Cochlear Implant Patient Testimonials - Continued ...
Patient - Melissa Benton
"Hello, my name is Melissa Benton. It is a privilege to share my experience with deafness and the cochlear implant.
I was diagnosed with a hearing impairment at the age of three. Doctors believed the nerve damage was caused by a severe case of mumps and high fever when I was two years old. At the time of my diagnosis, I was found to be completely deaf in my right ear, and had approximately 40% loss in my left ear.
In spite of my hearing impairment, I was a happy, outgoing child. I was also an energetic tomboy who earned the nickname "Tiger" because of my fondness for playing football and picking on boys. I attended a mainstream school and had no difficulty making good grades. Although I was a good student, my classmates sometimes made fun of me because I talked funny and said "what?" all the time. Some of the children avoided making friends with me, probably because I was different and they didn’t understand why. I did form some friendships; however, by the time I reached the 4th or 5th grade, my hearing loss was already having a significant impact on my self esteem; I was beginning to experience feelings of self-consciousness and inferiority. Although I had always enjoyed interacting with other children, I was gradually becoming shy and withdrawn and was spending more and more time by myself. When not in school, I could usually be found hiding behind a book.
In the 5th grade, I had a teacher who would have made a better drill sergeant. The first time I missed an assignment because I didn’t hear it, he accused me (in front of the whole class) of using my hearing impairment as a crutch and an excuse to get out of doing homework. Although my parents set him straight, I will never forget the humiliation I felt that day. Up to that time, there had not been a definite or obvious need for a hearing aid; however, soon after that incident, my parents bought my first hearing aid and I enjoyed improved hearing….. for a few years.
When I was thirteen, my hearing suddenly began to decrease. After diagnostic tests ruled out a medical cause, the doctor explained that nerve deafness is often progressive and told me that I would probably be totally deaf before I reached adulthood. Needless to say, I was terrified of my own future. One night, as I prayed for a miracle, I became very emotional and threw my hearing aid, smashing it against the wall. Of course, I didn’t mean to hit the wall with it. Fortunately, my parents were understanding, and the hearing aid was not damaged beyond repair. My mother looks back at that night and says that God answered that desperate prayer when I received my cochlear implant –He just answered in His own perfect timing.
During my teenage years, my hearing continued to decrease, and I became increasingly withdrawn from my peers. Although I managed to maintain honor roll grades throughout high school, I felt that I wasn’t good enough for other teenagers, and I made few friends. My hearing decreased to the point that I was considered legally deaf by the time I graduated from high school. The small amount of residual hearing was just enough to be amplified with a very powerful hearing aid. Although a hearing aid increases the volume of sound, it does not provide much clarity. Therefore, I was forced to rely on lip-reading and guessing. I dreaded social situations and kept to myself most of the time. My ability to communicate on the telephone was limited to just a few family members. The lack of independence and self-confidence was a challenge I had to confront every day throughout my young adult years.
I first heard about the cochlear implant in the ‘80’s, but at that time, the reports were not very favorable, and I was told by my former ear doctor that the implant was only for people who could not hear with hearing aids. During the ‘90’s, I occasionally asked my doctor about new developments with the cochlear implant. His answer was always the same: he didn’t know whether I would be a candidate or not, because I was "getting by" with a hearing aid and lip-reading. When he did give me some information about the implant, that information was less than impressive. I threw it in the trash and resigned myself to a life of deafness. It never occurred to me that maybe there was more current information that reflected the positive facts about cochlear implants.
In September of ‘98, I went to the Deaf Action Center to find out about assistive technology to help me with telephone communication. It was there that I met Esther Kelly, who showed me all the special telephones and assistive devices that help hearing impaired people cope with their hearing loss. Ms. Kelly also told me that she was deaf, but could hear with the cochlear implant. My first reaction was astonishment that she could hear and speak so well. I was even more pleasantly surprised when she told me that she thought I might be a good candidate, because she was just like me before she had her implant. I was so excited! I even told her "forget the special telephone, I want the implant" and when I left there that day, I knew that I was going to have a cochlear implant and hear on the telephone again. I did some research of my own, and a lot of praying, and by the time I met Dr. Peters and he confirmed that I was a candidate, my mind was already made up. Any questions that I had were trivial. I just knew that the cochlear implant was going to be the answer to a lifetime of prayers.
