I’m sitting in the waiting room at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. Today is my pre-op appointment. This Thursday is surgery day.  I am, admittedly, a bit nervous. Not so much about the surgery itself, as I’ve had a few of those, but because I know I have a lot of work ahead of me. In theory, the cochlear implant (CI) will “give me back” my hearing, but the reality is… I will be introduced to a brand new type of sound. An electronic sound that is foreign to my brain. The first six months, approximately, of “hearing” again, will actually be spent learning. Learning what every sound is. Learning to recognize every sound in its new electronic form. I know again and again I will depend on others to help me identify an audio world again. I know this because I watched my sister, my mom, and other family members go through this before me. The advice I’ve received from them is “Be patient.”, “Be prepared to work hard.”, and “Stay positive because it will be worth it in time.”.

 I know I will never have my natural hearing again. But this cochlear implant (CI) technology is still amazing to me. Even the first day with the CI sound processor should be an improvement in my ability to distinguish clarity of speech. While I am a little nervous, I’m also extremely excited! I’m hopeful. I look forward to participating fully in conversation again. 

The internal device will be implanted this Thursday, After a month of healing the external sound processor will be hooked up and programmed on October 23rd. 

34 days.

In lieu of a photo this week, I’m sharing this video, made by my nephew, of my sister’s experience receiving the CI… ​

Overcoming the Depression of Hearing Loss

A recent visit from my 20 year old son got me thinking back to the days at the beginning of my hearing loss. Just a few weeks ago he received confirmation from an audiologist of what we already suspected: he inherited my hearing disability. Sound will slowly fade away, as it did for me.  I hurt for him, and I rejoice in hope for him, for I now know this fading holds some beauty.

I was a teenager when I got my own confirmation from an audiologist. I knew my mom’s hearing disability was hereditary and I had already noticed signs of it, but that hearing test set it in stone and sent me spinning. Depression is a common experience for those who lose a sense that seems so vital in this life and world. Our society functions upon the assumption of hearing. Hearing loss creates a separation from society; a feeling of isolation when left out of conversations and activities that others are participating in. Being alone is lonely, but being left out is even lonelier; a kind of loneliness that sparks depression. 
“Why me?” That question rattled around in my mind for years. Occasionally it still pops up, but now I have an answer. This happened so that “the works of God should be made manifest in him(her).” John 9:3 

Manifest: to make clear or evident to the understanding. To reveal or expose. 

This happened so that the works of God should be revealed, understood, and made clear in me. 

The works of God is translated from the Greek word ergon, which means “that which one undertakes to do, or that with which one is occupied.”  

Experiencing the loss of my hearing has helped me to clearly understand that God is not occupied with physical prosperity or ease, which is temporary, but with the development and growth of our spiritual life, which is eternal. He has undertaken the task of transforming our hearts, and opening our spiritual ears to hear him and to know him. His occupation is to reveal himself to us. 

Helen Keller, though physically blind, saw the works of God clearly, and described it like this: “I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a man-made world.” 

Without a doubt, hearing loss is challenging! But my world is not as silent and lonely as I once thought it would be, for God speaks in the quiet, and his words are peace.

“Be still (be at peace) and know that He is God.”