About Me

My name is Lisa. I am deaf, and I am currently married to a wonderful husband and am living in New Orleans. I installed this blog to talk about the possibility of getting a cochlear implant. I have not made a firm decision yet, but see this blog as a place to put my thoughts about it. I am not looking for people to encourage me one way or another, but to teach me more about cochlear implants and share their experiences. This is also an opportunity to talk about my experiences as a deaf person and a little bit about the deaf community.

I lost my hearing to meningitis when I was two years old. As a result, I have a profound hearing loss in my right ear (the ear I may get the CI in) and a severe-to-profound hearing loss in my left. I wear a hearing aid in my left ear. Since that age I was put into a oral education program and mainstreamed my entire education career – whether it be my parent’s decision or my own. I also made the choice to learn sign language in high school and used interpreters in college.

I am an advocate of both languages. I feel frustrated with the way education is for people with hearing loss. I feel knowledge is power. The more you know, the better. The more communication tools you have, the better. I hope that soon we will see radical changes with the way people are being taught – and hopefully that is in a positive direction.

Thank you for visiting.


6 responses to “About Me

  1. I’ve known Lisa since she was a sophomore in high school. What a dynamic thinker, force for change, and utterly delightful person to get to know over the years. I know that Lisa started this for her musings on the CI, but her communications skills also make her an advocate for whatever causes she undertakes.

  2. Good luck with your CI decision. I have only had HA’s for just over one year. I feel like I have been born again. My new hearing is wonderful. Since getting HA’s, my meniere’s problems have almost disappeared; (dizziness, tinnitus). I have done a lot of research into the design of hearing aid molds. I now have a wonderful hearing aid fitter who is very patient with me and together we came up with a wonderful design that really works for me.

  3. I wear binaural aids, but find them less and less effective for hearing whatever range elementary students talk at. Most of the little ones, particularly the little girls, are so soft spoken.

    Does anyone have a solution for this? I also live with dizziness and tinnitus. The tinnitus is much more pronounced than the dizziness, even though I managed to total my car during an episode a few weeks ago.

  4. John, the first thing I would do is talk to your doctor, don’t settle on solutions from the non-medical person (like me) before talking to your doctor. I believe there are medications out there for this, also maybe you need a new hearing aid, or your hearing aid needs to be adjusted. I think sometimes a good hearing aid can help “mask” tinnitus (I think what it does is makes the environmental noise louder so you don’t notice it as much). There’s also a therapy (which I believe is the last step – if all else fails) where you listen to “white noise” and this also helps to “mask” the tinnitus.

    I don’t know much about dizziness, but the people I know who have this problem take medication.

    Again, talk to your doctor first. I’m only telling you some ideas so that you have some information to ask your doctor about when you go in there.

  5. I don’t know that you still check this site, the last comment is April 2008, but I wanted to post my story to you anyways. If it helps, great. I wish the best to you and yours.