Dr. Peters performed my implant surgery in November ‘98. I went home the same day, with no complications, and there was just minimal pain from the surgery. After a four week healing period, the audiologists fit me with the external components of the device and programmed my speech processor. At first, everything sounded strange and distorted, but became more natural sounding within a few weeks. This is because I was suddenly hearing sounds that I had not heard since I was a child, and my brain was interpreting those sounds as strange. As I began to hear the new sounds repeatedly, the sound quality became more natural. This is the reason the clarity with the implant continues to improve for two or three years. Prior to my implant, my ability to understand speech was only 12% with a hearing aid. One week after my initial programming, this had already increased to 76%. On my most recent hearing test, my speech discrimination score was 92%. This is without lip-reading, but in a quiet environment. I hear sounds at 30 decibels, which is considered just a mild hearing loss. Background noise and group situations are still somewhat difficult, but I definitely do much better in these situations than I did with hearing aids. My speech and quality of voice have improved tremendously, although I still have the nasal quality that is a characteristic of years of profound deafness. After two months of auditory telephone therapy with Linda Daniel of HEAR In Dallas, I communicate on the telephone with little difficulty. I enjoy music and television once again. I hear the birds sing and the rain falling. My life is less stressful, and I have more confidence. I now look forward to the challenges of each new day.
I thank God every day for granting the miracle of a new life and restored hearing ability, through cochlear implant technology. Although the degree of success with the cochlear implant varies with each individual, this is proof that very dramatic results can be achieved, and I give God all the glory for mine. I truly believe that the reason I received such good results from my implant is that my God-given purpose in life is to help others who are hearing impaired. It is because of my gratitude, and desire to help others receive the wonderful gift of hearing, that I became involved with the Dallas Hearing Foundation. My heart overflows with joy when I see deaf people hearing and speaking with the cochlear implant, and the memory of a child’s face when she heard for the first time is priceless.
I am forever grateful to Dr. Peters, not only for performing the miracle of cochlear implantation, but also for giving me the opportunity to work for the Dallas Hearing Foundation – first as a volunteer, and now as an employee. The Lord has opened the doors for me to help the hearing impaired as my full-time vocation as the administrator for the Dallas Hearing Foundation. I am still amazed and overjoyed that the Lord has not only restored my hearing ability, but has also blessed me with two very rewarding jobs.
The cochlear implant and my involvement with the Dallas Hearing Foundation have changed my whole life, and that’s why I tell my story – to help increase awareness of the success of present day cochlear implants, and to promote assistance, through the Dallas Hearing Foundation, to those who are financially unable to afford the help they need. It is my prayer that others, through their own compassion for the less fortunate, will continue to become involved and demonstrate their support of the mission and goals of the Dallas Hearing Foundation."
Patients - Randy and Blaine Moore
Our worse nightmare turned into a dream come true thanks to the help of a local surgeon and a cochlear implant. The following story is a journey into the life of Blaine, before and after this amazing surgery.
As with all expectant parents you hope and pray that you give birth to a healthy child, and as soon as it is born you find yourself counting to make sure that they have ten fingers and ten toes and that all their other parts are intact. I was never concerned that I may have a deaf child.
Having a deaf child was of concern to Blaine's father Since he himself was born deaf, and living in total silence was something he did not want for his newborn son. Tears streamed down his face in delight as the nurse said "yes, he can hear." However, this once joyous occasion soon turned to sadness in a matter of hours. The pediatrician came into my room early the next morning after Blaine was born and said they had moved him to PICU because of a respiratory problem. My fears of having a baby with Cystic Fibrosis once again surfaced. As Randy and I would sit in the PICU nursery and hold Blaine and talk to him, Randy would always ask the nurse or Doctor if they were sure Blaine could hear. Their reply was always the same reassuring "yes". Your child's hearing is perfect. However, on this particular day, we noticed that all the other babies cribs had stickers on them but Blaine did not have one on his. I asked the nurse what the stickers meant and she said that all the babies had their hearing tested that day and the reason Blaine did not have a sticker on his crib was because the machine broke before they could test him. That evening we went home to my parents house to rest and eat dinner.
