“Imagine yourself in a room with just a few close friends you love, talking and laughing. The conversation is quick and animated. It is too swift for you to follow on their lips, too difficult for you to understand – because you are deaf. You sit in their midst with a frozen smile on your face, your cheeks aching, afraid to break the warm mood by telling them you are unable to understand. Your heart tightens and aches too. You feel angry that you are once again shut out, angry at yourself for being deaf, and at the world for expecting you not to be.. Then, imagine another day, when you have a device implanted deep within your ear to help you to hear. Imagine that with it, you hear words and phrases in the air without looking for them on people’s lips. You understand – not everything, but enough to feel a part of the group. You hear birds that were once silent, music that was once noise. Your cheeks thaw. Your heart opens up. Your anger melts, and you feel a sense of grace.” – Beverly Biderman, Wired for Sound
This is the first paragraph in the Prologue of Beverly Biderman’s book Wired for Sound, a 1998 publication about her experience getting a cochlear implant. Coincidentally, my parents brought over some boxes of mine from their basement (since I have a house of my own to store them in now) and one was a box of books I hadn’t opened since I packed them in November of 2009 when I was planning on leaving Colorado. On the top of the pile were two books – Biderman’s and another, Cochlear Implants, A Handbook by Bonnie Poitras Tucker. I read these originally in the fall of 2001, when I had originally thought about getting bilateral cochlear implants.
I picked up Biderman’s book again and started reading. Everything she says, despite the information being almost 20 years old, is still relevant. It is more a book about being deaf and passing as hearing and then learning to hear again with a CI than it is about the technology itself. I’m really enjoying reading about her experience again, and I will probably start Tucker’s book again when I finish. One can’t have too many resources in their brain, after all. Online forums are great and are full of stories, but something about books really sink in better (maybe I’m showing my age…)
I have nothing but time these next few weeks. I’m mostly recovered from surgery – still pretty tired – and am just waiting for activation on the 31st. I did get a little bit of disappointing news about the new bimodal system I will be getting – it’s not quite ready yet. They’ll be able to turn my CI on and get that going, but the connection with the new hearing aid will not be in place yet. I’m sure this means nothing to most of you – I’ll make a separate post one of these days describing the system I’m getting, what bimodal means, and how a CI actually works.