When I was faced with sudden deafness in my early 20s, I felt isolated and alone. No one could help me; I had no resources. I couldn’t use the phone; I couldn’t watch movies in theatres. Eventually, I learned how to survive–and even enjoy–life with a hearing loss, but always still felt I was missing something.
Then I discovered Hear Indiana.
I’d led non-profits before, so I knew what power they have. When I moved to Indianapolis, I searched for organizations that support hearing-impaired people who communicate with spoken language. During this search, I found Hear Indiana because they were looking for new board members. While mostly serving children and families of children with hearing loss, Hear Indiana’s vision is “to ensure individuals who experience hearing loss have the opportunity to communicate, learn, and thrive independently through the use of spoken language.” Hear Indiana was exactly what I was looking for, and I became a board member.
Right away, Executive Director Naomi Horton asked me why I didn’t have a cochlear implant. She thought my type and degree of hearing loss made me a great candidate for the procedure. I told her I’d been evaluated in 2007 and hadn’t qualified, and additionally I didn’t feel the technology was ready. Secretly, I was afraid. I feared the surgery and subsequent listening rehabilitation. I told myself, “I’m doing fine. I don’t need help.” I let my fear control me.
As my involvement with Hear Indiana increased through their different programs and events, more people asked me about a cochlear implant. A fellow board member (an audiologist who programs cochlear implants) challenged my “stand-by” answer. She told me the technology had advanced dramatically the last couple of years. She encouraged me to make an appointment with her–just to talk. I was nervous, but eventually I did.
What I learned at that appointment was how bad my hearing had gotten, and how outdated my scientific knowledge was. I had to confront myself. Why was I so afraid of this? I spent a few days thinking it over, then called the surgeon’s office.
My implant has been active for three months now. I’m a different person with a new life. Everything is so much easier! I’m no longer anxious about social events–I look forward to them. I’m making my own phone calls again and I don’t need captions for meetings anymore. I can chat while driving, since I don’t need to lip-read. I can hear my husband whisper my name.
I’ve lived with normal hearing, in complete silence, and with limited hearing with a hearing aid. Now, I live with a cochlear implant. Because of Hear Indiana. Because courage won. And I’d never go back.
I give to Hear Indiana because they changed my life. Anything is possible–even with hearing loss. I want children with hearing loss, and their parents, to discover they can live a full, wonderful life in a hearing world.
Please consider a donation to Hear Indiana today: https://hearindiana.org/donate