From Ear to Eternity: a cochlear implant diary

Sharing my cochlear implant journey and other musings


About me and this blog

I was a child with good hearing. But as a young student nurse, I was missing things in lectures. It emerged that it wasn’t (just?!) that I was inattentive but that I couldn’t always hear. By my late twenties I was wearing two hearing aids and over the next couple of decades my hearing has continued to head south on the audiogram, but why I have bilateral sensorineural hearing loss remains a mystery.

In November 2020, the latest audiogram confirmed that my hearing loss was now severe, and it was suggested that I might be a candidate for a cochlear implant, something I had not ever thought might be a possibility for me. Following assessments, in March 2021 I was declared eligible for an implant and added to the waiting list.

I’ve started this blog to share my journey to cochlear implant surgery and beyond. In my working life, I write for, and edit, the blog Evidently Cochrane, which aims to make Cochrane evidence and other health research easy to find and understand, so that people can use it to inform their health decisions. Many of those blogs also include professional and personal reflections, because health decisions, ideally, take into account not only the best available evidence and the expert advice of health professionals but also personal preferences and what matters to the individual. Often, there is a gap where we’d hope to find reliable evidence to guide our decisions, and I suspect there won’t be much research yet (and not with long-term follow-up) on people like me having cochlear implants.*

Whether or not there is research to guide us, as humans what we often crave are stories – to tell ours and to hear others. So I want to record my experiences and reflections as I embark on this new and unexpected journey, with the aim of making sense of it myself and hopefully helping others who find themselves here, perhaps also waiting for a cochlear implant or getting used to one, or supporting people who are on that path. I would love to hear from people about their own experiences, and from professionals with wisdom to share.

I might also share some snippets of what it’s like to live with hearing loss, and other musings.

*A new randomised trial, the COACH Trial, is being set up in 2021 to investigate how cochlear implants compare with hearing aids for people who hear slightly more than the current level of hearing at with they may be offered a cochlear implant in the UK. As of June 2021, I am a Patient Ambassador for this trial. No doubt I will be blogging about it here.

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