The Roaring 20s and the New Year brings about new meaning as I experience this holiday season with an “newbie” cochlear implant. I am not going to lie; it has been a ROARING challenge to hear through the Christmas and New Year Holiday. It has been exactly one month since activation day. I have made tangible, real progress from hearing beeps and chirps to hearing and discriminating more speech.
For many, the holiday season is filled with multiple gatherings with multiple people and multiple challenging listening environments. It is a time of the year where I look forward to catching up with my family and friends. This also requires a lot of complex listening situations. Being a “newbie” cochlear implant user, I thought to myself several things… what a great way to immerse in my foreign language #hearingspanglish, baptism by fire, a test of courage, taking up the challenge or even rising to the occasion.
What did I find? After pretending that my newbie CI and listening brain was mature, I was brought back to reality that my newbie CI was less than one month old. Who learns a new, foreign language in one month? I presume not too many people. After multiple days of jam packed complex conversations with lots of people talking, background noise, and long days; I emotionally hit a breaking point. I found that my emotions came to a ROAR after trying to push myself to the limit. I broke down in tears and ROARED to my loved ones that I cannot do this. This is HARD!
I share this ROAR because I want others to understand that this CI journey is equally an emotional journey as it is a hearing journey. In life we all fall down at times and hopefully we all find the courage and strength to get back up. Theodore Roosevelt once quoted “Nothing worth having comes easy”. As an audiologist going into this CI journey, I knew and know that learning to listen with a CI is a process and takes a lot of practice and therapy. As a patient, I was counseled that it will take time to develop auditory skills and to #hearspanglish! However, I was not fully prepared for the emotional journey until it happened to me and was experiencing the CI journey personally.
After this “fight and flight” ROARING experience of breaking down into tears, I later calmed down and reflected. I was reminded of a book I had read called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. In this book Dweck quotes “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment”. I needed to be reminded of this growth mindset. I reminded myself that less than 1 month ago, my CI sounded like chirps and beeps and now I can understand people better, appreciate music more, hear the squeak when cleaning a mirror, hear the S and SH sound, hear pages turning in a book, hear water filling up in a water bottle….pretty amazing! I was also reminded that I am human and it is OK to experience a variety of emotions through this process. With my supportive family and friends and resilience and grit, I am excited to make my New yEARs Resolution: Growth Mindset for the #hearingspanglish CI Journey in 2020!
Happy New Year to all of you!! I wish all of my family and friends many blessings and the courage and faith to overcome any hurdles you may face. Happy Roaring 2020!!
Stay Tuned for 3rd CI Mapping Discoveries Blog!