Tag Archives: Communication Disorders

Deaf Reporter

Hey guys! I hope this post finds you well. I always enjoy finding that my writing makes a positive impact on somebody, so please read on!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new semester and I always get really nervous about a new set of professors. Not because I’m nervous about school, but I go through the jitters of finding that I need to acclimate myself in a new environment.

I’m more nervous about little questions like, “Are you going to be able to hear the people?” and “Is the room going to be really noisy when I walk in?” Ever since the cochlear implant, I’m finding that those worries are quickly dissipated when I arrive to my classes.

I’m sure tomorrow will go well, life has been a drastic improvement since activation. Sure, there have been little bumps along the road and there have been some struggles. I’ve found that anything worth having in life though is worth fighting for, both with my cochlear implant and in other aspects of life.

I’ve recently taken on the job as a reporter and a writer for my campus’ paper. I’m thrilled that I may be able to write and recieve pay (miniscule but rewarding) for it!

I’ve quit my serving job so that I may be able to focus more on school. Every day I see ways that my becoming an audiologist will help benefit others, and it gets me excited.

Every single day before I leave the house, I always pray that “God helps me to make a positive impact on others as he does for me.” Every day that I pray that prayer, I find that almost instantly after I leave, I’ve been able to make that impact that I hope for.

I’ve always aspired to be a role model for both deaf and non deaf people alike. I don’t take that lightly. When people walk up to me and talk about the cochlear implant, most times it is because they are thinking of getting one or are just amazed that I am able to talk clearly. Although my rapid success rate with the cochlear implant is rare, success with the cochlear implant is almost always prevalent.

It has officially been a full year since I’ve had my cochlear implant. My life has had a complete turnaround since activation. If anybody is ever considering getting one, if your a parent reading for your child, if your studying them in school, or if you are just curious, always remember what you’ve read here and remember my story, it may help down the road.

I try to write so that my post’s may be understandable to everybody. I hope to say something that may strike the reader personally.

Although you may not be deaf, you can always still strive to make a positive impact on others. You may not know what it’s like to have that awkward feeling in the classroom when you are the only deaf person, but everybody understands isolation.

Always remember that somebody else out there is able to sympathize with your situation, just open up and let them in!

God made us social beings for a reason, use it and do something to benefit others!

Good luck this semester and have a good week!

Connor

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Coming of Age

Starbucks ubicado en el Distrito de San Miguel...

So this is it… as of today I’m 20!

I’m not really noticing much of a difference yet. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. Anyways, I got asked a really interesting question today that made me think of yet another blog entry!

The person at Starbucks (a favorite place of mine) asked me if I was able to change everything, meaning changing my life to where I would’ve been born with hearing instead of being born deaf, would I do it?

That is such an interesting question, and I’m sure many of you would think I would literally jump with excitement at a “yes”. But in reality I didn’t even hesitate to answer “no”. There would be no way that I would ever wish that I could go back and change to being born with hearing. I’m sure that sounds very hypocritical that I say that because I have gotten a cochlear implant and all, but please allow me to explain.

You see, by being born deaf, I was exposed to different life situations and feelings that had I been predisposed otherwise, I would’ve never come to know some of the emotions that I am so common with everyday.

Think about it, if you are able to hear right now, do you know what it truely feels like to have somebody talk to you like you are mentally challenged because you have something on your ear?

Do you understand what it feels like to not have the same chance at a job simply because of a hearing loss?

Do you understand the fears of going to sleep at night, not knowing if somebody is going to attempt to break in your house and you might not hear it?

Do you understand the feelings of rejection because of something out of your control?

Are you able to comprehend the feeling of not being able to dance to the same music as everybody else but you have to fake it just because you want to fit in?

Do you know what it feels like to be doing bad in a class, not because you don’t know the material, but because you didn’t hear the teacher say the big assignment was due that day?

Do you know what it’s like to have somebody never consider you as a potential boyfriend/girlfriend because of something you can’t control, such as being deaf and have them tell you that is the reason?

