JULY 28 #HearStrong day! It is amazing when things happen at just the right time. Two days before my scheduled CI consultation appointment at Ohio State, I found out that I was nominated and selected to be a #HearStrong champion. Check it out at https://www.hearstrong.org/champion/carrie-spangler/. HearStrong is a nonprofit organization that empowers people with hearing loss to inspire change and break down the barriers that prevent others from seeking the care they need. For me, this was God’s answer to my prayer reminding me that I am empowered in this journey.
JULY 30: The night before my appointment left me restless and my mind racing. I was in and out of sleep. I woke up 3 hours earlier than I needed to. I changed my clothes 3 different times. I double and triple checked my questions for the appointment. Starbuck’s Pike Roast was certainly going to be in the mix on the 2-hour road trip to Columbus!
Troy (my husband and greatest supporter) took the day off of work to support me at the appointment. Troy knows how passionate I am about helping others who have hearing loss and knows that I LOVE being an audiologist, but he has never actually seen audiology in action! Also had critical advice from my AuD w/ HL peeps that it is imperative to have the one that has to put up with you at this very important appointment.
Going into this appointment I was still CONVINCED that I was just going to see if I was a potential candidate. Honestly, I believed I was not even going to qualify. As I waited in the waiting room, I couldn’t help but to think why are we even here?
My name was called and Troy and I headed back to the familiar audiology soundbooth. A doctoral student in audiology started asking me basic case history questions. I could tell Troy was looking between the both of us and wondering when I was going to disclose that I was an audiologist and work frequently with kiddos who have cochlear implants. A few minutes later, Debby LaPreste, Au.D. came into the room. At this time, I shared that I also was an audiologist. The ice was broken and shared openly how I got to this point.
Testing began and Troy stayed in booth with me. At many points during the testing, Troy had to look in a different direction because he could hear the mid and high frequency sounds escaping the insert earphones (extremely loud to a normal hearing listener) and I was not pushing the button. After the testing he commented on wanting to help me hear so many different times by giving me a signal to push the button (he didn’t!).
After an exhausting few hours of pure tone testing, speech testing, hearing aid adjustments, and aided speech discrimination the testing validated why I perceived myself having more trouble. The proof was on paper and I could clearly see that my hearing and speech discrimination scores had decreased over the past few years. I knew right away that Dr. LaPreste was going to say audiologically you are a candidate for a cochlear implant. That is exactly what she did.
Circling back into my mind was the mission of #HearStrong. I was reminded about the importance of being a champion in my own life as well as a champion for others. Today I needed the HS mission for myself to empower ME a person with hearing loss to inspire change and break down the barriers that prevent ME from seeking the care that I need.
All of us are CHAMPIONS in life. Sometimes we need to take care of ourselves and champion our own life and other times we need to be a champion for someone else. I hope this post empowers you to be the champion that you need to be today!
Next week: Appointment Day Part 2: ENT