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Cochlear implant blog: Part two

Part two and the conclusion of our mini blog series to mark International Cochlear Implant Day (25th February). Marc Van Cartier-Kerr continues his cochlear implant story.

Part two: Bringing back my world

I had just started a new job and it seemed to be going well.  I was missing a lot, but people were being very helpful. I had notetakers for meetings and I believed I could do this, that I could cope as a profoundly deaf person.

Six months after being accepted for a cochlear implant, I was so stressed out with work that I was in tears all the time. My friend brought up the implant again.

I said: “I can’t risk it, I can’t risk it not working and being even worse off.”

I suppose I still thought the odd tiny noise I could hear was something to cling onto, until he said: “and what if it DOES work?”.

One day I was having a casual chat with my boss and she said to me: “Marc you need to do this, it could bring back your world”. 

With my employers support I finally said yes to the operation.  During Christmas 2013, I went in and had my internal implant fitted.  I then experienced four weeks of total silence while I waited for it to heal.

The big switch on

January 2014, was a new year and a new start.  We battled through the fog and the rain to Crosshouse Hospital for the big ‘switch on’.

Several scary minutes passed as my audiologist changed settings and then: “Three, two, one, you’re on!”

I thought I was in an earthquake!!  The room rumbled – was this how it was when I could hear?

Turns out my first foray into the hearing world was to hear air conditioning, I never even knew it made a noise.

After half an hour of programming, I was sent off to explore the hospital and to see what I could hear.  I was a little shaken, but OK.  We stopped at the cafe for a bite to eat, everything was so loud.  I took a bite of my sandwich and dissolved into floods of tears.  My friend hugged me and said: “What’s wrong?”.  I wailed: “I can hear myself crunching on cucumber!”

Four years on

I have just celebrated my four-year cochlear birthday!

It’s been a challenging four years for many reasons, but the one thing I will never regret is my implant.  It changed my life.

I can socialise, I go on holidays and I even got married! My new passion is music.  I had 15 years where my hearing was so bad I couldn’t hear music and now I can hear nearly every note.

Suffice to say I’m still catching up and those lost 15 years of music.

If you have a question about cochlear implants, contact our Helpdesk or visit our cochlear implant information pages.