I want to share my (#lisemarieshearingjourney) with you.
This is my story:
At the age of 15 my hearing started declining gradually. We dismissed it initially but we started taking it seriously when I didn’t respond when my mother or father called me. My brother and sister didn’t, they saw it as an opportunity to tease me!
My father took me to an ENT specialist who diagnosed me with a rare disease, called Otoschlerosis. Basically, it means the little bone structure in the cochlea can not move to pick up the vibrations in the ear and the sounds are not reaching my brain via the the hearing nerve. I only had 40% of my hearing left.
I had my first surgery at age 16 called a Stapedotomy, where the stapes is removed and a small prosthesis is implanted to take over this function of the stapes. The surgery was successful and my hearing in the right ear was restored to approximately 80% which was a great relief and made me hopeful to be able to participate in music performances again.
My second surgery was done when I was 19 which was on the left ear which was also successful and the effects lasted about 5 years, where I was only limited in noisy environments.
Then at age 26 I noticed again that I am struggling to hear and re-visited my audiologist. After testing, he informed me that my hearing is much worse and suggested I should get hearing aids.
Admittedly, the news devastated me as I knew that this will mean a life time of managing my hearing loss and the uncertainty of the prospect of going complete deaf was scary.
As an outlet to deal with my hearing loss, I founded Happy Ears . A campaign to create awareness for people like me who suffer from hearing loss and struggle to function in a social or corporate environment.
At 29 I received hearing aids, which was a great help and improved the quality of my communication at work and with friends.
A few months ago, I noticed once again that I am not responding as well with my hearing aids and had another hearing test done, to check out my hearing status. Once again, I was informed that my hearing has deteriorated and I am left with approximately 30% combined hearing with only 5% left in my left ear. All due to the otosclerosis and nerve damage. The hearing aids are no longer a solution.
I also fall in the only 10% of all hearing loss patients in the world with otosclerosis advancing to this stage.
My audiologist suggested an immediate cochlear implant to be able to conserve the hearing nerve in the left ear.
After much research and consideration, I know this is the best and only next step to preserve my hearing.
My insurance doesn’t cover the full procedure and that’s where I please need your help.
I am due for surgery in a few months, and I please need your support to acquire funds to be able to afford the cochlear implant. This surgery will change my life thanks to advances in technology which wasn’t available when I was first diagnosed.
My slogan for Happy Ears is: “Hearing the sounds of life, is like hearing God’s music” It basically means that people with normal hearing ranges can hear the wind, the oceans, birds singing and the sounds of life. These are sounds I have not been able to hear for years.