Once I Could Hear, I Discovered I was Starving


Waiting for a table in a noisy restaurant, surrounded by friends and family.


This post is long overdue, and I blame it on the unexpected side effects of new hearing.

To recap:  In the old days, no matter how badly I wanted to socialize or participate in the activities I cared about, I simply could not hear well enough to keep up.  I applied myself again and again, but even if I heard scraps of conversation or bits of meetings, I never got the punch line or the point because for some universal reason it was always delivered in a different tone/pitch/volume/direction.  Eventually, the cost—in energy—of forcing comprehension was insupportable and I had to stop doing the things that fulfilled me.  No more lectures, meetings, or responsibilities that involved communication.  No noisy restaurants or small talk—or people.  I lived in fear of my disability.

But then I got my cochlear implant, and shortly after activation I found myself—sometimes—getting the joke.  Given favorable acoustics, I even bantered and took pleasure in small talk.  This is not to say my hearing became perfect.  I still have trouble in noisy places, seek a front row seat, and ask for captions.  (And I once got in over my head in a hotel ballroom with a microphone and a podium and 105 witnesses).  But believe me when I say my hearing is nothing like before.  My husband says: It’s a completely different world.

As a result of my CI, the vast amount of energy I once spent on comprehension, overloading my cognitive function to the extent of bankrupting my future sanity, is now freed up.  The vast amount of energy I once spent on fear is now freed up.

I have excess energy.

Which brings me to why I’m so late with this post:  About five months after my activation, (fearless and full of new energy), I did something I hadn’t done in years, I attended a meeting for people who wanted to volunteer for a job.  Most people sit on their hands, look the other way—or pretend they are deaf—when it comes to signing up for volunteer jobs.  But after so much isolation, I was feeling a strong desire to reach out, raise my hand, and say YES.  And it didn’t stop there; I reached out, saying YES to friends, lectures, concerts, meetings, big jobs and little jobs, cocktail parties, restaurants, and an entire new Dallas literary scene that had blossomed while I was gone.  I gorged on participation and connection.

I don’t want to get carried away here, but the sheer joy of rejoining my world where I am able do the things that fulfill me, is what I imagine breaking free of a kidnapper would feel like, or dodging the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come, or rising from the dead.

And here’s the bottom line:  I’m too busy to think about my hearing that way anymore.  Except to remind myself that I must sit down and write this blog and bear witness to how the CI has transformed what I do every day of my life.  





6 thoughts on “Once I Could Hear, I Discovered I was Starving

  1. Keri Reynolds

    Hi Cindy – IT IS SO GOOD TO HEAR FROM YOU!!!! I think of you so often and wonder how you are doing. Even though all I need to do is email and check in and try to schedule a coffee date, I am so busy that I let the urgent squeeze out the important – a longtime habit. It sounds like you are doing SUPER and I am ecstatic to hear that. I love reading your blogs. Do you have a new literary treasure out there on Amazon that I can grab?

    What would you think about letting MED-EL publish this blog post on their international blogsite? We post a daily blog and I would love to share this one if you are willing. I am actually responsible for gathering or contributing myself a blog post every month and I would absolutely love to share this one. Please let me know if you consent and I will see if we can post it.

    AND, coffee soon???

    Take care!

    • Hi Keri!
      Please post this blog wherever you like! My goal in writing is to get the word out that hearing impaired people do not need to suffer, so spreading this post far and wide is good.
      We will have coffee soon! I’ll be in touch via email
      All best!

  2. Gloria Buckley

    Cindy, you rock!!! So glad to have been a part of all this. I still recommend your blog to patients who might be candidates. I’m so thankful you are back to enjoying your life. You have earned every great moment!!

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