Tag Archives: Conditions and Diseases

Life Changes

I hope this post catches everybody doing well, I’ve been really working on my writing skills! I’m in three writing classes, and I’m working at my school paper as a reporter. I’m really loving it!

I’m doing really well, and my cochlear implant is working as good as usual. I’m still thankful everyday when I get up and put my implant on. It’s like being reintroduced to hearing every morning. I am still amazed every day that I am able to hear something new, it truly is a blessing to have gotten the cochlear implant.

I’m starting to experience the telltale signs that my hearing on my left side is really starting to deteriorate. My hearing has really been loosing it’s foothold on the left side since about the beginning of the year.

It’s really hard to explain to people what the feeling is like to not be able to hear, many can’t grasp the situation. Most don’t understand the social strongholds that being deaf can bring. I think that’s a good thing, I wouldn’t really want people to fully understand what it’s like!

Some key things that I’ve been feeling is that my clarity and understanding of speech has really taken a turn for the worse. It seems as if my own speech has been affected by my sudden loss of hearing on the left as well.

This loss can be really exhausting, I’m feeling like I’m relying on my implant and lip reading skills to get through the day. This is really something different than I’ve ever been used too.

Sure, life throws you curve balls, and things get difficult, but the thing to remember is that the crappy situation doesn’t last forever. It will eventually get better, patience is just needed.

Another thing to remember is that everything happens for a reason, I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be in life. This time last year I was struggling to understand all of the constant new noises and voices around me. Getting the cochlear implant is still a constant daily journey that I face, learning all of the new sounds doesn’t happen overnight, and I’m still repeatedly asking complete strangers what certain sounds are.

I could get discouraged that I’m not understanding everything, or that people get so frustrated with me for not catching everything the first time. I could let it get to me that I’m not like everybody around me when it comes to hearing, but what good would it do?

I know everybody has their differences and there specific situations that may seem to suck, but why should we let that get us down? I was born unable to hear, and I didn’t get any hearing aids until I was four. That is really late! There is absolutely nothing I can do to change being deaf, and being different than everybody else.

But one thing I can do is try to make a positive difference in somebodies life. It doesn’t do anybody any good to sit and mope about what I don’t have, but it does everybody some good to take what I do have and make a difference for the better in the world.

I hope you have a good week!

-Connor

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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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No Air Conditioning

English: Series of air conditioners at UNC-CH.

As I’m writing this blog, I’m experiencing the beginning of my house loosing the nice cool air and having it replaced with hot, unwelcome air. It is definitely an unwelcome addition to my house after having worked two doubles and after going to church this weekend. It’s situations like this that make you appreciate what you have when you loose it.

That is what my topic is for today, appreciating what you have before you loose it. Now, I’m sure everybody has heard this saying a million and one times, but it still sucks just as much when you have to face the downfalls of not listening to the saying. This saying could apply to anything; not appreciating a nice car you have, not appreciating a good person in your life, not appreciating a good job, or not appreciating yourself, but it always sucks when you loose something you care about or something happens to you that you were not expecting.

I’ve recently suffered the major downfalls of not appreciating what I have. Not to say that I’m going anywhere or doing anything, but I’ve had to suffer the consequences of not taking advantage of every situation I could.

I feel like everybody needs to experience disappointments in life so that they may come to appreciate all of the good that life and the people in it has to offer. Believe me, everybody at one time or another experiences major setbacks in life. That’s what makes it life. If it was heaven, we wouldn’t have to deal with that. But we aren’t yet in heaven, so we still have to deal with the stress and anxiety that all this life has to offer. But there is still good in life, you just have to sometimes look harder for it some days than others.

A good example of this, I went 19 years of my life with having extremely poor hearing on my right ear. I didn’t hear much sound on that side at all for most of my life. If I ever did, I don’t remember. Than, one day I got it turned on. Now, that was one of the best days of my life, but it took a long journey to get there. There were many days of disappointments and despair before approaching the January 5, 2011 activation date. Now, I am much less stressed out about that. Had I not experienced the anxiety and learned to appreciate how it feels to be deaf for the majority of my childhood life, I wouldn’t know how to truly appreciate the gift God gave me.

I believe that that philosophy is everywhere in life, you just have to keep your chin up in times of difficulties and just push through it. I’m about to go take a cold shower to get rid of the heat stroke I’m about to go through due to no A.C.

