I have been a longtime soap opera fan. In 1997, one of my favorite actresses gave birth to a deaf son. I read that she was getting a cochlear implant for him. I was really intrigued and did some research about this device. I had discussions with people because I thought, “Wow, what an amazing device… this was one lucky kid to have parents who could afford something like this.” They stated that insurance wasn’t going to cover the cost of the implant for him. I would later find out that insurance started covering cochlear implants. This was my first exposure to the wonders of the cochlear implant.
Fast forward to 2002 when I started to notice that my husband was mumbling. It didn’t dawn on me that I was starting to lose my hearing because he was the only one mumbling. I later found out that I was having difficulty hearing male voice verses female voices. A year went by when I felt that I needed to get a hearing test to find out, if in fact, I was starting to lose my hearing. What prompted me was the constant tinnitus I was experiencing and being told that was not normal. Even at this point I was able to hear female voices well, but male voices were still difficult.
The audiologist who performed my hearing test told me I would benefit from hearing aids, but my hearing loss was only moderate. In my opinion, I was still able to hear well enough that I wasn’t ready to spend the money for hearing aids and adding to an extra routine to my already busy day.
Everything was going well for me. I was able to stay socially active and started working as a contractor for several companies as a secret shopper. This is the type of job that requires a keen sense of hearing and I was managing fine evaluating employees. It wasn’t until January 2007 during a phone evaluation, I noticed that my hearing took a sudden turn for the worse. I could not hear the person on the other end. Thinking that we had a bad connection, I told the person I would call them back. I soon found out that it wasn’t a bad connection, but that overnight I lost a substantial amount of hearing. At that point, I ended the call and decided that I needed to get those hearing aids the audiologist told me about. That was one of my wake-up calls.