“Perfection is an illusion. Those who seek it, will find themselves unfulfilledtheir whole lives.”I’ve finally understood how important it is to accept oneself. I should haverealized this much earlier…probably when I was 8 or 9. My impairment isn’t myfault. It’s like the scar Harry Potter carried on his forehead…symbolic of whatdistinguished him from the rest of the world. (Yeah, I enjoy using suchmetaphors.)I regret wasting the initial seventeen years of my life, hiding in my room. Ihated going out, or having guests over. I dreaded making conversations withpeople, because I was afraid of being judged. Television was just colorfulmoving pictures in a black box, to me. So the atelophobic, anti-social guy in meonly found companions in my books. Now that I revisit that phase in my head, Irealize how I should have utilized that time doing all the things I could havedone, instead of hiding.People believe that if an impaired person wears a hearing aid, he/she can hear asnicely as any regular person with a normal sense of hearing. Well, myth! Myconfidence stooped lower when the hearing aids didn’t improve my situationeither. A lot of hearing aids made various promises, but didn’t really live up tothem. Although my ear started receiving some sound, it was mostly din. Ihopped from one machine to another, but my hearing ability stayed pretty muchthe same.The last hearing aid I invested my trust upon was worth Rs. 2L. Again, sheerdisappointment! Along with its failure, I lost the last little ounce of confidence Ihad in myself and moved to the self-loathing phase, topped with a lot of self-pity. I couldn’t hear a thing in the classroom and sometimes, wouldn’t speak asingle word for days at a stretch.
I was so naive, that I googled home remedies to cure deafness. Don’t judge me, I was hardy 15. I followed online forums and about twenty Facebook pages, allgiving tips on how to accept and deal with the impairment. People often wroteabout Cochlear Implants being much more efficacious than old-school hearingaids. Well, I had tried so many machines already. What harm could anotherexperiment do, right?After browsing through a myriad of devices, I picked an implant manufacturedby Advanced Bionics, not just because it is one of the leading manufacturers ofcochlear implants, but also because the sound processor ‘Naida CI-Q90’ heldmuch advanced features in it, not available in devices made by othermanufacturers.Initially, I was reluctant to try another hearing aid, and wanted to get implants inboth my ears. But my audiologist eventually persuaded me that Naida Link isn’tone of those old-school hearing aids which would amplify the sound like myformer machines did. I’m glad I finally agreed. My Naida CI-Q90 streams withthe Naida Link to render out all the bilateral benefits, which a Naida CIprocessor has. These two earnestly are “made for each other.”Now as a person who has never known what hearing without machines feelslike, I can only tell you that this is the best kind of sound I have ever perceived.It’s not unpleasantly noisy. It doesn’t feel heavy on my ear. I understand everyword being spoken, and my speech too has become a little more understandable.I enjoy listening from both my ears, and I owe it all to Advanced Bionics.Recently, I got another cool new hearing device, Roger. In radiocommunication, Roger deciphers to ‘your message has been received’. It lookslike a pen, and hence, can be carried to places conveniently. It is wirelesslyconnected to an integrated receiver, which gets fixed in the battery. The pen isdesigned with discreetly placed microphones, meant to capture the distantsounds, and transmit them to the receiver. It is especially convenient forstudents, who can hand over the pen to their teachers, and can listen to thelectures even if they are sitting at the last bench. Other than that, it offers thewearer a plethora of features and options to control his/her hearing. I’m yet inthe process of exploration.Did I tell you about the new hobby I’ve taken up? I sing! It helps me polish myspeech, and I don’t mean to sound like a snob, but people say I’m pretty good.
Someday, I aspire to speak as a normal person like you, who has been exposed to a language since birth.
A few years back, I wouldn’t have imagined this. I was a big time pessimist. But now, a few years down the line, I definitely see it happening. *all smiles*