I don’t type these things to complain about being deaf. You will never catch me complain about it. Instead, I use these experiences that I have been through to benefit others. I feel like God put me exactly where I need to be so that I may experience everything I need to so that I may use those lessons to help others.

I don’t feel that by having these lessons, that they put me above somebody else on the “feeling meter” or the “lesson graph”. Because somebody else may have certain life experiences that I may have never learned that could help benefit and teach me about life.

Everybody takes life and their current situation so seriously. I used to do that, than I realized how much life changes in such a short period of time. What is so important and serious today may seem small and stupid tomorrow. I feel like the most important things in life are your faith, family, friends, and career.

People please relax, nobody makes it out of this life alive anyways. Enjoy it and be happy please. It’s my birthday.

Have a good week guys!

Connor

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My Last Deaf Birthday

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

It’s crazy how much life can change in the period of a year. I have recently resolved to believing that although my life may be one way this year, it probably won’t be this way next year.

So much has changed since last year. As I look back, today is the day before my birthday. I remember this being a really important day for me last year. Last year I was going to get my cochlear implant 8 days after my birthday. You can look back on the blogs and read, I was nervous as heck. I distinctly remember feeling uneasy about my decision to get the implant and thinking that that my 19th birthday was going to be my last birthday where I was going to “hear normally”. That was a really big bite for me to swallow.

I look back on it now and laugh, but back then that was a serious thought. I was really nervous. Getting a cochlear implant was really difficult for me. It’s hard for somebody to completely change everything they’ve known for 19 years with the flip of a switch not knowing what the outcome is going to be. Not only did the cochlear implant change the way I was supposed to hear, but it was also cosmetically different. I really had a difficult time accepting the fact that I was “deaf enough” for a cochlear implant. It was hard because once you get one, there is no going back. There were a million thoughts going through my head thinking it was the wrong decision to make.

A year later, I’m glad I made that decision. Nothing in life worth having is easy. You have to take a little risk to get the big reward, and that applies to everywhere in life. I’ve had nothing but huge success with the cochlear implant. Sure, I’ve been chastised for being so vocal about my successes and people aren’t happy that I encourage others to get one, but I’m happy and I want others to be happy as well!

I look back on how I had been living my life for the past 19 years and that was freaking HARD. I was angry, I was depressed, I was frustrated. I don’t know how I did it. The cochlear implant really is a benefit for the right people.

Am I going to rush into another one? Nope. What I have right now is working, why fix what isn’t broken?

I always live by the motto (I probably made it up myself): “Make somebodies life better today.” That’s what I try to do with the blog, the video, and the teaching people about cochlear implants. I’ve always tried to be a good role model for those around me. Sure life wasn’t always the easiest on me, but I don’t take it out on others. I do everything I can do make other people’s lives better.

Have a good week guys!

Connor

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Covering From Different Angles

News Reporter 1

Hey guys, I hope this posting finds you well. It has been quite awhile since I’ve posted on this blog. I’ve been super busy with college life, it turns out studying to be an audiologist can be pretty time consuming. Many things have changed but I’m definitely doing well!

I just recently did an interview for a deaf documentary educating people about the benefits of getting a cochlear implant. That always excites me to be able to teach those who don’t know about the amazing benefits of cochlear implants, I’m excited about that!

I got asked an interesting question during my interview the other day. The interviewers gave me the questions before, obviously, but I scanned them, not really thinking they were gonna be that tough. I was more concerned about talking to the interviewers. But one question I missed was a question that I have never even heard before, “Do you consider yourself deaf or hearing?” That one was interesting. I wish that I could go back and re-answer it because I feel I didn’t answer it as smoothly as I had hoped.

If I could go back, I would say deaf. I’m sure that is shocking a few reading this now. Please continue reading. I was born with a hearing impairment. Many people tell me daily that they forget that I am even deaf, which is a great complement that I love to hear. Every night when I take the implant off I do not hear a sound. That is what makes me deaf. Every time a battery goes dead, I’m deaf again. Every time a coil goes bad, I’m deaf. I’m at the mercy of a machine to keep me hearing. I’ve never once said that a cochlear implant fixes hearing, I was born with a hearing impairment and I will always have one. But I’m okay with that!

