TWO YEARS DEAF /SIX MONTHS HEARING ANNIVERSARY
“Silence is still golden.” A few years ago from this month I woke up and sound was gone. I lost my hearing permanently and without reason. The only thing the doctors can think of was multiple ear infections. I stopped asking the questions “Why me? What now? How?” After wasted hours trying to find answers to those questions, I concluded that being deaf is not the worst situation I could face and that I needed to live with my soundless world. I learned a lot about deafness from talking with my new online friends, reading other blogs, and reading books. There are a lot of stories similar to mine, and some that are much worse. I had my hearing for forty years, and I’m thankful for that. I missed the sound of rain, even the sound of the toilet flushing, and the whisper of my wife’s voice in bed. We take sound for granted. We are so busy talking or busy with our electronic devices that we block out the sounds of the larger world around us.
Hearing aids are a deaf person’s best friend. The newer, smaller hearing aids are amazing, allowing you to stream wireless devices directly. Hearing aids are available to those with slight to severe hearing loss. I wore hearing aids for four months, until my hearing loss grew worse and their effectiveness declined.
Thanks be to God for the next best thing – cochlear Implants. I was implanted on November 1, 2013, and three weeks later my electrode, the device inside your cochlea, was turned on. WOW! The difference was incredible. I adapted quickly to the new technology and now have hearing that is as close to normal as possible.
I do have a few advantages over hearing people:
1. In a loud environment hearing people struggle to block out sounds. My implant allows me to focus on one voice and diminish others.
2. You have to put in earplugs to block out loud, annoying sounds like a dog barking, loud music, or crying babies. I just take off my cochlear implant and silence is back.
3. You have to put something in your ears to hear music. I just Bluetooth my music to my ear. Convenient.
4. I don’t need to argue with my wife and kids anymore because I can unplug. You can’t.
I am fortunate to have been without hearing for a short period of time. I am thankful I found Advanced Bionics, who manufactured my cochlear implant, as well as a trustworthy doctor.
My name is Jeff Swartz and I live in Atlanta, GA. I am married to wonderful wife and have two teenaged daughter.