It truly is all perspective!
Some of you already know about my hearing loss. I often joke that all my years of listening to clients must have burned them out. At times I marvel at the intricacy and delicacy of the human cochlear that no man-made device can ever hope to replicate. Perspective changes all on it’s own.
There are times when I feel incredibly blessed to have had perfect hearing at one point in my life; something I took for granted. There are moments when I feel blessed to still be able to hear something, anything — in my one working ear, albeit quite compromised. I give thanks for modern technology and the scientists who invented the hearing aide; thankfully I’m not living in the beginning of the 20th century or I’d have to carry a large horn with me! To think I sometimes have the nerve to complain about the teeny weeny batteries that need changing so frequently. I was once caught with none in sight and realized I hadn’t ordered more in time before I ran out. Then, another moment of gratitude that there’s such a thing as a hearing aide with a tiny battery. Pleasure and displeasure always come to us from our own thinking.
A series of events brought me to the conclusion that my next step was to investigate a cochlear implant. Fast forward (though it seemed like just a few short weeks) I had the surgery two days before Christmas. It was explained that sound will be totally different than what I hear with my natural hearing. Voices will sound like robots or cartoon characters until I get accustomed to it over the course of three to twelve months of three to six mapping sessions in the audiologist’s office and weekly speech therapy for six to twelve months. The human cochlear is too extraordinary to replicate exactly.
There was always a chance that I would not be a candidate, until my hearing test proved that my hearing ear was “terrible enough,” according to my surgeon. I asked if that was a new diagnosis…“terrible enough?” I passed with flying colors: When terrible is a good thing. He was surprised. I guess I hadn’t realized how much lip reading I do automatically. When I relayed this story to a friend of mine she confessed that she had thought I had been checking out her lip wrinkles! We had a good laugh!
The surgeon threads a tiny electrode filament through the labyrinth of the cochlear in the inner ear, where tiny hair cells once stood tall and straight. To think that tiny hair cells can be so consequential to us. It’s an incredible miracle. Hard to imagine that we lose things we never imagined losing yet in it’s loss we can awaken to another gift — the gift of gratitude and the realization that although nothing stays the same, we are built to adapt.
The other night I had the pleasure of attending our local symphony orchestra to hear Handel’s Messiah. I marveled at the sound of instruments I could hear with my natural hearing and then with my hearing aide — different, but still beautiful. This was perhaps, one of my richer audio moments — because it was imbued with the knowledge that it is a miracle to be able to hear at all. Pleasure and displeasure always come to us from our own thinking! I made a mental note to listen to music more often! Miracles won’t amount to anything if we don’t recognize and utilize them. There are so many miracles to become aware of, often so close we don’t even notice them.