Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Surgery

Tomorrow, I will be undergoing a procedure that, miracle of all miracles, will make me hear better. Is that even possible? Well, that's what the brochure said.... 

Here is the nitty-gritty, in the simplest terms possible. Behind my ear, the surgeon will make an incision and implant an internal device to be wired to my cochlear. The device rests against the skull and will be unseen. The scar will heal and vanish completely. After three weeks of recovery, the audiologist will be able to "activate" the device using an external processor that will rest on my ear (looks kinda like a hearing aid). Initial results vary by individual. Some begin "hearing" right away, some only pick up certain sounds. For several weeks/months of auditory sessions (called mapping), the external processor, the internal device and my brain all work together to understand and process sound. It's an exhaustive rehabilitation process on the individual, but the success rate is extremely high. It's just a question of how long will it take to achieve maximum sound quality. Each individual has their own time frame.

How is a cochlear implant better than a hearing aid? A friend of mine put it best. "The hearing aid is like owning a Model T Ford, and the cochlear implant is like owning a Lamborghini." Power and technology are key. The difference in performance is simply astounding.

I have no doubt I will benefit from this. People who have been completely deaf for most or all of their lives are able to legitimately hear, thanks to the cochlear implant. As I mentioned in the last post, my hearing is uneven. So the goal is to have a "very good" ear (the implanted one) and a "pretty good" ear both working together. Bottom line: better hearing.

Will it change my life? No idea, too soon to tell.

Will it make life a little easier? Probably, yes.

Will it be worth it? Well, my children are growing up and will soon be speaking in complete, coherent sentences. If this means I can hear every precious word coming out of their mouths, then ... well ... that's kind of a no-brainer, isn't it?

1 comment:

JennH said...

So you don't want to hear every precious word coming out of Mara's mouth? just the kids' mouths?? ;)