To the natural next question that would arise, “Am I happy with getting the cochlear implant, even if it was so much work and it doesn’t fix everything?” Absolutely, I may be at the mercy of an implant to give me hearing, but if it was my heart that was bad instead of my ears, there would be no question of getting a pacemaker put in. I’m the happiest I have ever been with the cochlear implant.

Back to the point that I made that people oftentimes forget that I’m deaf. I think that is one of the greatest complements that I could ever receive. (Offended people please keep reading). It’s not because I’m ashamed or embarrassed with my hearing loss, it’s because I work VERY hard, every day to be mainstreamed and as normal as possible. It makes me happy that people don’t even have to think about how hard I work. It may be the harder route for me to listen and talk when I’m at a severe disadvantage on the listening part of that whole routine, but in order to reach the level of success that I wish to achieve in life, I have to work at it.

Of course I get discouraged every once in awhile, that is what makes me human. But I keep thinking about how lucky I am to even have the remote ability to do what I can do. To even be able to go to school with the type of hearing loss I have is amazing. 50 years ago that would have been impossible. I consider it a blessing everyday and I thank God.

I hope everybody has a great week!

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Busy, Busy, Busy

I’ve been pretty busy since my last post, but I wanted to post on my blog the video and news article that Hearts for Hearing had done on them. I am a part of both of them and it turned out pretty awesome!

The video is here, it is linking you to the Thunder interview that myself and some other teachers participated in. It turned out great!

Then I did an article for The Daily Oklahoman alongside some other people for Hearts for Hearing, here that is!

I think it is great that more and more people are starting to take in interest in getting these kids the help they need in order to succeed in the world like every other child.

I really hope that by reading this blog, that people are becoming increasingly educated about how it is to get a cochlear implant, or to go through life as a deaf teenager. I believe that if anybody is thinking about making such a drastic decision as to get a cochlear implant, they really need to think about the weight of that decision. I’m hoping that by going into past articles, that you can learn that it was never an easy decision, it was never an easy choice, it was never an easy recovery, but it was what I needed to do for myself in order to make myself successful. Honestly, it has been one of the hardest things I have ever done though.

Yes, I acknowledge that that wasn’t my only option for success in my life, but it was the one that worked for me. I believe that the controversy about cochlear implants stems from deaf people learning that cochlear implants are the only thing you can do to be successful. That isn’t true. I hope that anybody reading this takes whatever they learn and makes the right choice, not the easy one. I hope that people learn from my blog that cochlear implants are extremely successful if administered correctly, and that it can be extremely beneficial.

Nobody ever said life was easy, or that life was fair. But there is ALWAYS something you can do to improve your situation.

Yes, I sometimes get frustrated with my situation. I sometimes get really irritated with the fact that I didn’t hear that hot girl at table 45’s drink order, or that I didn’t hear the lyrics to the song the first time, or that I didn’t hear the phone ring. I get embarrassed just as everybody else would about being different, but then I realize that their opinion doesn’t matter. I turn up my cochlear implant, put a new hearing aid battery in, and I go ask that hot girl what she wanted to drink again. I don’t care what other people think. This is how I was born, so being embarrassed or frustrated is a waste of my time. I take that embarrassment and turn it into a joke, which then turn into educating people. Because I commonly get the “Really?! You don’t sound like a deaf person!” That makes me happy. I like that I can make a positive impact in people’s lives.

Have a good weekend and don’t blow your hand off on the 4th!

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People Can Be Something Else

User:ProtoplasmaKid explaining Wikipedia and W...

Good Morning Guys,

I hope everybody is having a good day! I’m committed to working 12 hours today, but I’m trying to stay positive.

