Follow Dr. Yoder on Her Cochlear Implant Journey

Dr. Yoder has had severe hearing loss since childhood and has so far managed by using hearing aids. Follow her as she goes through increased hearing loss and the process of becoming a cochlear implant user. Read Dr. Yoder’s blog posts down below, or download the full journey.

 

My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 18: More and Less Deaf

Self-perception has been on my mind lately. I’ve been thinking about how my cochlear implants changed how I see myself and my deafness. Before my implants, I was very tough on myself. I took full responsibility for communication and felt guilty when it would break down. I felt I should try harder to hear and socialize normally.

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 17: A Short Trip Away From Home

Taking My Ears on the Road About a month after my second implant was activated and I was hearing from both ears, I decided to take a short venture away from home. It was not to test my hearing but rather to socialize again with good friends. I was concerned about the logistics of charging my batteries and remembering to carry spare parts more than I was worried about hearing.

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 16: Bilateral Heaven

Deciding to get cochlear implants is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Having two implants has taken the experience to the next level — being able to hear in both ears is bilateral heaven. I have a greater sense of awareness of my surroundings and I’m able to have a conversation with ease. I need less visual information to communicate and I have a great deal more energy.

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 15: Activating My Second Cochlear Implant

Now that I have two cochlear implants, I’m done with hearing aids permanently. About a week after my surgery, I tried wearing my hearing aid but there was no sound. I realized I was completely deaf now. The attempt to save my residual hearing failed, but that was expected. After all, the surgery was lengthy and there were difficulties…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 14: Going Under the Knife, Take Two

I said goodbye to the last of my natural hearing on June 24, 2019, when I underwent surgery for my second cochlear implant, this time for my right ear. This second surgery was almost exactly a year after my first (June 18, 2018) but I remembered it so clearly that I felt nearly at home during the entire process.

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 13: Deciding to Get a Second Cochlear Implant

There are several reasons I decided to take this journey again. I realize with all the positive outcomes of having just the left implant, it may seem unnecessary, so I’ll try to explain. For one thing, my right ear uses a hearing aid and ever since I was activated, the hearing aid doesn’t seem to help…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 12: One-Year Anniversary

I hit the one-year mark on the left side feeling very positive and grateful for what I have accomplished. I’m continuing to perform well and have started to take for granted my hearing abilities to the point that I need to stop and remember how things used to be. I know that with my implant just on the left side I have gained so much.

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 11: Adjusting

No Sugarcoating it — Adjusting Is Hard After reading my previous chapter, you might wonder if I ever started to hear speech or anything other than buzzy weird sounds. The answer is yes! And quickly — I’m happy to report…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 10: To Hell and Back

Where will I go with this map? My first trip was to hell and back. Until I became a cochlear implant user, the term “mapping” was a pretty mysterious word. I understood that it basically meant that the implant was programmed and fine-tuned but I didn’t…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 9: Activation

A Big Change Twenty-two days after surgery, my cochlear implant was activated. I will be honest: I had some very mixed feelings on activation day. It was all so new to me that I needed time to process from a hearing standpoint and an emotional one…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 8: The Bubble

Not My Imagination Nearly three weeks post-op I had a medical scare that was quickly resolved. The process of healing was going well, and I thought I was pretty prepared for what to expect along the way. Still, I’ve come to realize that with cochlear implants there is much you can’t predict. People’s…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 7: Convalescence

Thankful Homecoming I made it home from surgery safe and happy. I suffered no adverse effects, had no dizziness, and walked fine. My taste remained normal — no metal taste — and there was no facial numbness, tingling, or facial paralysis. I can smile! As per the plan, I spent a week on the couch…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 6: Surgery Day

PB&J On Standby The Friday before surgery, I received my pre-op instructions and my scheduled time of arrival. I was to stop eating and drinking at midnight the night before and was instructed to shower with antibacterial soap the night before and the morning of surgery…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 5: Preparedness and Hope

The date fast approaches. With my surgical date just around the corner, I’m reminded of the need for not only physical preparedness but mental preparedness as well. I went for my second vaccine. As you probably remember, I received the first one eight weeks before. The crazy thing about…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 4: Choosing the Brand

I started the process of choosing a brand and model of cochlear implant, and I got a bit of a shock — the patient does most of the research on their own. I’ve been trained in implants, how they work, and what’s available on the market, but not about how patients are counseled to decide

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 3: Vaccinations

Vaccinations To protect me from meningitis and other serious infections that can result from cochlear implant surgery, I’m getting two vaccinations. The vaccines occur about eight weeks apart. Their names are Prevnar 13® and Pneumovax®. I got my first vaccine yesterday at RiteAid. It wasn’t difficult…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part 2: Surgical Consultation

Surgical Consultation The first step to determining if I can get a cochlear implant was to make an appointment at one of the centers in Pittsburgh with a neuro-otologist and cochlear implant surgeon. My insurance required that I go to Eye and Ear Institute…

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My Cochlear Implant Journey, Part I: Join Me

Join Me on My Journey When I first meet a patient, I tell them I’m very hard of hearing. In fact, it’s part of my welcome speech introducing them to HearWell Center. I explain that I need to lip-read to understand speech, that I might ask them to repeat themselves occasionally, and that I…

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