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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!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bilateral Cochlear Implants - happy feelings again

I had another "better hearing" experience today - and the happy feelings that seem to go along with that.  I'm still adapting to the new software on my processors, called ClearVoice.  It's geared to dimming droning background noise, but in doing so, it seems to have benefits on beyond obviously noisy environments. It seems to enhance all environments, and seems to keep getting "better" - especially with two ears.  And that's what happened today.

I was having a routine diagnostic x-ray procedure, done as an out-patient in the local hospital.  To navigate this appointment, I ended up speaking to a half-dozen people in a variety of environments, on all sides of me, and sometimes without looking - and I did it all!

First was the valet parking guy, then the information desk attendant, and then the receptionist.  These offices always have you sit in a waiting area and then call your name. Even if you tell them you might not hear your name being called (one never knows with acoustics, voices, distance, etc.), they don't always "get it."  Because of this situation, though, I found myself in a lively discussion with the receptionist, explaining my cochlear implants. It was a wonderful conversation, and we were really getting along!

Then to the waiting area - and I had no problem when they called my name.  YAY!  Then into the x-ray area - and these rooms always seem to have ever-present fans or electronic hums.  I was doing fine hearing the radiologist. But then she moved across the room, and kept giving me instructions. I hadn't really expected her to talk to me from that distance, but before I could tell her that I might not hear her, I realized that I had heard her clearly.  I mean CLEARLY.  Unexpected dialogue, without looking, across the room (okay - not a big room, but still not standing next to me) - and the words went straight to my brain!  That is definitely "better"!

So then I started having a chatty conversation with her - even asked her name (Carolyn.)  This was definitely not my "usual" behavior, but it felt good, and there was that happy feeling coming on again.  As I left the room, I had to pass the receptionist's desk - and then, for some reason, I backtracked a bit, and said good-bye to the receptionist I had chatted with when I first came in.  I had connected with her as a human being, and it was so interesting - the connection flowed both ways.

Socialization bumped up a notch - that's what I was experiencing.  The words coming in "better" were somehow allowing me to interact faster, easier, and in a more meaningful way.  And that definitely registered on my brain's "happy" scale.  Makes me think that on the four-year anniversary of my bilateral hearing, I'm up to what a normal 4-year-old would be mastering - socialization skills with strangers in new situations.   Just what I need to "work a room"!


  1. Thanks Arlene! You are an inspiration and I greatly enjoyed both your books too. Keep up the great work!

    Brad Herring

  2. Hello. My name is Sawssan mallah. I am new to this blog. I haven’t read much yet about your site or story. But I can see there is a lot to read about. Most of it give hope to somone like me. I had pretty much your same condition. I started losing my hearing in my twenties after having my second child. But it took me about 15 years to notice that I became almost competly deaf ,being diagnosed with severe and profound hearing loss. Hearing aid didn’t work at all providing only amplified louder noisy sounds. I had no choice but having a CI. with one ear implanted and the other one was @ 30 % total hearing . I was doing good hearing Mother Nature. Birds chirping. Clock ticking. And all that. But of course not from far distance. My last hearing test showed that I am getting 100 % sounds around me with my CI. But SPEECH perception was and still my only problem . I always have to count on lip reading and face expression to understand. Now after two years of my implant. My natural hearing in my still not implanted ear have dramatically deteriorated. And I am seriously considering going bilateral. But I don’t think I’ll have much results either. I only keep saying I have nothing more to lose and everything to gain. When I read everyone’s experience and how beneficial it was. I get depressed more and more. And I think how come it’s not working for me that well. I became more and more isolated. Not enjoying any conversation. Not even with my kids st home. Is what I am feeling normal. Or I am gonna hear another “ not everyone get the same result” again. And does going bilateral really can improve my hearing. And make a difference

    1. If you're not getting benefit from the other ear, then you have everything to gain by implanting it as well. Also, doing audiotherapy - typically listening to recorded books - does help train the brain to understand speech better. You can follow along with the printed book until you're able to listen without visual cues. Practice does help - and you will find your "personal best."