People really can amaze me sometimes, for both the positive and the negative: positively, I got to work with amazing children this week who have overcome boundaries set on them from birth. These children are truly inspirational to me and everybody who knows their story. Most of these children were born completely and profoundly deaf, and now they are communicating with the world just as easily as the rest of the children their age would. Watching kids fight like that to learn a language that they can’t even hear is amazing and makes them my heroes.

Negatively, people can be inconsiderate and rude. Before I tell you of my run in with these people who also amazed me you must understand something about deaf culture.

Within deaf culture the views of getting a cochlear implant can be VERY split. You either like them or you don’t. The people who don’t like cochlear implants can be extremely passionate about their views sometimes. Not to say that people who get cochlear implants aren’t passionate as well, but I’ve yet to hear or read of any negative impacts of somebody talking about getting implanted with somebody who wasn’t. The extreme negativity used to be much more prominent about 10 years ago, but some negativity still resides about cochlear implants with some people.

People always have to tell you whose side they are on, and why your side is wrong. That is basically what happened with this “cochlear implant controversy”. The only difference is that these people got extremely passionate. Friends within the deaf “community” were lost because of getting an implant, I’ve read of protesting going on when kids got implanted, hate mail was written (and still is), and just your normal hate talk went on.

This is all because people feel like either, that you are going against God’s image of yourself by getting an implant, that you are trying to wipe out the deaf community, or that you are trying to abolish sign language and are not accepting yourself for who you are.

Now that you have your crash course in deaf controversies, now for what happened to me. I noticed a table sitting in my restaurant last night, one guy kept doing a familiar sign to me. I don’t speak sign language but I recognize a few signs. He was doing the sign for cochlear implant, but from what I understand there are two different versions. The offensive one and the okay one. He went offensive. He kept doing it and pointing at me, then the entire table would look at me and glare. Then somebody would say something while motioning the cochlear implant sign and they would all laugh while looking at me. After reading their lips I discovered they were making fun of my implant. They kept doing it for about 15 minutes, and then I worked it up and went over there. I asked what they needed, seeing as every other server in the building noticed them doing it too. Those people acted like nothing was going on, that really drove me crazy. I don’t think those people truly understood what they were laughing at or what signs they were using. I wasn’t really offended, just taken aback.

People just don’t understand sometimes that things other people have to go through. None of them were deaf. It just goes to show you that anybody will try to put somebody else down if they think it’ll make their night better. I just let it roll off my back and go on with my day.

I hope everybody has a good weekend!

Connor

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It’s Been Awhile

English: Starbucks at West Coast Plaza, Singapore

English: Starbucks at West Coast Plaza, Singapore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been quite a bit since I’ve updated or even thought about this blog, but this past week I’ve talked to four people who have either thought about getting a cochlear implant or have just gotten activated. For me, I felt that was a lot and it sparked my memory about this blog!

I’ve gone back to serving tables at On the Border again, that has been a tremendous challenge. Every single person in this world has a different voice to adapt too, and if they aren’t aware, they could mumble their order and cause strain for me. Due to my (kinda) still newly activated cochlear implant I can get it taken care of and it has made life so much easier.

I can’t stress how much easier life has gotten since I got my cochlear implant. It still amazes me every morning how much of an improvement the hearing is every time I put it on. The vast array of sounds in the world is amazing, and the ability for me to finally have access to understand and for my brain to comprehend them is awesome. I still to this day am learning new sounds.

People have no idea what they have until they lose it, I promise you. I had enough hearing in my left ear to learn how to speak, and now it is slowly going away. It makes you appreciate what you have and thankful for everything. It makes you appreciate every song you hear, every goodbye you witness, and every hello you come across. Thank God that I was blessed enough to be born in the era where cochlear implants where derived and that I was enabled to have the ability to get one.

I have to be honest for people who are reading this blog and are thinking about getting about a cochlear implant. For me a huge issue was the cosmetic appearance of a cochlear implant and a wire “coming out of my head”.  I will be flat out honest with you, my biggest fear was that people would stare at me, and I can tell you that some uninformed people in this world do stare. I have even had some point at me, it doesn’t even surprise me anymore.

