|Without my electronic hearing devices I am almost as deaf as these marble busts.|
When you are a writer and something extraordinary happens to you, you sometimes put your work on hold to capture the experience in writing. I had such an episode last spring.
What you don't know about me is that I have struggled with hearing loss for most of my life. Recent accelerated deterioration of my good ear had pushed me to consult a new specialist. But rather than fixing what was wrong with my good ear, the doctor prescribed surgery for a cochlear implant in my bad ear. I was skeptical, unable to imagine how a cochlear implant would be any different than struggling with hearing aids that simply amplify what's left of bad hearing, including poor discrimination and missing frequencies. It felt as if I were taking the next step into the world of total deafness; another futile expenditure of time and money for nothing that would make any difference. I left the doctor's office and sat in my car and cried.
But then I met the people in the support group who'd had the cochlear implant surgery, and their hearing was better than mine. I began to understand that an implant works differently than a hearing aid since it bypasses the dysfunction of the middle ear to work directly with the brain. I imagined the possibility of improved hearing for myself. And so I had the operation.
The experience of having my new ear "turned on" was something I had to capture in writing and share; people who suffer from hearing loss do not know about the recent drastic improvements in technology. I'd had no idea! So my novel-in-progress went on the back burner while I documented the entire experience in a blog: from the story of my childhood ear infections and gradual but profound loss of hearing, through surgery and recovery, to the amazing experience of listening to the jingle of a broken lightbulb held next to my new 'ear'.
Now I am back at work on my novel.
Click to visit: A Cochlear Implant Diary: Memoirs of a Bad Ear
Cindy Jones is the author of My Jane Austen Summer as well as work-in-progress about look-alike friends who trade places while under dangerous influence of Romantic Poets. Follow: