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.
Every day I find opportunities to talk with people about hearing and sound. It might seem obsessive. I like to think of it as “attentive.”
For example, I wanted to get Andreas a little something extravagant for his birthday. Long story short: 3D printing lead to airbrushing, and I was picking up a very nice new Iawata Eclipse whatsit. Andreas got all geeky about it, so it’s a win. Happy Birthday Schatz!
While at Maple Airbrush Supplies, I asked about how loud the airbrush compressors are in case we ever came in for a class. The owner took us out back and fired up the gear. It wasn’t bad at all! So, naturally I started talking about why I was interested in the volume and I gave her a cochlea and as we left she thanked us for sharing our story. People can be so kind.
The reason I wanted my hearing is to be connected to the people I love, and I love my new hearing. In every way, it’s is a love story about hearing. We’re telling the story of healing through the lens of our relationship.
Now we’ve been given the opportunity to speak with a larger audience online. The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association is hosting a webinar called “A Love Story About Hearing,” featuring Andreas and me. The Q&A portion promises to be interesting. So far all our interviews have been with hearing people. We’ve attended a few small events with CI recipients, but the CHHA audience covers a wide spectrum of hearing health. We’re really looking forward to it.