To this second as I am typing this sitting here at the Starbucks I have caught the wandering eyes of two people looking. I use that as two opportunities. One opportunity being that people naturally like checking out a hot deaf guy at a computer…. (I’m just kidding), the real reason I use the staring as is that I teach people that deaf people are normal and able to function just as the rest of society. That lesson is best learned when I’m serving tables or am in class and people don’t even realize that I’m deaf until I make a joke or break that wall. Sometimes I’ll flat out say something, nothing rude of course! Just something to teach them that I’m normal like they are.

Something to remember if you are reading this, is that getting a cochlear implant is hard. It is the hardest thing in the world I’ve ever had to do. It caused me feelings of isolation, loneliness, fear, and it stressed me out to points some people don’t understand. But it has it’s rewards. If you ever run into somebody with one, and they want to talk to you about it, ask them. There are questions they just don’t know how to answer.  But never assume that everybody is like me in the sense that they like joking about it. Because not everybody has a sense of humor like me, I promise! I don’t mind joking with people, but that is me. Not everybody!

I hope everybody is having a good week, I’m sitting here at Starbucks waiting for my friends class to get out so I can actually go home. Have a good week!

Connor

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Round Number Two!

I feel as though I’m feeling the same I did back in August of last year. Only opposite ears. It’s the physical shifts of hearing in the middle of the day. The feeling dizzy, the pain in the ears, the difficulty focusing. Its all back!

What do I mean? I’m slowly loosing hearing in my left ear now. It’s going slowly day by day. The entire reason for the creation of this blog was because I was sensing the loss of hearing in my right ear, and I wanted to document it. I wanted documentation through losing the hearing, pre-surgery, post surgery and now. I wanted people who have never been exposed to this part of life to have some kind of knowledge of something they have never known.  Never would I have thought that I would have lost my left ear to LVAS, at least not so soon!

It hasn’t even been four months and I’m fighting that uphill battle again, only with different ears. Except this time I’m losing it on my ear that I have used for everything. Losing hearing in my right ear was different than losing hearing in my left ear. In my right ear, I had always been a degree of deafness making me not able to really function using just that ear. Had I been born with both ears like my right ear, life would have been a different story. A story involving sign language, early childhood surgery’s and many other different life experiences.

I have always used my left ear in a dominate form to listen to music, talk on the phone, and hear a conversation. Heck I even sleep on my right ear just so I can have my left ear exposed just in case something happens and I might be lucky enough to hear it. Obviously most people don’t have to pick a favorite ear, the best way to relate it is to relate it to hands, you are either left or right handed.

I’m not one to sit and complain about situations. I feel that there is a reason that I have been chosen to go through these life experiences. I’m choosing to learn from them instead of mope within them.

I’m hoping that the left ear will stabilize, at least so I can have time to completely get on my feet with the newly activated cochlear implant. It is still taking a lot of time. I was told that had I not gotten activated over Christmas break like I had, this semester would have been much more difficult for me. I couldn’t agree more.

I couldn’t be more happy with the decision to have gotten the cochlear implant when I did. Now I’m hoping that I don’t keep having those sensations of hearing loss in the other ear.

Only time can tell, but everything happens for a reason and the best thing I can do is make the absolute best of any situation and learn from it.

Have a good week!

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Hearing Tests Again….

Here we go again.

I can’t enjoy having my new cochlear implant for three months before my left ear has started loosing it’s hearing! I cannot explain why it is happening but when I went for my test last week, the audiologist informed me that I had lost about 15 decibels in the high frequency range of pitch. Basically what that means, is that on my left ear I’m loosing the ability to hear sounds in the areas of things like woman’s voices and certain songs. That sort of thing. The decibel rating was already lower than it should have been, now it is very low.

In all honesty, I knew it was going to happen. I’ve been told since kindergarten that my hearing wasn’t going to stay stable, due to the type of hearing loss I have. I’m not all too torn up about it but I’m anxious that a cochlear implant my become a real reality for me on that left ear.

