Robin C. was an active and competitive person, participating in horseback riding, sports and even scuba diving! When her hearing loss began to decline, Robin lost the joy in all of her passions and felt especially frustrated trying to be a horseback rider with hearing loss. After retiring from her job and losing her confidence in riding competitions, Robin’s personality and joy for life changed. Her catalyst to the start of a renewed lust for life and hearing came with a suggestion to try Cochlear Implants. Read on to see how Robin’s riding is going today:
“I have always been very active, engaged and competitive. I started horseback riding lessons and began showing horses when I was 9. Although riding horses felt most natural and became my lifelong passion, I also played some tennis, did gymnastics, swam and learned to scuba dive. I loved music, playing piano, guitar and even tried the accordion!
My grandmother rode horses, encouraged my riding and helped me get my first horse when I was 12. She was deaf, having lost her hearing as a child from scarlet fever. She was mainstreamed by her parents, read lips and was incredibly active and involved in life, traveling, showing dogs, swimming and socializing. I remember becoming particularly sensitive to her being included in conversations, and I developed a habit of over-enunciating my words when I spoke to her, something that I do to this day when talking with others with hearing loss. Little did I know that I, too, would lose my hearing…
Lost joy for horseback riding
My hearing loss was gradual over about 20 years, with the impact on my life occurring slowly but significantly. As my hearing worsened, it became more and more difficult to function on many levels. Working, which included travel, was stressful as I tried to compensate. I was not only worried all the time that my performance was suffering, but I was embarrassed. So, I ‘retired.’
My hearing loss really affected my horseback riding and horse showing to the point that I lost much of my confidence and competitiveness. I could not hear my trainer during practice sessions, which frustrated both of us. My horses could feel my insecurity and indecisiveness, so they became confused. The biggest problem was in trying to show. I could not understand the announcer calling the commands while I was showing, which led to mistakes. I have never been a quitter, but I just wanted to give up.
I also became afraid of swimming; in fact, I became almost consumed with fear of many things. Over time, I withdrew from activities because I felt left out of conversations and no longer listened to music or went to concerts or movies. The weekly pet loss support group that I facilitate became something I dreaded, so I almost stopped doing it. Even using the phone became impossible.
I embarked on my determined quest to not only hear again but to live life again on my terms.
Determined quest to hear again
During these years, my audiologist was amazing; I called her the ‘wind beneath my wings.’ She kept me going as best as possible, but one day I realized that one ear had become totally deaf; we both cried in her office that day. She then suggested I go for a cochlear implant evaluation. I will never forget those words; they were magical. From then on, I felt a weight lifted as I embarked on my determined quest to not only hear again but to live life again on my terms.
For me, being deaf was not an option. I chose Cochlear because I trusted their reliability1-5, but probably more so because of the extensive support they provided me. In early 2010, I received my first Cochlear Implant. At activation, I cried with joy, hugged my audiologist and excitedly moved ahead with renewed resolve. It took patience and practice, but it was beyond my expectations.
With my first Cochlear Implant, I was able to hear things that I had missed for a long time, like the birds singing and the sound of my horses munching on their hay. Being active again is huge! I got back to my passion, riding horses and showing, including winning several big championships, and I adopted a new horse member of the family! I also started a new business, which is thriving. It was not long afterwards that I knew I wanted to become bilateral (cochlear implants on both sides), which became a reality two years later.
A world of sound
Being bilateral gave me a full world of sound, with music becoming such a welcomed gift again. When I had been struggling for so long to hear, I knew that I was anxious, short-tempered, withdrawn and tired. With my Cochlear Implants, the hearing-related stress was gone; I got back into the swing of the activities that I love with enthusiasm, joy and energy. I do not think I realized just how much of a significant physical and emotional toll my hearing loss had been on me until after I had my Cochlear Implants.
I recently upgraded to Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processors, and I cannot tell you how very excited I am about now being able to answer and receive calls and stream music and videos, untethered, just like hearing people! I am on the phone extensively throughout the day without stressing about it or worrying that I will not understand what is being said.
Nucleus 7 Sound Processor features
The amazing iPhone® wireless connectivity had me at hello! It truly is a game-changer and life changing for me. I also love that my processors can be managed effortlessly on my iPhone via the Nucleus Smart App, so I no longer need to deal with a remote. The added features of being lighter and thinner make the processors barely noticeable, more comfortable and easier to wear with hats. Plus, longer battery life is another stress-reducer, for sure.
The wireless accessories are absolutely amazing! I love the Cochlear™ True Wireless™ Mini Microphone 2+ for its versatility. My trainer uses it for my practice sessions and now, both of us are no longer frustrated. It is absolutely awesome for meetings, in restaurants and for clients in the back seat of my car. The TV Streamer has shown me just how much I have been missing, and the Aqua+* accessory is perfect for getting back to enjoying the beach again!
Having my Cochlear Implants have improved my life immeasurably. I am back to feeling confident, engaged and energized. I am no longer isolative, stressed or depressed. I really do feel like the ‘me’ I was many years ago before my hearing loss started chipping away at my life in so many ways. For that, I am grateful every day.”
Are activities that used to be fun, now frustrating due to your hearing loss? Learn more about Cochlear Implants and get back to participating in the activities you enjoy!
Cochlear Americas [Data on file] – Guidepoint Market Share Data, 2018 April.
Cochlear Annual Report, 2017 August [Internet: pdf document]. 2017 August [cited 2018 April 18]. Available from: www.cochlear.com.
Cochlear Nucleus Implant Reliability Report. Volume 16 | December 2017. D1175804. Cochlear Ltd; 2018.
Comparing latest generation implant reliability among manufacturers. Cochlear™ Nucleus Profile that has a Cumulative Survival Percentage (CSP) of 99.82% over 4 years compared to MED-EL SYNCHRONY implant that has a CSP of 98.53% over 3 years and HiRes 90k Advantage (by Advanced Bionics) has a CSP of 99.45% over 4 years. See reliability reports above. Data may be subject to updates by each manufacturer.
Comparing latest generation implant reliability among manufacturers for children. Cochlear™ Nucleus Profile that has a Cumulative Survival Percentage (CSP) of 99.66% over 4 years for children compared to HiRes 90k Advantage (by Advanced Bionics) that has a CSP of 99.02% over 4 years. MED-EL SYNCHRONY do not report implant reliability in children. See reliability reports above. Data may be subject to updates by each manufacturer.