We had only been home a few minutes when the phone rang. It was the neonatal pediatrician calling from PICU wanting to speak to the parents of Blaine Moore. Our hearts sank. We just knew that something horrible had happened to Blaine. When I got on the phone the pediatrician said "Mrs. Moore, I have some bad news about your son. We did a hearing test on him today and he is deaf. He cannot hear anything. The audiologist will be in tomorrow morning to talk with you." The whirlwind of emotions, questions, and anger over how this had all been handled is difficult to explain even to this day. Randy was devastated because he knew the hardships that would lie ahead for Blaine. I was so relieved they had not called to say that he died that being told he was deaf was actually a relief. The full impact of it did not really sink in until later that evening when we went back to the nursery to hold and feed him. As I was rocking him and singing to him and trying to comfort him with soothing words it hit me that he could not hear a thing I was saying to him. He could not hear the musical teddy bear we had brought for him. I felt like he was in pain and all alone and there was nothing I could do to help him. The next morning we met with the audiologist. We wanted to hear words of encouragement or at least be given some hope that our son could be helped. We asked about the cochlear implant at that time because we had heard about it several months ago thinking that maybe Randy might could be a candidate. We were told that it was not an option. She gave us the name of a hearing center and their phone number and said take him there. He will be fitted for hearing aids. Learn sign language as soon possible. Start finger spelling and signing. Immediately we took Blaine to this center where his hearing was tested again and he was found to be profoundly deaf. He was given the strongest hearing aids made for a 4-week-old baby. We asked them about the cochlear implant. They said we will look at him when he is 2. We will not know until then if he is even a candidate. It varies from child to child they said. He has the strongest hearing aids available. Learn sign language and finger spell. Then we were referred to our school district. We called them immediately and scheduled an appointment for the teacher to come to the house. They worked with Blaine, helping him learn to crawl, sit up, and be more aware of his surroundings. They also communicated with him (using sign language and finger spelling). We would always ask her about cochlear implants and she would just brush us off and said it was not an option. Finger spell and continue to learn sign language. By now Blaine is 16 months old and is not communicating at all and he is not responding with hearing aids. We learned sign language and we finger spelled. We continued to ask the hearing center and the school district and even the pediatrician about cochlear implants and the same reply was always given to us. He may not be a candidate wait until he is 2, continue to use sign language and one-day he will just pick it up and sign back to you. We never knew that there was a speech therapist or audiologist that worked with deaf children outside of the school system. We did not know that had he been seen by a physician who specialized in children's hearing problems that he would have already been in speech and would be making sounds and would be in the process of being readied for a cochlear implant for which he and all other children may be potential candidates. We learned this by accident when my mother started working for Dr. Peters at Dallas Otolaryngology. Randy and I brought Blaine in for a consultation. Not only did we find out that Blaine was a candidate but Randy was also. That was the first day of a new life for Randy and Blaine. Now they would have the chance to hear. Randy and Blaine both had their surgery on July 1999 and are making fabulous progress. The entire cochlear team that works with them weekly has been a blessing to us. Their lives have definitely been changed. The anger is sometimes overwhelming when I think of the time we lost and could have continued to lose in helping not only Blaine but also Randy be able to come out of a world of silence because we could not get any information from any source about the cochlear implants.
If you have a hearing impaired child please, please check into the cochlear implant yourself. Don't let the school district or deaf community try to influence a decision as important as your child's hearing. There are so many myths about the procedure and surgery that people are afraid to even approach the subject. Whether your child reads lips or signs or has a cochlear implant is your decision. Contact the Dallas Hearing Foundation if you have questions or call one of three surgeons in this area for a consult. The first time that we said Blaine's name and he turned and smiled, we knew we made the right decision. The first time Randy heard birds singing he knew he made the right decision. And we are eternally grateful for turning a world of silence into one of beautiful noise for our family.
Patient - Cecile Landon
|No Available Picture
After months of adjustment to hearing new sounds, I wonder if it is possible to convey how it really was at first. In January I decided to have a cochlear implant. After grieving for the loss of my remaining natural hearing, I finally learn I will have better hearing, but it will be mechanical.
