My good ear was responsible for almost all my hearing, so when it began the steep decline I sought the help of a doctor of Otology, Dr. Bob Peters of the Dallas Ear Institute. My question to Dr. Peters was something like this: Can you fix my good ear?
The response was something like this: Your bad ear qualifies for a cochlear implant.
I wasn’t there to talk about my bad ear or cochlear implants; I’d given up on my bad ear long ago and cochlear implants were horribly bulky last-century equipment for completely deaf people.
Besides, my bad ear had terrible discrimination problems, as in no matter how much the sound was amplified, I couldn’t understand it. Just thinking about my bad ear made me feel discouraged.
But Dr. Peters explained, in finer medical terms than I can reproduce here, that a cochlear implant would bypass the problems in my middle ear, stimulating electrodes placed in my cochlea that would communicate directly with my brain. My bad ear would be better than my good ear, close to 80% of normal hearing (up from a current performance of 11% on a good day and a low frequency). Advances in technology had made the device appropriate for more people with varying degrees of hearing loss. More testing would be required to confirm my qualification for the implant but the news that my bad ear could be made to hear was nothing short of shocking.
I got in my car and cried. Then I called my husband. Driving home, I got excited about my bad ear.