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  • Writer's pictureKerry Tidman

Embracing the symphony of life: My first year with a cochlear implant


Introduction


As I sit down to write this, the rhythmic patter of rain against my window forms a gentle backdrop to my thoughts. It's a sound that, for many, is an ordinary part of their soundscape. For me, however, it's a marvel - a reminder of the extraordinary journey I've embarked upon since getting my cochlear implant 12 months ago.


A woman with red hair mentoring for advanced bionics
A weekend in Manchester with Advanced Bionics

Discovering New Sounds


The journey has been one of revelation and rediscovery. I've experienced the joy of hearing new sounds that were once beyond my reach - the subtle nuances in the voices of my loved ones, the layered complexity of music, and the everyday symphony of life that unfolds around us. Podcasts, audiobooks, and the simple joy of hearing nature have opened new worlds for me, enriching my experiences and connecting me to others in ways I hadn't imagined possible.



Building a Community


One of the unexpected gifts of this journey has been the community I've found. Meeting fellow cochlear implant users has not only been inspiring but also transformative. It led me to become a mentor for Advanced Bionics, allowing me to support others embarking on their own hearing journeys. This role has been incredibly fulfilling, offering me a chance to give back and connect with others who share similar experiences.


A group of cochlear implant mentors
Advanced Bionics Mentors in Manchester



Navigating the Challenges


However, it hasn't all been a smooth ride. In the early days post-surgery, I grappled with intrusive thoughts and fears. The fear of getting too excited about my newfound ability to hear, worrying that it might be snatched away if the implant failed, was a shadow that loomed large. As a therapist, I understand that such thoughts are normal, especially when faced with a life-altering change. Yet, it was a challenge to apply this understanding to my own situation.



The Power of Reframing


The journey taught me the power of reframing my thoughts, and of learning to live in the present. I had to remind myself that it's okay to feel overwhelmed by the influx of new sounds and to yearn for moments of silence without feeling guilty. The overstimulation, the paranoia about protecting my head, and the anxiety were all part of the process - a process of adjusting, learning, and growing.




Embracing the Highs and Lows


This year has been a revelation in accepting and loving the lows as much as the highs. I've learned that the lows are what make the highs so exhilarating. My cochlear implant journey is not just about the sounds I can now hear; it's about embracing the entire spectrum of experiences that come with it.



Looking Forward


As I continue on this journey, I remind myself that it's still early days. There's so much more to learn, to experience, and to navigate. Yet, I'm filled with gratitude for this journey and the incredible gift of sound. My cochlear implant is not just a device; it's a part of me, a bridge to a world filled with sounds I'm now able to cherish.


Woman wearing a cochlear implant in  pe kit
Teaching martial arts at school


Closing Thoughts


To those of you on similar journeys, or contemplating one, know that every journey is unique, filled with its challenges and triumphs. Embrace them all, for they shape your experience and your understanding of the world. Together, let's celebrate the symphony of life, in all its highs and lows.


Kerry x


Advanced Bionics Cochlear Implant Mentor
Advanced Bionics Mentor


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1 Comment


p.smith206
Jan 24

So, so true as a person with a Cochlear Implant. It changed my life.

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