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First blog post

As the title says, this is my first post and it is an introduction to me.

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Silence…

That’s not what I hear, yet I am defiantly deaf in both ears. In fact, I have a severe/ profound hearing loss in both ears and it likes to deteriorate. So while I can hear you and other noises I can’t understand what your saying. That’s where my super power of lip reading comes in.

Imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t hear birds sing; children taking; babies crying; fire alarms screaming; phones ringing; music playing and many more things which you don’t even know exist. If you have to rely on lip reading and you still can’t catch all of what people say.

Yeah that’s me…

When I was 4 years old I got my first pair of hearing aids. We found out that I had a hearing loss when my primary school noticed that I wasn’t playing sleeping lions properly. So after school finished my teacher told my parents and shortly after that I went to the hospital and we found out that I was hearing impaired. Obviously I can’t remember this moment but I bet I was thinking: ‘that’s why I’m rubbish at Chinese Whispers’.

Now aged 17 I am in my last year at college and I am going through the process of getting cochlear implants as my hearing aids can’t support my hearing loss any more. I will talk about what cochlear implants are in a separate video if your unsure. Or you can look at this link for more information.

I also went to the Deaflympics in 2017 for swim, representing my country and bringing home a bronze medal from the relay. This was my biggest achievement for swimming and made the 14 hours training a week feel worth it. Yes, that right 14 hours a week including waking up at 04:30 in the morning followed by college and then another 2/3 hours of training.

I love being deaf and wouldn’t want to change.

So here is to a blog which will make you smile. Its a blog which I’m making to explain how my deafness affects my life.

 

(The photo is from the 2015 Deaf World swimming Championships which was hosted in Texas and of corse I’m wearing my cowboy hat)        🙂

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My First hearing aids story (for parents of deaf kids)

I think its fair to say I wasn’t best friends with my hearing aids when I first got them. This is understandable as I was just 4 years old and felt like I was different than other children.

So what did I do?

Every lunch time I would try take my hearing aids out and leave them next to a tree at the back of the feed and then pick them up at the end. Well its fair to say that the teachers weren’t happy when they found out.

But hearing aids did help me, and after a bit of time of getting used to them it just felt normal.

So if you are a parent of a deaf/ hearing impaired child who uses hearing aids or another device let them know that it is ok. Remind them every morning to wear them so it is part of the routine and after a while they will adapt. Yes, they might not love wearing them at the start but they help and I think my life would be quite different if I didn’t wear my hearing aids. They have helped build my confidence, improve my speech and make me the person I am now. So please understand that getting hearing aids/ cochlear implants or anything like that will be a big thing for a young child, just like it was for me when I was 4 years old, but stick with it as they can help a lot. Another thing which I loved was being able to chose the colour/ picture of my ear molds and when I got the chance to change the colour of the hearing aids I chose a bright dark blue. I think my parents were worried that I would feel more nervous about wearing them, but it was the total opposite as I loved them. Parents could even make it into a game. If the child puts them in by themselves and wears them then they could get a sticker to put on their ticker chart.

You can get more ideas from asking audiologists but I found that personalising my hearing aids made them feel much cooler and lots of the children loved the look of them!

Bit of a random post but hope it helps anyone reading

🙂

 

Cochlear Implants (1) appointments

If you have read my first post on this blog, you will know that I am in the process of getting cochlear implants.

I have had hearing aids since the age of 4. At first my hearing loss was mild. Even though my hearing aids and FM system helped I hated them as I felt different. I will talk more about the relationship that me and my hearing aids had in another post. It was deteriorating but when I was 13 years old I suffered from a massive change in my hearing. This made things like music and understanding harder so I got more frustrated and I constantly felt like I was missing something. At this point my audiologist said that I should look at the Cochlear hybrid implants. But I didn’t finish the programme as getting them would mean that I would have to miss lots of swim training; I didn’t like the look of them and I was scared of having an operation. So I got some more powerful hearing aids which helped a little bit more but still not great.

Now I am aged 17 and I have realised the effects my hearing loos has on me. Meaning I have become more interested in getting cochlear implants. Basically, my hearing has got worse, and the cochlear implant technology has improved. I now have a severe/profound hearing loss which is very different than when I was younger. A question that I get asked is why now and what changed your mind? Well the timing seams right as I want to go to university this year and have more of a social life. But one of the main things which changed my thoughts is that we had a small fire in our kitchen and I didn’t hear the fire alarm so I just slept through it. After this event I thought to myself that I was lucky that it was a small fire and that something needs to change. Also, I love the idea of working with children in the future and I like spending time with my family but I can’t hear or understand them so it makes it hard.

So I have been to 2 appointments with the cochlear implant team at my hospital. Both of them have been very effective for both my family and I. We have been able to ask lots of questions and believe me on the first appointment I went to with my mum was like a game of 100 questions. So we gained more knowledge and got lots of questions off our minds. I went to the second appointment with my dad. This was good because before the session his thoughts on me getting cochlear implants were a lot more negative than positive. Then he learnt how they work and what they look like and became more comfortable with the idea. I think that he is still a bit nervous but that is normal as it is a big life changing decision. So, I loved both of these appointments and kind of looked forwards to having them as they are very educational and friendly. During the sessions I did some hearing tests; in the sound understanding test I scored about 20% and in 2013 I got 75% correct. This is a massive difference, and it was a big eye opener for me as it shows that cochlear implants could really help.

I also saw on of the 3 surgeons who do this operation at the hospital, and he said that my scans looked healthy and my audiogram/tests results fit the criteria. So he said that cochlear implants are a good option to think about. This was good because the surgeon was confident and that made me and dad relax a little bit more. My next appointment is early in February and I have to decide if I want it or not. I think I’m going to say yes but only time will tell.

I would just like to say that if your audiologist recommends cochlear implants and you’re unsure then talk to the cochlear implant team at the hospital because they help answer any questions you have and didn’t know you had. I know it has helped me.

Thanks for reading and hope it helped you in any way.

On the left is the cochlear nucleus 7 and one on the right is the hybrid and it can be used if they save some of your hearing.

Photos Library
The cochlear nucleus 7 is on the left and hybrid version of this is on the right.