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Getting off the Roller Coaster

Posted Aug 12 2010 1:48pm

Something wonderful happens to people after they have had their cochlear implants for a while. They get on with life!

As a late-deafened adult and cochlear implant recipient, I know the emotional roller coaster of losing one’s hearing; the life and relationship issues that go with that; and finally the high of getting sound back. Definitely “emotional roller coaster” is the right descriptive phrase.

Have you ever ridden a roller coaster? What can you do when you are riding one? About all you can do is ride. You might talk with the person next to you, laugh, or yell, or scream, but you won’t be composing a report or holding a meeting.

As my hearing loss progressed, I participated in life less and less. I quit going to movies, parties or anything that involved a large noisy group or a large room that might echo sound. I stopped using the phone and pretty much limited my communication to family and close friends. Anything beyond that was intimidating, like standing up in a roller coaster. If I had to be on this ride, then I was going to stay seated in my little box and hang on so I felt safe. I might look at the scenery once in a while, but it was easier not to.

I like the feeling of getting off a roller coaster. That first step of putting solid ground under your feet feels so reassuring. I love looking around and being able to walk away and put some distance between me and a ride that I don’t like.

With my cochlear implants, I can get off the ride. I’ve got the ground under my feet again. I can walk away and join the world for the day and I don’t have to get back on until the sun is down and the roller coaster sleeps.

It is fun though, especially when you don’t like a ride, to go on the ride with friends. I attended my first Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) convention this year in June. It was a wonderful experience and the first time I really enjoyed the ride, the hearing loss roller coaster. When we get on the roller coaster together, we hug, we smile, we share the ride and we laugh!

I have noticed that many of the friends I have made through my blog, the Bionic Ear Association, the HLAA and the online forum, Hearing Journey, are getting off the roller coaster and walking away. They have other things to do and lives to live. What a wonderful thing this is!

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