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Tip of the Day:
A Laryngologist is an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) who focuses on disorders of the voice and swallowing. They have completed fellowship training after residency and are skilled in the management of swallowing problems, voice problems in professional speakers and singers, and lesions of the larynx - such as cysts, nodules, and papilloma.

Patient Testimonials

Today, I am celebrating my third anniversary of receiving my first Cochlear Implant. I am so grateful to God that technology has given those of us with hearing loss and are deaf the ability to hear again.  Please allow me to share my journey as I reflect on the last few years...

I was diagnosed with progressive sensorineural hearing loss when I was 36 yrs old.  I suspected I had a hearing loss noticing that I preferred one ear over the other using the telephone, constantly asking others to repeat what they said and having the television volume cranked up.  I had my hearing tested and it confirmed that I had asymmetrical hearing loss, meaning that one ear had more loss than the other.  It is still a mystery as to the cause of this hearing loss.  There was no way that the doctor could predict when or if I would go completely deaf.

After using hearing aids for years, my progressive loss got to where the aids were no longer helpful because I could only recognize 40% of speech.  I could still hear things like pots and pans clanking, the Air Force flying over the house and the garbage truck.  What I lost was my ability to have conversations over the phone and conversations with people in person unless they were three feet from me and facing me so I could read their lips.  This was very isolating and depressing not being able to chat at will with family, friends or clients.  After having another hearing test, the audiologist told me that I was a candidate for the cochlear implant.  I didn't realize at that time how bad my hearing was and that I was considered a deaf person.  There are no deaf people in my family!  I thought being deaf meant that you didn't hear anything at all.  I was extremely eager to have my hearing restored. A couple of months later, I had the day surgery and a month later my external speech processor was turned on. Each person that gets a cochlear implant has different experiences in their ability to rehabilitate their lost hearing.  It is a process that takes time for the brain to relearn sounds that in my case were stolen from me over the years.  The rehabilitation process is faster for those who have shorter time period of deafness.  Those people who were born deaf or lost hearing many years ago can expect to have longer rehabilitation.  Whichever the case, it is so worthwhile to get the cochlear implant.  My life and relationships are now restored since I could now understand speech.  I have so many favorite sounds.  I laughed aloud the first time I flushed the toilet, forgetting what it sounded like for the water to swirl around the bowl.  It was exciting to hear things again!

The first implant was so successful that after the hearing in my other ear took a rapid decline 18 months later, I inquired about getting another implant.  Within 20 minutes, my insurance had approved the surgery.  I received the second implant in December 2006. 

I am now known as a bilateral cochlear implant recipient.  Without working external speech processors and batteries, I am totally deaf.  Using both cochlear implants, I now hear very well in most environments.  I have four programs on each speech processor that I can change to adapt to different situations.  The most exciting thing for me is that my confidence has been restored to be able to have conversation with anyone anywhere without the struggle and strain to understand what they are saying.  Using the telephone is still a challenge for me.  I am experimenting with my different settings and also different phone units.

In an effort to help others like myself who suffered with hearing loss and didn't know where to turn for help, I am now a volunteer/advocate of the Cochlear Awareness Network.  If you or someone you know would like to receive more information about Cochlear Implants or would like someone to talk with about their hearing loss experience, I will be available to help.  My email address is:  [email protected] Please feel free to forward this email onto others in your address book.

As you already know, this is just a nugget of a much bigger story.  In hindsight, I clearly can see how God's hand has been in every area of my life to prepare me for what He has next.  I thank the Lord for loving me and being faithful to provide for me.  One of my favorite verses is, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not to your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths".  Special thanks to my Ear Nose Throat Specialist, Dr. Stephanie Moody-Antonio, Audiologists Kate Berenguer and Ashley Wampler at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA. 

Now you know I have another reason to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!!!


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