Today is the day it all begins. As I type this blog out in the early hours of dawn here in Northern Colorado with my two shelties barking to the dog channel outside, I ponder the importance of this day. Mocha coffee is an absolute necessity for I am not a morning person but forced to be one for work and for my dogs.
But first let me tell you a quick story…
I was born profoundly deaf however I was taught and raised in Auditory Verbal therapy which emphasizes in brain listening (for the lack of a better description) and spoken language or speech was evolved and developed as my listening skills advances and matures.
This means years and years and years of living with 2 powerful hearing aids at every possible waking minutes and hours. This allows me to “turn on” listening for the day. Obviously, I do not wear my hearing aids when sleeping, taking a shower, swimming or being exposed to getting wet. (Someday I may post YouTube video stories in this blog site so you can hear the stories I speak).
I have never went to a deaf school or learned American Sign Language (ASL) only because my parents wanted me to stay on the Auditory Verbal Therapy path. As a disclaimer, I have nothing against ASL or any other deaf communication/language strategies. I totally respect and appreciate those solutions for many of us in the deaf community.
Having that said, today is a BIG day for me! Why?
Today is the start of a long potentially frustrating and laborious process to upgrade my hearing aids or choose the cochlear implant path. Later this morning, I have an appointment with my new ENT doctor and immediately afterwards, an appointment with my audiologist. Why is this process difficult for me?
Every time I undergo this process roughly every 7-10 years, I have to continuously educate the medical professionals about my Auditory Verbal Therapy capabilities which over time forces them to think out of the box. I have never been the typical profoundly deaf patient! This means they may have to make recommendations or prescribe technologies and strategies they don’t normally do with other patients. Just because I may “score” well with one hearing aid model doesn’t mean I can “hear” better on it. I alone make that judgement. I cannot tell you how many times in my life I was put on hearing aids that had me scored very well for clarity in the hearing test but sounds terrible to me! In these cases, I hate the “twanging” tone of other people’s voice instead of their natural tone.
For this reason alone, I cannot go through this process alone. I require one of my close friends or family to be with me the entire process as I know what their voices sound like as a “baseline”. Starting today, my roommate of over 10 years is the lucky chosen “baseline” in this process. (When I was a little girl – it was my mother who with her perfect pitch hearing knows when I am “cheating” on my hearing so I could never get away with it!)
For today’s appointment, I copied my past audiograms (test results of hearing exam displayed in grid format) and past audiology reports, made a list of questions and topics to discuss at the appointments, went to bed earlier last night to be fresh today (after I have my mocha coffee, of course), took the day off from work and posted my 1st blog. Ultimately at the conclusion of this process, I would have acquire 2 new hearing aids or cochlear implants.
This potentially anxiety ridden process is the motivating factor for me creating this blog site. There are so many content materials of diverse topics worthy to discuss and share.
I suspect many of my deaf friends can totally relate to my journey and I strongly encourage you to comments with your experience.
For my hearing friends, welcome to my world!