Have a good week guys!!

Connor

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In A Bubble

Dr Pepper

I hope everybody is doing well today, I’m doing pretty good. I’ve been pretty busy, mostly with work and school. Everything is going well but I’m getting weary of the summer school. I’ve got an 8:00 a.m. math class that I’ve gotta meet at and it’s proved to be pretty difficult.

I met some pretty amazing people at work the other day, these people were truly awesome. They were a nice couple who were the CEO’s of a local bank in town and they sat and talked to me while I broke down my section. We talked about our jobs, they asked me about school, about what I’m going to major in, and than we started talking about my cochlear implant. They were very impressed with me, and these were people that I had just met that day. I’ve always loved people who have shown care in people outside their normal range of friends. I try to emulate that quality in my own life by caring about everybody around me, not just the people I know. That amazing couple left me a great tip when they left and a business card with the instructions to contact them via email. These people are amazing and truly are a blessing to the people around them.

The other day at work I seriously felt like I was in a literal bubble made out of latex….. Your probably wondering what I mean, and no not that…. I mean I couldn’t hear a thing. My hearing fluctuates with the weather, and that day my hearing had hit an all time low, while at work. I’ve never had such a difficult shift. Everything sounded the same, “Dr. Pepper” sounded like “Tortillas” and “Enchiladas” sounded like “Extra Napkins”. It was horrible. I basically just had to suck it up and get through the shift. Luckily I didn’t run into too many issues and I moved on with life.

It is days like that that can sometimes leave somebody dealing with this feeling lonely and really stressed out. How many people do you know have to deal with their hearing fluctuating with the hours that pass? It can be a little trying on your emotions. When I was younger, I used to get so angry at myself and God for making me have to go through dealing with this. I’m different than your normal deaf person, because my hearing will be “okay” (within reason) one day, and than almost gone another. It can fluctuate a bunch.

Now that I’ve gotten older, I’m glad that it was me that was the one that was chosen to go through this. Yes, it can be difficult sometimes to deal with being deaf, but I got it. Somebody, who was deaf, came into work the other deaf soliciting the customers for money by giving them a card asking them and signing. You will never catch me doing something like that. I try to be approachable for people in the same situation, or for people who have questions so that people may learn from me about a different part of life. I feel it was a blessing from God for me to go through this so that I may be able to help others in the same situation.

I hope you learned something new today!

Connor

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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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After Class

Well, I got my six month mapping yesterday, I can definitely tell a difference in what I had been missing. For those of you who don’t know, a mapping is a personalized programming of a cochlear implant to your own specifications. I can help maximize your benefits and enhance your potential from such a device. I got a new one yesterday, but it definitely takes some adjusting.

I had become accustomed to a stabbing pain in my neck and head from the cochlear implant for the last three months. It was especially prevalent whenever loud music was being played, when a man with a deep voice spoke, or when somebody was yelling at me (it happens more than you think ha ha). The pain eventually became simultaneous with noise and I got somewhat used to it, but it was extremely uncomfortable. Thankfully I was able to get that taken away yesterday with the new programming, I am actually able to listen to some music at an acceptable level without wincing at every bass beat!

Unfortunately I have learned that I have again lost more hearing in my left ear. For those of you who aren’t familiar, I had lost nearly all of my hearing in my right ear last summer right before school of my freshman year. I got a cochlear implant over Christmas break last year and now I am adjusting to life with it. Now it seems as though my left ear is going away as well, thankfully not as fast.

I had, for most of my life, had about 80% of my hearing in my left ear and 40%-50% of hearing in my right ear. My right ear is now completely deaf and about two months ago I lost 20% in my left ear leaving it to 60%, and now I’ve lost even more according to the test I took yesterday. I am not yet on the track to get a cochlear implant on my right ear, but that goes to show you that nothing in life is permanent, no matter how promising it looked at one time.

I am still very optimistic about the outcome though, because I feel that whatever needs to happen, will happen. Many people, complete strangers, have come up and talked to me about my cochlear implant and have begun to become educated on the fact that just because people are deaf, they aren’t welfare reliant Americans. That makes me feel good that I can teach people and talk to them about that. I have been extremely successful with my first implant, and if God has in the plan for me to need another one, then I will get another one with time. I always make the best of a situation, even if it isn’t ideal.

I hope everybody is having a good day!

Connor

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