I was born profoundly deaf with sensorineural (nerve-related deafness) hearing loss. At the age of 3, I began to wear hearing aids. My left ear was my hearing ear (I could understand speech and sound in this ear) and my right ear was used predominantly to help me localize sound because I couldn’t understand speech in this year. I grew up in a hearing world and I was mainstreamed in public schools. I went on to college and a professional career in retail management. I encountered many challenges because of my hearing loss; however, I did not let the hearing loss or hearing aids stop me from accomplishing what I had set out to do! And I did succeed in many endeavors with lots of hard work, determination, and a positive attitude. About 4 years ago, my life took a drastic turn. I suffered “Sudden Deafness” in my left ear. Now, I was truly deaf. I was depressed and miserable. At the time, I was working in retail management for a leading dept. store chain and I was wondering “how am I going to work?” I worked with people and the public. I made a decision to obtain a cochlear implant; I figured I did not have anything to lose. I continued to work, the store cut back my duties and a long six month later, I was implanted with a left CI. It was not instant success for me. I hated the CI at first, why? Well, I could not understand anything with it and the noise was unbearable. I continued to wear it, because I really did not have any other choice. With lots of listening exercises done on a daily basis, and coping stragedies, I was ultimately able to have success with my left ear CI. It took about 3 months before sound was clear and speech was understood. Eventually, I was able to appreciate the CI because it was actually better than my hearing aids. Mind you, I am thankful for the hearing aids! Since I did so well with the Left CI, about a year later, I obtained a right CI. The rehabilitation process was actually a lot easier. I guess, because my brain already was trained from the left ear. I can actually understand speech and talk on the phone with my right ear CI, something I was never able to do with my hearing aid. Life is grand with my personal “surround sound system.” I am very grateful for my cochlear implants. To me, they are truly the greatest invention and I want to share it with the world!
Wow, yesterday was the first meeting of the new officers for the Houston Chapter of Hearing Loss Association for 2009. I was pretty psyched. After all, I had just became a member of this chapter at the July 2008 meeting. I just jumped in…I heard about this organization for many years. I admit I been to a couple of meetings back in the late 90’s, even went to a couple of meetings in Dallas in early 2000’s. Now, I look back on it and I realized I did not want to admit to the world that I was hard of hearing. This past summer, I was ready!!! more than ready! You ask, what made me change my mind—many things…..I will begin with one reason, I was not happy with the way cochlear implants have been portrayed in the media lately….there was much negative publicity about it or they (the media) did not represent the cochlear implants correctly. I am a recent bilateral cochlear implant receipent and it truly changed my world for the better!!! The CI’s totally rock!!!
Back to July 2009, I went to meeting and I gave an impromptu speech of my life as a hard of hearing person, former hearing aid user, and now bilateral cochlear implant user. It was a blast and I received lots of positive feedback…. Now, I felt like the time was right to join Houston-HLAA. Fast forward to November—I was elected Co-president of 2009!!!! Pretty quick, I know, but I am real excited —I am ready to help energize this chapter with the help of all these awesome Houston-HLAA members…I am ready to learn from them….they have lots of experience with this chapter! Stay tuned …..and I will share more news from the Houston HLAA Chapter
Have a sunny day! As always Susanna
I have been wanting to do this for some time. This is my very first blog entry. There is so much I want to do with this blog. Check back often, because I will be adding all kinds of neat things to this blog.
Most importantly, I created this blog to to advocate for all people that are “hard of hearing” and to create awareness of cochlear implants. In addition, I intend to share my story with all people to give them hope and that anything in life is possible, if you believe it is possible!
I am very active in all kinds of activities related to hearing loss advocacy and I will share them with you, to help you in your quest for this knowledge.
On the other hand, I love to show horses and I will share my trials and tribulations of the Arabian horse world.
Have a sunny day! and see ya soon