Hearing After Hearing Aids

How did you lose your hearing?

For some, that question may be considered intrusive and personal. But for most cochlear implant users, it is a great way to start a conversation with another implant user when you meet for the first time. And when the question comes from somebody who doesn’t have cochlear implants, it’s a great opportunity to show off your technology. Allow me to explain.

I grew up with normal hearing, and always enjoyed music and foreign languages, in addition to my career as an engineer and all the geeky interests that go along with it. I met my future bride while studying Japanese. We used to alternate days, taking turns speaking each other’s language.

Nine months after we were married, I was in the shower one morning, and slowly came to the realization that the water wasn’t making any noise. My analytical engineering brain kicked into action, trying to figure out what was wrong with the water. After exhausting all of the possible water problems, I realized that it was probably making its usual sounds, and that I wasn’t able to hear it.

I spent the next dozen years holding an FM microphone, which was connected to a really powerful hearing aid. This helped me read lips a little bit, but I could only use it for about an hour a day before becoming exhausted. Continue reading