Thursday, July 31, 2014

An Amazing Thing Happened on the Way to My Eighth Draft



Without my electronic hearing devices I am almost as deaf as these marble busts.

When you are a writer and something extraordinary happens to you, you sometimes put your work on hold to capture the experience in writing.  I had such an episode last spring.

What you don't know about me is that I have struggled with hearing loss for most of my life.  Recent accelerated deterioration of my good ear had pushed me to consult a new specialist.  But rather than fixing what was wrong with my good ear, the doctor prescribed surgery for a cochlear implant in my bad ear.  I was skeptical, unable to imagine how a cochlear implant would be any different than struggling with hearing aids that simply amplify what's left of bad hearing, including poor discrimination and missing frequencies.  It felt as if I were taking the next step into the world of total deafness; another futile expenditure of time and money for nothing that would make any difference.  I left the doctor's office and sat in my car and cried.

But then I met the people in the support group who'd had the cochlear implant surgery, and their hearing was better than mine.  I began to understand that an implant works differently than a hearing aid since it bypasses the dysfunction of the middle ear to work directly with the brain.  I imagined the possibility of improved hearing for myself.  And so I had the operation.

The experience of having my new ear "turned on" was something I had to capture in writing and share; people who suffer from hearing loss do not know about the recent drastic improvements in technology.  I'd had no idea!  So my novel-in-progress went on the back burner while I documented the entire experience in a blog: from the story of my childhood ear infections and gradual but profound loss of hearing, through surgery and recovery, to the amazing experience of listening to the jingle of a broken lightbulb held next to my new 'ear'.

Now I am back at work on my novel.

Click to visit:  A Cochlear Implant Diary: Memoirs of a Bad Ear
   

Cindy Jones is the author of My Jane Austen Summer as well as work-in-progress about look-alike friends who trade places while under dangerous influence of Romantic Poets.  Follow:    


16 comments:

  1. Cindy, I had no idea! Wow... just wow. Congrats to you for taking such a brave step, and for sharing such an insightful experience with the take-it-for-granted hearing lot of us! I wish you many happy years and wonderful new experiences with your CI!

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    1. Thank you, Laura. Life is so much easier now.

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  2. So happy you took the chance on the CI, Cindy. Thanks for sharing your story and best of luck to you...with writing, hearing, and everything else!

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  3. Glad that CI is working out, Cindy. And I love the pic with this post. Priceless.

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  4. So inspiring, Cindy - I'm so happy for you! Glad you had the fortitude and hope to try once more...

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  5. Cindy, thank you for sharing this! I'm so happy to hear the CI has worked for you. And I'm happy to hear you're back to work on the next novel. :)

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    1. Thank you, Jess. It was good to have a break from the novel, too.

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  6. What a great blog entry. Documenting it through a blog is brilliant. I'm sure the experience informs your fiction too, at some level. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Ellyn. Being hearing impaired forces me use my other resources to gather impressions and observations. Although, the microphone in my CI is positioned toward the back of my head and came in handy while eavesdropping on a conversation the other day.

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  7. I know two kids who had it (twins) years back and the effect on their lives has been enormous.

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    1. Amazing, isn't it? I wish my grandmother had lived long enough to experience a CI.

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  8. This blog post was anything but a bust! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and courage. Sometimes we have to interrupt our writing for life, but the reward is a memorable story nonetheless. So happy for your happy ending!

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  9. Amazing! I had surgery through my Eustachian Tube in my right ear in 2010; getting rid of a tumor on my auditory nerve. It wiped out my hearing, too. I wonder if a CI could help me, too? It's very strange not being able to echo-locate...

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