Written by: Cochlear Volunteers
“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell
Having a mentor can help us on our path to personal development, achieve career goals and build up our confidence. The mentor’s role is to make the path to a goal achievable by sharing insights, resources and emotional support. These are all very important to helping others not only grow but thrive in a space they may not have dreamed of.
In celebration of National Mentoring Month, we asked Cochlear mentors from our Connect with a Mentor program in the United States and Canada to share why they choose to support others and some of their more rewarding moments as a mentor. Here’s what they said:
“Mentoring is important to me because I learn as I hopefully improve others’ experiences coping with hearing loss and benefiting from a cochlear implant or hearing aid. People are very happy to speak with someone with a similar issue.”
– Pam J. is a Hybrid™ Hearing* System Recipient and wears a hearing aid on the opposite ear
“Mentoring allows me to share the positive outcome of my hearing journey with potential recipients. I have helped others overcome their fears, anxiety and misconceptions including the “myths” regarding a cochlear implant. I feel very gratified and humble when mentees tell me that because of my experience, knowledge, enthusiasm and straightforward answers to their non-medical questions, they’re moving forward on their hearing journey.”
– David K. is a Nucleus® 6 System Recipient and wears a hearing aid on the opposite ear
“I have chosen to mentor other families whom want to give their child access to a variety of sounds through a cochlear implant because when we made that decision for our daughter, we wanted to reach out to families who had gone through the process for support. It’s now my goal to support and educate others.”
– Jeanick M. is the parent of a Nucleus® 7 System Recipient
“When I see the huge lack of knowledge about Cochlear implants, I feel compelled to talk about Cochlear! Walking into a local meeting to talk to potential recipients and being recognized even though we’ve never met in person before is a huge boost for me!”
– Brenda S. is a Nucleus® 6 System and Kanso® System Recipient
“Mentoring is important to me because I was thrown completely off my whole life when I lost my hearing suddenly at age 57. If I hadn’t found someone to talk about it with, I don’t know if I would have progressed as well as I have.”
– Landa F. is a Nucleus® 6 System Recipient
“It’s encouraging to me to have someone tell us, my husband and me, that because we encouraged them, told them truthfully what they might expect each step of the way and help them navigate their settings and accessories following activation; they could hear better than ever before. As mentors we have tips gained from personal experience that can help mentees. Having someone say, “Thanks for your help! I feel like I’m getting my life back”, means a lot!”
– Sherree L. is the spouse of a Nucleus® 7 and Kanso® System Recipient
“Mentoring others is important to me because I wasn’t aware of programs similar to this when I was seeking solutions for my sudden single-sided deafness just two and a half years ago. Those I have mentored have thanked me for just being there to answer any questions, giving continued support and encouragement along the way. I still stay in touch with a couple of my first mentees to touch base and see how they are doing.”
– Brenda W. is a Baha® 5 System Recipient
“Being a mentor provides an opportunity to share your insight with others, the same that I sought out before getting a cochlear implant. In addition, we are able to provide a preview of the amazing journey they can expect after activation!”
– Michelle F. is a Hybrid™ Hearing System Recipient
“I enjoy the exchange of hearing journey stories, answering questions, and encouraging others to consider Cochlear. I’ve learned a great deal from my mentees as well! One of my mentees said, ‘Thank you again for taking the time to meet up with me. It was so nice talking with someone who ‘gets it.’ ‘ “
– Marilyn K. is a Baha® 5 System Recipient
“I remember when I was going through the process deciding whether or not a cochlear implant was right for me, I also needed that extra verification and additional level of comfort provided by recipient mentors who’ve already gone through the process themselves. By becoming a mentor myself it was one way I could give back to those whom are pondering the same decision I faced three years ago.”
– Debbie G. is a Kanso® System Recipient and wears a hearing aid on the opposite ear
“Mentoring others is important to me because it gives me the ability to provide comfort and clarity to individuals and families coping with hearing loss and the life altering decision of a hearing implant. Many individuals have said that my help allowed them to see the light during a time when they felt like they were surrounded in darkness.”
– Angel V. is the parent of a Nucleus® 6 System Recipient
Interested in learning what the Connect with a Mentor program is?
Connect with a Mentor is a free online volunteer mentor directory for people wishing to connect with a recipient or the loved one of a recipient to help them learn about the hearing journey of a person with a Cochlear™ hearing implant from someone that has first-hand experience. The program includes parents of recipients, spouses and recipients looking to help make others’ hearing journeys easier.
Connect with a mentor today, visit:
* The Acoustic Component should only be used when behavioral audiometric thresholds can be obtained, and the recipient can provide feedback regarding sound quality. The Cochlear Nucleus Hybrid acoustic component is not compatible with the Kanso Sound Processor. The Kanso Sound Processor is not intended to be used by Hybrid L24 Cochlear Implant recipients who receive benefit from the acoustic component.