After months of adjustment to hearing new sounds, I wonder if it is possible to convey how it really was at first. In January I decided to have a cochlear implant. After grieving for the loss of my remaining natural hearing, I finally learn I will have better hearing, but it will be mechanical.
They are going to put a long tube of electrodes into my inner ear, entering through the back and inserting a magnet that will protrude under my scalp just about two inches above the ear. That magnet will attach to an external magnet that makes the connection to a microphone and control box which I will wear on my belt. For a few weeks I can try different kinds of sound and control the volume. A lot to learn.
"I am going to be really happy," I am told. "Nothing bad is going to happen, I won’t go blind, I won’t hear a freight train running in one ear and out the other (but I DID hear them!---and from far away too!) and I will have "usable communication skills." One of my greatest joys has always been knowing what other people think. Now I won’t be confined to the editorial pages in the news.
The day arrives. Our pastor came to see me before the operation in case I go blind, and it is the last time we see each other! After one night in the hospital where they never let you sleep, I went home with a drain behind my ear and wearing a large cup which held the surgical pads in the place and protected my stitches. I told the doctor not to cut so much hair off, but I think he was getting even with me for nagging him. It would be some time before I was concerned about it again.
Almost every day I had company. A writing pad kept us in touch. My neighbor came over and took me to the doctor for my two day check-up. During the healing process cokes and toast comfort me and captioned TV helps pass the time. In five days I am so crazy that I take my chances on going to Wendy’s for supper in absolute total silence. Before the operation, I pretended I could hear the counter people and now I tell them plainly, "I can’t hear you, just let me tell you what I want." If they cannot understand my simple explanation and persist in asking me questions, I repeat my declaration and try to think of everything they will ask me. No mayo; Yes, I dine IN, good grief!!
My silent condition eliminates much of the New Year resolutions involving activity. Somehow this translates into a greater desire for entertainment. Maybe video information would seep into the little gray cells, and I might emerge from this cocoon conversant on all kinds of subjects. I might even get my own writing files in order, but NO! All I want right now is entertainment!
By the following week, I am so stir crazy, I rearrange the bedroom, make the bed and go with the family to the snack shop. I talk about the neighborhood, and they listen. That’s a switch! The second Wednesday I went to play dominoes at the center for seniors and talked about my operation. THEY had to listen.
Finally, in mid-February, it was HOOK UP TIME. It took three hours to lecture me and to learn all the buttons, attachments and expectations. I came home with high hopes and clicks and clacks of keys and car noise. If I had not been assured and believed that I would improve, I would have gone home screaming. But my anticipation of better hearing kept me on my own side of the road!!!
Watching TV with crazy captions way behind the speakers gave me a splitting headache. Next day I tried with the news, but still squeaky sounds that just wouldn’t go with the lip movements. I had stared at them so long, I could tell they were not writing what was being said anyway. Give it more time, I tell myself.
Four days later y’all still sound like chipmunks on fast forward. But more sounds greet my electrodes than I have been aware of for years. I crack a grasshopper that got in here, birds squawking (I don’t need to understand the words), Walmart carts rolling, keys jingling, police sirens across the freeway. A full week later I walked into the senior center just as Jeanne was calling the Bingo numbers. I heard the number 0-63!!! I called it out after her and got lots of smiles and waves. Some of our senior group knew it was a mile-stone for me. My audiologist cried when I told her about that thrilling moment.
My check-up time comes around, and the doctor says I am better. The stitches are healing great, and I am wearing hats again. Every day I am convinced that life goes on its noisy way, and I am enjoying it more. If God made birds to sing, didn’t He want me to hear them? Violins play, trains whistle, neighbors chat and little ones say, "Grandma, listen, I am learning to play the mandolin!" Every day brings new thrills. If my friends and family ever thought I was a pest before, let them beware! Here comes the new me, or the one I want to become, ready to talk and to L I S T E N !!!
Update October 2001
October, one year and eight months since "hook up" time. In a world where so many are bombarded with high volume noise of music and motors and losing their hearing, I am discovering the small pieces of that huge sound puzzle that surrounds us.