I’m kind of stuck in between a rock and a hard place right now, I really love my new cochlear implant on my right ear, but to think long term about implanting my left ear would require a lot of adjusting, obviously if that is what is suggested, that is what will happen. It is the adjusting that will be hard.

My left ear has been to what other people could understand to be as their dominate hand. It would be like me telling you tomorrow, “Okay, your hand works right now, but more than likely, your hand will be getting pretty bad within the next year. We have a sort of a solution but it would require us to cut your hand off and we put a new one on, your new hand will suck at first. But with a lot of therapy you will be back up to speed. But it will never be quiet the same.”

I’ve never been somebody to sit and wallow in my own situation, and that isn’t going to happen now. It’s just something I’m going to have to deal with in the upcoming months.

My already implanted ear is going really well, I just got a new mapping (new programming) and it caused me to think that my girlfriend had a lisp the sensitivity was so strong. I hadn’t ever really heard the “s” come from her so that was pretty awesome. It obviously wasn’t a lisp, but hearing those sounds for the first time was a little bit surprising. I never knew I would still be discovering such basic sounds 3 months in!

I always try to learn from a situation, or something that happens. The thing that I learned from losing my hearing so quickly in my left ear is that life never goes as planned. Just as I didn’t have planned for my left ear to get quieter, there are other things in life that will not go as I had planned in the future. I just try to adapt to changes quickly and do what I can with the situation I have. I know that God will take care of me in what I decide to do and that everything is going to work itself out with the recent
loss in hearing.

I’m on the first page now, out of over 500 videos!
My Cochlear Implant Activation

Have a good week guys!

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It’s Been Awhile

Hello to all, I hope that this blog finds you doing well. Personally, I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve been very busy due to the fact that I am experiencing the end of the school year push, and it is hitting me hard.

Since most people now know, I’m going to make it known to everybody on here. I’ve made my mind up for sure. I’ve since decided to remove myself from the School of Drama’s technical theatre program. I will now be perusing a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders beginning in the fall. I will be doing that to become an audiologist. Interestingly enough, many people do not know what this is; lucky for you, I do and I’m willing to tell you!

An audiologist is somebody that runs tests on people that believe they have a hearing loss, or balance disorder. After the tests are run, if the person has a hearing loss of some sort, the audiologist fits the person with the right things to ensure that the patient will be successful throughout life with the equipment. The audiologist can fit the person with hearing aids, a cochlear implant, an fm system, a bone conductor system, or a combination of the above.

My personal goal is to become a pediatric audiologist. I want to diagnose hearing losses in children so that I can help the children early on in life to get them started on the road to success, just like it was done for me. I believe I would have the upper hand in assisting parents make the correct decision about how to approach the situation, considering I have been through every stage of the hearing loss spectrum. I believe that I could relate to the patients as well, believing that I would be able to help and understand in ways that the average audiologist cannot do.

Surprisingly, I have experienced setbacks with this goal. Many people have questioned me as to whether or not I will be able to be successful in completing my goal to become an audiologist. Some thing it is a poor choice for me to choose to move to this field. They are wrong. I believe that this career is definitely for me. I’m not going to sit here and define every reason for why it is the right reason. But I’ll tell you why it isn’t the wrong decision:

I will be a hell of an audiologist.

Many people like setting little markers for me in saying how much responsibility I can have, or to what capacity I can do something. That is ignorant. They will find out one day, not far from now, that I was able to complete my goal very successfully.

I am looking forward to the days when I can help people with the same circumstances that I’ve been through.

My cochlear implant has been nothing but good news, I’m still to this day recognizing new sounds around me, but the difference is that I’m starting to recognize the sounds as opposed to always wondering what it was.

Every morning I start my day silent, and until I put my cochlear implant and hearing aid on, I’m completely deaf, but when they turn on I am reminded of the array of new sounds waiting for me to hear and learn what they are, it’s pretty exciting stuff!

My Cochlear Implant Activation, Check it Out!

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