing and unexpected vista to start my day! 

 The glow on the AB building - especially the significance of that building and what it represented to my hearing and my life - was inspirational.

 I knew exactly how I would begin my talk.

 " I woke up this morning, took a look outside my hotel window, and thought I had arrived in heaven."

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