This week I am playing cassettes of a speaker I thoroughly enjoyed in person a few months ago. What a surprise to recognize almost every word and to recall a distinctive masculine voice.
Household noises are surprising too. It took me a while to realize my fridge was not falling apart, it always did that when it switched on! But that was nothing compared to my new clothes washer set up in the hall closet. It might sound as if it were just humming along to most people, but to me, it was dancing to its own music.
It was time to buy a keyboard and review my childhood piano lessons. I might never play like Dino but it's fun to hear the old hymns again, even if I am the one who plays them :)
Tomorrow, as is my Wednesday habit since I began to work the domino crowd, we will try a new game. My friends have been very patient, but I am sure they are happy that "What?" is no longer my favorite word!! :)
This year Valentine's Day marks my second anniversary and you can
Patient - Devon Harris
|No Picture Available
I have been asked to share the experiences my family and I have had in regards to my hearing impaired child. At this time my daughter is 8 years old and in the third grade in the deaf education program in a local school district. Devon was born full term with little complications during labor. She did have the cord wrapped around her neck although I don't think it was to any great extent. She had no known illnesses or viral infections during her infancy. At 14 to 15 months the family started to grow concerned that although she babbled she didn't seem to be trying to form words. Our thoughts were that she may have some blockage and possibly need to have tubes put in her ears to help her hear clearly. We NEVER anticipated that we were about to discover that our daughter was deaf.
As a matter of fact it seemed like such a routine doctors' appointment that neither my husband nor I attended the appointment with her due to our jobs. Both of our mothers took Devon.
Her appointment was at a Ear Nose and Throat clinic at a local hospital. My husband and I both received a call requesting us to come up to the hospital immediately. When we arrived, an audiologist met us. She explained to me that Devon had a substantial hearing loss the severity of which had yet to be determined. I think it is most likely hard for anyone that has never been through this to understand the whirlwind of emotions, questions and anger we had at that time. We had never even met a hearing impaired person and had no idea that two hearing parents could have a deaf child unless there was some major illness such as meningitis.
I took being a mother very seriously during my pregnancy to the extent that I wouldn't take an aspirin or drink caffinated products. I did everything I knew to insure having the healthiest baby possible. I had a hard time accepting this diagnosis could be real, I thought surely there had been a mistake. The next few days were so traumatic for my husband and me, I was in serious denial and had to watch my child go through tests and procedures that I didn't fully understand myself. We were in and out of that place for three or four days and at the end had no answers as to why. It didn't look like we would ever be able to answer that question and at this time still can't. It no longer presents itself as an issue though.
So there we were-- two young hearing parents with a newly diagnosed deaf child. Our next question was "Now what?" The audiologist from the hospital helped us through this issue as well. She explained that there was a school and told us what they have to offer. She explained that we had choices to make as far as total communication vs. verbal vs. sign only programs.
During the time we spent at the hospital I do not remember ever once actually talking to any medical doctor, only the audiologist. No one EVER discussed with us the option of a cochlear implant or even mentioned them to us. It was also never brought up to us that we could get Devon in private speech therapy. As a matter of fact we were never told that there were speech therapists or rehabilitation audiologists that worked with deaf children outside of the school system. It wasn't until Devon was three years old and we saw an episode of 20/20 on implants that we even became aware that such a thing existed.
After seeing the TV program, I thought of the only "experts" on hearing impairment that I could think of and called my daughter's school for a meeting to discuss the option. I walked away from that meeting feeling ashamed of myself for even so much as considering doing this to my child. I was told that I needed to accept my daughter for who she is and not try to make her who I wanted her to be. I was told that the best case scenario was that she would always be extremely hard of hearing, still unable to use the telephone or hear actual conversation. I was told that if my daughter had this operation she would no longer "fit in" with other deaf children and she would not be accepted by the hearing world. They told me we had plenty of time to think about this type of procedure at a much later date and maybe we should wait until Devon could decide for herself that she wanted to go through the surgery.
