Every day I wear the same necklace. It’s a reminder of the most important day of my life: my last deaf day.
My cochlea don’t work very well…at all. Given the gift of a cochlear implant, I can hear. To celebrate, Andreas found a 3D model of a cochlea. He cleaned it up and converted it to a printable file. Andreas can only print in plastic of various kinds. He found a company that prints in metal, and he had two cochlea pendants made for me. Both are printed in non-conductive brass, and then plated in 14k rose gold, 14k gold, 18k gold, or rhodium.
My Rhodium cochlea is my everyday cochlea. It’s so reflective it’s virtually mirror-like. It has the natural reflection silver dreams of. My 18k gold plated cochlea is my fancy occasion one. I wore it to the Courage Gala.
We’ve had so many people ask about – or where they can get – a cochlea necklace, that we put up an online store!
After a whirlwind week in Nashville with #cochlearfamily, we’re back in Edmonton. It was 12C and raining when we left Nashville. Hours later we touched down to -27C with a windchill of -35C and an extreme cold weather warning. We both smiled and said, “Home, home” when we stepped outside.
Cliche alert! In spite of the contrast in weather, we were warmed by the memories of Nashville and Cochlear Celebration. Yes, that cliche. But it’s true. We had a fantastic week sharing our story. And it is OUR story. We are hearing impaired, and WE have a cochlear implant.
One of my favourite parts of our story is Andreas’ side. Rather than re-hashing what’s already been written, you can read Andreas’ blog for Cochlear here. He can be loquacious in conversation, but on paper he cuts to the chase.
We’re in Nashville to for Cochlear Celebration 2019. Cochlear is my implant and processor maker. Every two years it invites its implantees to gather and learn about their new hearing.
The sessions cover a dizzying range of topics. We’re taking part in two sessions. The first is “Making a Difference: Changing how the world sees hearing loss.” We’ll talk about our experience of being “noisy deaf” and talking publicly about hearing loss, but especially hearing health. The second session is “when hearing loss hits home,” about how we coped before and after my Cochlear implant.
We’ve had a busy, busy year with barely a break, so we decided to come to Nashville a few days early, and just enjoy some quiet time and each other. Even then our schedule was pretty full. Yesterday we did a webinar with the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (an archive of it will be posted soon).
In the last year – probably in my life – I’ve met six people with a cochlear implant. There are only a few hundred of us in the Edmonton area. Tomorrow we’ll be speaking in front of hundreds of “my people.” It’s not clubby. It’s not exclusive. It’s special. You have to go through what Andreas calls the “War of Silence” to receive a CI. Hearing loss is an experience. These, my people, have shared it.
We’re getting together with family, and I’m so excited to meet them.