On Growing a Self-Assured Man with Naida CI-Q90 : Harsh Bengani

  • Perfection is an illusion. Those who seek it, will find themselves unfulfilled
    their whole lives.”
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    I’ve finally understood how important it is to accept oneself. I should have
    realized this much earlier…probably when I was 8 or 9. My impairment isn’t my
    fault. It’s like the scar Harry Potter carried on his forehead…symbolic of what
    distinguished him from the rest of the world. (Yeah, I enjoy using such
    metaphors.)
    I regret wasting the initial seventeen years of my life, hiding in my room. I
    hated going out, or having guests over. I dreaded making conversations with
    people, because I was afraid of being judged. Television was just colorful
    moving pictures in a black box, to me. So the atelophobic, anti-social guy in me
    only found companions in my books. Now that I revisit that phase in my head, I
    realize how I should have utilized that time doing all the things I could have
    done, instead of hiding.
    People believe that if an impaired person wears a hearing aid, he/she can hear as
    nicely as any regular person with a normal sense of hearing. Well, myth! My
    confidence stooped lower when the hearing aids didn’t improve my situation
    either. A lot of hearing aids made various promises, but didn’t really live up to
    them. Although my ear started receiving some sound, it was mostly din. I
    hopped from one machine to another, but my hearing ability stayed pretty much
    the same.
    The last hearing aid I invested my trust upon was worth Rs. 2L. Again, sheer
    disappointment! Along with its failure, I lost the last little ounce of confidence I
    had 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 a
    single word for days at a stretch.
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  • 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, all
    giving tips on how to accept and deal with the impairment. People often wrote
    about Cochlear Implants being much more efficacious than old-school hearing
    aids. Well, I had tried so many machines already. What harm could another
    experiment do, right?
    After browsing through a myriad of devices, I picked an implant manufactured
    by Advanced Bionics, not just because it is one of the leading manufacturers of
    cochlear implants, but also because the sound processor ‘Naida CI-Q90 held
    much advanced features in it, not available in devices made by other
    manufacturers.
    Initially, I was reluctant to try another hearing aid, and wanted to get implants in
    both my ears. But my audiologist eventually persuaded me that Naida Link isn’t
    one of those old-school hearing aids which would amplify the sound like my
    former machines did. I’m glad I finally agreed. My Naida CI-Q90 streams with
    the Naida Link to render out all the bilateral benefits, which a Naida CI
    processor has. These two earnestly are “made for each other.”
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    Now as a person who has never known what hearing without machines feels
    like, 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 every
    word 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 radio
    communication, Roger deciphers to ‘your message has been received’. It looks
    like a pen, and hence, can be carried to places conveniently. It is wirelessly
    connected to an integrated receiver, which gets fixed in the battery. The pen is
    designed with discreetly placed microphones, meant to capture the distant
    sounds, and transmit them to the receiver. It is especially convenient for
    students, who can hand over the pen to their teachers, and can listen to the
    lectures even if they are sitting at the last bench. Other than that, it offers the
    wearer a plethora of features and options to control his/her hearing. I’m yet in
    the process of exploration.
    Did I tell you about the new hobby I’ve taken up? I sing! It helps me polish my
    speech, 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*

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