I was told that it wasn't even worth talking to a doctor about it because they were going to say whatever it took to get our money. They said the doctor would exaggerate the facts and share only their successful cases with us. We were told the success rate was very low for this operation and that there had not been adequate research done at this time. Devon is a brilliant little girl. She is highly motivated and strong willed. At the end of her second grade year, she came to me and told me she wanted to go to the doctor and she wanted a cochlear implant. We had thought no more about them for almost five years at that point. I could not look at my daughter when she got older after not giving her this chance if that is what SHE wanted! I am here to tell you that, "YES I DO ACCEPT MY DAUGHTER FOR WHO SHE IS! I ALSO RESPECT HER FOR WHO SHE IS!"
I know we have a long road ahead of us filled with many more tiring and emotional times. But I also know that as a mother, I OWE her this opportunity, I only wish it could have been sooner!! My family has done a lot of thinking and soul searching in the past few months. After meeting Dr Peters at Dallas Ear Institute and Linda Daniel at Hear In Dallas as well as several of the children in their program, we now know so much more is possible than we ever could have imagined! My daughter's school is still making things somewhat difficult and we will most likely be removing her from their program after she gets her implant programmed and home school her. The difference is I am now making decisions for and with my daughter and medical professionals instead of seeking the school system's opinion. Devon had her surgery August 16, 1999, and starts a whole new life on September 20, 1999, thanks to Dr Peters and Linda Daniel and the other staff involved. I hope that this helps you, as doctors know how important that initial diagnosis and the information that accompanies it are to us as parents and how it can determine the course of a child's life.
Thank you for your time and this opportunity to share this experience with you.
Brandy and Ron Harris, RNBHarris@aol.com
Patient - Abbi Timmons
Abbi Timmons is my precious little 7 year old daughter. She was born profoundly deaf we assume. Newborn screening wasn't mandatory at that time. The nurses tried to test her but told me she wouldn't cooperate. They assured me she was probably fine and I could take her to the pediatrician for testing in a few months if I had any concerns. Having no history of deafness in my nor her father's family, I dismissed the thought and didn't have her tested.
Being my second child, I wasn't reading daily from my "What To Expect During The First Year" book. I got it out every few months and read back over what she should have accomplished since I read it last. At four months of age, she should have turned to my voice. Abbi didn't do that and she was 6 months old. I overlooked that as it said at the end of each chapter "not all infants reach milestones at the same time".
When Abbi was 7 1/2 months old, my sister was taking her picture. She kept calling Abbi's name but she wouldn't look up. I finally waved my hand in front of her face and that startled her. My sister innocently commented on Abbi not recognizing her name yet. I knew then there was something wrong. After performing some of my own "test", I was certain Abbi was deaf. Within the week, she was diagnosed as profoundly deaf by an ABR test.
We began the process of getting her fitted with hearing aids, having someone come to our home from La. School for the Deaf once a week and taking her to speech therapy 3 days a week. We never saw any signs of her hearing with her hearing aids after six months. It was then we were told about this "unreliable" thing called a cochlear implant. I did lots of research and found so many different opinions from "The CI is the most wonderful thing you can do for her!" to the extreme opposite of "The CI is child abuse and she will grow up to hate you for doing that to her".
Ultimately, with God's guidance, we decided to give her the opportunity to hear something with the CI, even if it was only environmental sounds, versus nothing at all with or without hearing aids. Abbi was implanted unilaterally and activated on January 4, 2001 at the age of 2 years and 2 months of age. At 6 weeks post-activation she was saying words like, bye-bye, nose, mouth, uh-oh and most importantly, momma. She didn't say those words perfectly but oh, it was just amazing to hear her wonderful attempts! Many a grown man cried when they heard her speak!
We began a year and a half ago looking into the possibility of a second implant. Research was being published that seemed so promising. Several parents on my internet CI circle had their children bilaterally implanted as part of those research studies. They posted regularly with very positive results. After a nine month battle with our insurance company, we finally won with the help of the Let Them Hear Foundation. We were on our way to bilateral!
Abbi's second implant was activated on July 19, 2006. The results have been astounding! As I write this, she has been activated for 15 days. She already seems to be speaking more clearly and more aware of sounds around her. She has adapted quickly to her new "baby ear". She is already able to repeat back words and phrases with just her baby ear on. She is very proud of her new baby ear and has told me several times over the last two weeks, "See my new baby hearing ear. It's so beautiful! Thank you so much, Momma!" Hearing that from her is so valuable to me.
