Bilateral Cochlear Implantation
I have been deaf since birth. I wore a hearing aid on my left ear but coworkers and family members complained of a bothersome feedback due to the ear mold being poorly fitted which is compounded by moisture from sweating. My hearing aid didn't adequately help me understand the context of communications in noisy situations nor with speech comprehension with hearing family members, friends and co-workers. It also did not assist in controlling the loudness of my voice.
I looked for other options and researched the area of cochlear implantation. What I learned from cochlear implant recipients was that they were positive and satisfied with their cochlear implants. I wanted this same experience. I wanted to have that to improve my speech, to know what a bird or a cricket or a piano sounded like, and to find out what things I have never heard before in my life.
So in February of 2006 I had my first implant done at the Kansas University Hospital, and it was a huge success for me. Within a year, I was hesitant about having another cochlear implant for the other ear but my wife advised me to go ahead with the procedure to get more hearing balance. We also knew it would improve my performance in speech understanding and perception in noisy environments.
Getting insurance approval for the second took much longer, so it was not until August of 2007 that I received my second implant. Compared with the hearing aids, I can now hear all environmental sounds, and my speech and lip reading are more enhanced. I have achieved so much from my bilateral cochlear implants and I realize that getting them was the best thing I could have ever done. I now feel more positive, motivated and confident in myself.
I would like to give a very, very special thank you to all of the fantastic professionals such as Dr. Hinrich Staecker, Sandy Prentiss, Lisa Kelley, Kristen Linnemeyer, and Sandy Keener who are working with me. I am truly lucky to have so many dedicated and experienced individuals in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Kansas Medical Center committed to helping me to improve my hearing, speech and quality of life!