    My story-

    I have been hearing impaired possibly since my birth in 1962, but my parents did not realize till I was nearly 3. I was diagnosed as severe-profound loss with 80 to 85 db loss on the left and 85 to 90 db loss on the right and I greatly favored the left but used both (Mom made me). I wore an assortment of body aids throughout my adolescence then in my 20’s, BTE aids until age 34.
    However in Oct 1996 I had sudden onset hearing loss of the left side (my favored side), and qualified for the Advanced Bionics Clarion processor. I had the Clarion surgery April 1997 at the University of Miami by Dr. Balkany. I could hear a multitude of sounds that I’d never heard before, and was overwhelmed but hopefully and happily so. I found the Clarion difficult to learn to hear with at first, but gradually over the months and years became more and more comfortable with it. I decided against my audiologist Dr. Hodges’ advice and decided to resume wearing my hearing aid on the right a couple of months or so after the implant was done on the left, for what sounds I could get from that side as well. Using both my aid on the right and the CI on the left allowed me to just try my best to listen with all that I had.
    With the Clarion, voices were like Mickey Mouse sounds- high frequencies that I did not know existed, and, and distant sounding even when the speaker was right next to me. And, noises like pens tapping on table tops and the opening of chip bags drove me out of my skin. But, the thing is I did not hear those sounds before the Advance Bionics CI. I didn’t know silverware made noise on plates or what blowing air out or the wind sounded like either.
    In addition, the tinnitus that I’d had all my life worsened, from bells and whistles to sounding like pots and pans banging, but this faded over the 3 yrs after that surgery. The taste sensations for salt and sugar, that had decreased in the month after the surgery, returned fully by about 3 months or so. Overall I acclimated and was grateful for my implant, and using both the Clarion on the left and the latest digital hearing aid on the right, and with some lipreading esp in noisy situations, I continued in my job as a clinical dietitian. My job consists mainly of 1:1 interviews and writing up nutritional assessments. I was unable to use the phone with either side well, though I did use the phone with my Mom. At my home I used Sorenson’s VRS for a while but it was a difficult way to communicate by phone, but better than not at all. Co workers helped me at work with the phone calls there, and thankfully my job required very little to do with phone calls.
    Then, on Mother’s day weekend 2006 I had sudden onset hearing loss of the right side. This time I qualified for another cochlear implant, and chose a company that offered BTE with telecoil for the phone -which of course Advanced Bionics has too but at that time I chose the other company for various reasons, and had the surgery again by Dr. Balkany, that summer. That cochlear implant has worked out quite well also, I acclimated to voices and am able to use the phone with that side as well. I did not have any changes or worsening of tinnitus with the 2nd surgery, but I did lose my sense of taste for sugar and salt for well over 3 years. Many foods still do not taste right to me because of this, but it my tastes are slowly returning. But just like the first CI, the 2nd has it’s limitations, but just like I was glad I got the first CI, I am glad I got the 2nd.
    BUT, the very very best part is that January 2007 I had permission to wear both the Advanced Bionics implant on the left and new one on the right simultaneously from my audiologist, to see if that would be of use to me.
    OMG, it was like going from black and white to color! Sounds were ever so much richer and fuller, and I had a sudden flash of wanting to hear how music would be with this combo. I played my old favorites that I had not bothered to listen to in over 7 to 8 yrs, and cried and cried with the sheer beauty of the music I could now hear.
    Actually, I can hear more now than I ever had been able to with both hearing aids prior to having the 2 cochlear implants. I still find it helpful and even necessary to lipread in noisy places like cafeterias, but am overall very very happy with both of my CI’s and wear both pretty much all the time.
    Now, I am waiting for Advanced Bionics to put out the BTE I can buy, because I still use the original body processor from my surgery in 1997, and it is starting to rust. (I wear it in my bra, most comfortable spot for me to have it, and Miami is humid pretty much year round. You get the idea.) I am not financially able to purchase the newer body aide, and then get the BTE when it comes out, so I am just waiting for the BTE.
    I wanted to share my story, not to dis or favor any company, but to show that though I had some limitations and periods of acclimation for both CI, from different companies, that I love both and actually would be afraid to have it any different, I love the combination of the sounds so much.
    I truly wish the CI companies would work together. Do the pacemaker companies compete like this? Having competing hearing aide companies is no biggie to me, they can all be tried at one’s finanicial abilities. But an implant, once it is in, it is in. It is a shame that the CI users have to make difficult decisions on which company will help them hear the most. And that insurance companies have placed so many limitations to CI users over the years. I am so grateful that I have the Advanced Bionics, and the other, to hear so fully with both.

  6. Oops !!! I overlooked the lack of the name of my second implant (Cochlear Americas, Nulceus Freedom, love it!) in this cut and paste I had saved from a message I tried to send to Advanced Bionics community network (they wouldn’t let me post my comments to their site, even after I removed Cochlear Americas name).

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