Because it runs in her family, Jan knew that hearing loss would likely affect her one day. What she didn’t realize was how much her life would change as she lost her independence and confidence along with her hearing. When hearing aids alone were no longer enough, she became frustrated with missing out on conversations and not being able to participate in life along with her family and friends. The turning point happened when Jan discovered she was a candidate for cochlear implants.
“I look back over the years and recall when I first realized I was losing my hearing in my early 30s. Knowing that my grandma, mother and sister had all experienced severe hearing loss, it was obvious that it wasn’t something that would go away. At first, I wore a hearing aid in my right ear and shortly after I had one in both. As my hearing loss progressed, my insecurities became severe and my anxiety level was at an all-time high. I felt like I had lost my independence.
Along with my hearing loss, I started getting severe ear infections, so I was referred to an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT). After treating the infections and performing mastoid surgery, he said, ‘Jan, I believe you would be a good cochlear implant candidate.’ My love for research lead me to search for anything that could help me hear and cochlear implants seemed like a great option, just as my ENT recommended.
Over time, my hearing aids continued to fail me, but it was still seven more years before I got to the point that no hearing aid would help me. Again, I was thrown back into the feeling that I couldn’t live life this way; I was afraid to answer questions wrong, I missed out on conversations, I was not able to participate in my grandkids’ lives and so much more. I just wanted to be able to enjoy life with my family and friends. I realized life is too short to not take the steps to live better. I knew something had to change, so in April 2016, a call to the insurance company confirmed that cochlear implants were covered and I could proceed.
Confirming I was a candidate for cochlear implants
Again, my love for research took me to the computer where I did mountains of research before my first appointment with the audiologist (who confirmed I was indeed a candidate for cochlear implants in both ears). My research was on reliability, how implants help and an overall comparison of companies. After reading through everything I could get in front of me, I knew that there was no question in my mind that Cochlear was it for me. Reading about its wonderful and proven history, the guarantee of service and the variety of helpful accessories, I was confident and excited to move forward in this hearing journey.
Within four months, I received my first cochlear implant and the activation was five weeks later. I can’t even begin to express the joy I felt the day I was activated. I was amazed at truly hearing! No more guessing what might be said. I used the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 6 Sound Processor at first, and each day I was more and more amazed. I was hearing things I hadn’t heard in what felt like a lifetime! Within two weeks of my first activation, I had already decided I wanted to go bilateral. I could barely wait for the day to come for my left side to be implanted, which was just six months after the first. As of March 27, 2017, I became a new me.
My new bilateral life
My life has improved so much since then. I have made new friends, I love making conversation with people, I’ve attended concerts and I love attending events our grandchildren are in. In general, I find myself more outgoing than ever before now that I can truly hear. I no longer fear life. I face it as a new adventure each day!
I even felt so happy with the life Cochlear gave back to me that I decided I wanted to help others experience the same joys, so I became a Cochlear Volunteer. During the past three years, I have met amazing people of all ages who are facing their own hearing challenges. Being able to encourage them along the way has been a true blessing, and it has helped me realize just how much I love helping others.
Cochlear, my amazing surgeon, audiologist and my great desire to live a full life has shown me it can indeed be done. I absolutely love my Kanso® Sound Processors and my bilateral life. I know it will just keep getting more incredible as the technology continues to advance, like with the Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor (and the newest Kanso 2 Sound Processor) which directly connects to my cell phone1. I plan to continue to experience new things in life and make the most of my hearing as I speak with others and listen about their life. Listening and sharing is making me who I am. Knowing I can encourage others with similar hearing loss issues is important to me. I love helping others understand that there is hope.”
Are you wondering if you are a candidate for cochlear implants like Jan? Learn more here.
- For compatibility information, visit www.cochlear.com/compatibility.