Many people have told me over the years how amazed they are with Abbi. They say, "Isn't technology just incredible?". I do agree with that wholeheartedly. When I look at my child who couldn't hear a chainsaw running before her cochlear implant and can now hear me call her name from four rooms away...WOW, what a miracle! I give much credit to the men and women who created this device and perfected it over the years. I give much credit also to the surgeons and the audiologist who make this possible for our children. But most importantly, I give credit to God for giving those individuals the knowledge to create, perfect, install and maintain the cochlear implant. I thank Him for giving those people the desire to do what they have done and still do for our precious children.
My name is Marianella Zuazo Salinas and I am from Peru. I was born on October 15,1996.
My sister Ana Lucia and I were both born with profound hearing loss. I went to CEPAL
PERUVIAN CENTER FOR HEARING LANGUAGE AND LEARNING special school
starting when I was one year old. I learned to listen and talk with headphones, but I could not understand the voices. When I was eight years old, I recEived the wonderful gift
of hearing, with the cochlear implant. Thanks to the Dallas Hearing Foundation, Dr. Peters who performed my surgery, Melissa, Leslie, Linda and all the nice people at the
Dallas Hearing Foundation that made me very happy. Our stay in Dallas for 45 days
was unforgettable, but the most beautiful part was when my mom and I got back to
my country - listening to the happiness of my parents, teachers and family. I thank
God for giving me this opportunity and putting wonderful people in my way.
Now I am in sixth grade. I like mathematics, science, drawing, painting and
practicing sports. I am maximizing my education that is also provided by the
foundation, to be a good professional in the future and fulfill my dream of
helping others. Some day I hope to return to Dallas to visit my friends at
the Dallas Hearing Foundation.
My name is Taryn Surovik and I was born profoundly deaf. I wore hearing aids
in both ears and it was difficult for people outside of my family to understand me when I talked. I received my first cochlear implant at the age of four. My speech improved so much that I have been in mainstreamed school since kindergarten.
I received my second cochlear implant at the age of nine.
After receiving the cochlear implants, I had to really work hard to learn language.
I attended auditory verbal therapy 3 times a week after school with Ms. Linda Daniel. It was hard work and sometimes I didn’t enjoy it, but Linda always knew what I needed most. She was a huge part of my success in school and she was also there to provide support for my mom, with how to communicate with the public school educators.
Within just a few weeks after receiving the cochlear implants, I could hear sounds that I had never heard before. I remember being able to tell whether a car was coming from my right side or my left side when I was riding my bike. I could hear the sound of the wind and the whistling of the trees, running water, and so many other things. The funniest thing I remember was going outside and running back in the house and telling my mother that there was a strange sound outside. She came out and informed me that the strange sound I was hearing, was
the crickets that chirp at night!
Now that I am 16 and a sophomore in high school, I realize what a blessing it was for me to find the Dallas Hearing Foundation, Dr. Peters and his staff, Ms. Daniel, and audiologists Jennifer Lake and Leslie Llanos. They all have a true compassion and heart for changing the lives of others. Their dedication, commitment and willingness to help others who are in need of these
services when they have no other way to hear, is the greatest gift of all.
Having the cochlear implants has enriched my life in so many ways. They have provided me with the opportunity to function independently in a hearing world, attend school, excel at academics, attend a college preparatory school, and participate in extra-curricular activities that would not be possible without hearing. I enjoy listening to music and dancing, and I even made the drill team. I have been able to do so many other things such as competitive gymnastics, play the drums in middle school, play volleyball, and since the age of six, play my number one sport, competitive soccer. I have been blessed with the opportunity to play on a select team where it is crucial that I hear the other players. Without the ability to hear the referees, the whistle, my coach, and my teammates, I would not have had this opportunity. I am very thankful that I am able to function at such a high level in a hearing world!
|The Sound of Success
A story about a girl and her family who
embarked on a 5,296 mile journey when she
was 2 years old to give her the gift of hearing
Click Here to Download Story