Before I go into my story of who I am, what type of hearing loss I have and what I experience everyday, I would like to share with you (if anybody decides to read this) why I’m doing this. I’ve decided to start this blog because I’ve got a lot of original experiences that most people my age will never encounter. I’ve felt that I want to share those experiences so that maybe somebody else out there can possibly relate to what I’m going through and see that it is possible to have a hearing loss or any other type of (what the rest of the world views it as) disability and not let it get them down. I’ve also written this so that I have another way to tell my story to my friends around me in a greater detail so they understand what it is like to have hearing aids in a day to day basis.
First things first, my name is Connor. I was born in Oklahoma, I was born in 1991, before the baby hearing screening laws were ever passed. Now in 2010, whenever you have a baby, they are to be screened before they ever leave a hospital to check for any type of hearing loss. Anyways, I left the hospital without any screening of any type and went on with life. I was my mothers first child and everything that she experienced seemed normal to her. It wasn’t until I was in kindergarten that they discovered that I needed hearing aids. That is viewed to be very late in developmental stages for babies to learn auditory-speech processing skills. That may be one of the reasons why you have the people who have hearing aids, but you may hear a bit of a difference in their speaking. They could have gotten their hearing aids, or cochlear implant, late and it hinders the learning process that they have to learn later in life.
Fast forward 5 years, I get my next set of hearing aids. I had to get more powerful ones due to the fact that my hearing was deteriorating. It was around that time that I was told by my ENT ( Ears, Nose, Throat Doctor) that I would probably need to be fitted with a cochlear implant by 15 years old.
Another four years later I got new hearing aids, these ones were digital to keep up with my ever deteriorating hearing. I was about to be entering high school by this time and the 15 year old mark was approaching. Two years later my hearing was fluctuating more than ever and I got fitted with my top of the line hearing aids that I have now. Jace Wolfe, somebody who I look up to, and my audiologist recommended that I get these instead of the cochlear implant at 15 years old. We did that instead. I’m very happy that I did that and got through high school without having to do any surgeries.
Now a freshman in college, everything has changed. Approximately two weeks before I moved into the dorms my hearing dropped dramatically. My hearing did what most LVAS patients did and what I was always nervous of, the signature drop. My right ear dropped 20 points in one appointment and another 20 in another. My left ear (my good, and always reliable ear) did about 15 in each appointment. There are certain guidelines that are to be met before one is a candidate for a cochlear implant, and within two weeks I went from “No I wouldn’t recommend one for your son, he wouldn’t like it” to “Yes, I would get one if he was my son”. I’ve been set to get surgery on December 20th, and my activation is January 5th. Most would say, “isn’t it just like a more powerful hearing aid?” Honestly, no. The choice you make about getting one must be taken carefully before just jumping into it, and it was a difficult choice for me, the people who get them, and the parents of deaf children to make.