Monday, August 18, 2008

A little background..

Since most , if not all , fellow CI users I happen to know are abroad , I decided to start this blog in English to share all my adventures with my almost three month old CI.( God, I sound like I have a baby...LOL )

I was born almost deaf , in Greece , and from the start my mother noticed that I didn't seem to be hearing anything..Everyone in my family thought that my mother was just overprotective and overreacting..And all the doctors said it probably was fluid in my ears..All these back at 1983 , although in Greece there was not even a chapter for the Deaf anywhere in the country!
So , my parents ( although my mother always had her suspicions ) were rudely awakened when our local ENT doctor said that even if I was an 8month baby at the time , I wasn't responding , and even the babbling I had started seemed to decrease ..

From my mother's descriptions , I was an happy baby ,all the time smiling and always curious..And always wanting to follow my older brother..I wasn't hearing , but I was clever and quick to get the lead from my brother..

After an consultation , my parents arranged an trip in NY,USA , to do all the exams that they thought...My parents wanted the best for me , and they decided to combine it with their first experience of an abroad trip!

They had a good time , and since they did not knew English ( still don't , only a few words here and there , although both my brother and I are exceptional English speakers ) had a few relatives help them , and the hospital had an doctor who happened to be Greek , although his field wasn't at the Audiology or ENT department..

After a lot of exams ,the result was that I had moderate to severe loss and my parents , fitted me with Unitron bodyworn aids ,and new earmolds..My mother tried to have an book and translating it , to do AVT to me when we returned to Greece.

Back at Greece , especially at my hometown , there was no speech therapist/pathologist or AVT my mother did the job herself..After a few months a speech therapist moved to my hometown and since then she'd been helping me..I got very early on the lip reading tool under my belt , everyone said that I did it on my own..I never had thought the term lip reading or speech reading..This said , Greek is pretty easy to lipread..

I changed a lot of my aids , and my hearing loss was getting worse..soon my right ear was on the profound scale as soon as I got 10 or 11 , and since then I was deaf in one ear , and wearing HA at the left ear. Since then I was mainstreamed to school , never learnt Greek Sign Language , and always having private tutors at home along with my speech therapist. Went through preschool , elementary ( halfway of elementary school my left ear got to the severe range ) , junior high and high school..while I was at the high school , I acquired an Widex Senso P38 with wider tubes through the earmold , which helped me tremendously..

I had this aid almost 8 years , and in college , when my hearing started declining again! At first , ( almost two and a half years ago ) I just couldn't hear every word , and speech reading became so much harder..but it had some perks for my friends, because , as they say , they learned to rephrase everything with a lot simpler or different words and made them work on their vocabulary..Also I felt like I was losing some part of my identity..Since junior high I had mastered speaking to the phone with few close relatives ( especially my mum and a couple of aunties, and few close friends ) and suddenly I discovered that I wasn't able anymore to understand parts of the conversation , frustrating everyone in both ends..

My mother , always the technophobic , had to learn to use the PC also for her office and also for me and her to chat through MSN..she's learned the last one relentlessly as we needed that to communicate , since I had moved away after my graduation from high school..Think an over 400 km distance!

So with all these happening , every one in my life tried to adapt , and I was getting more and more depressed, not to mention to turn everyone's nerves haywire by the incessant feedbacks..This year alone , I had more earmold fittings than I ever had..but after a month each single earmold was rendered useless.

After learning about CI's , through an recently implanted friend , I became obsessed almost in research..I started all the tests and everything , and after a long wait ( in Greece , you wait forever for anything...) I got the approval from the hospital!! I submitted my papers for the insurance company , a day after my birthday..I got approved from the insurance a few weeks before Easter hols , and since then I settled the surgery date..

May 22nd , the day that changed my life! Although I still miss my trusty HA , it was time to part our ways!

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