Date: February 11, 2015
How did I bring myself to say “yes” to the cochlear implant?
I may have gave the audiologist the ok, but was I 100% ready for it?
I may be physically ready, but am I ready mentally?
After my research and giving the ‘ok’ about getting cochlear implant, I reflected back at the silent signs that gradually bought me to wholeheartedly accept getting a cochlear implant. I thought about the silent battle that everyone goes through: the need to find balance in life.
And this is really important.
Mental health is just as important as physical health.
Since 2012, as a hearing-impaired person studying at uni, means I have to go out and seek help. While there are wonderful people and organisations to help, it’s more stressful for people with limitations/ disabilities to successfully settle in and study at uni. The most stressful and annoying experiences I have at uni, is the fact that I have to hand in my letter of support (which outlines all my required adjustments), to all my lecturers and tutors. That means, I have to come earlier before class, go up to them, introduce myself and hand them the letter (during first class) and the FM system that would help me hear better. Then I would have to sit at the front and try to “listen” as hard as I can, while trying to write notes. Then I would have I wait behind to collect the FM from the lecturer/ tutor after every class.
After a full day of lectures and hours of transportation, I am exhausted when I get home; let alone the daunting assignments and heavy reading waiting for me to do.
But do I stop there?
I also started volunteering in the community and started attending religious classes and lectures, mostly run by The Guide Institute. I also took a few causal jobs, mostly tutoring kids.
And I loved it all. I love helping others. I enjoyed being out and about. I didn't let my hearing loss stop me from doing anything. But I never knew how stressful it is.
It was during that time I also started researching about the cochlear implant and getting many testing and X-rays done.
I started to get the shakes a lot and would find myself anxious all the time. I was trying to juggle so much, while my very foundation was weak.
One day last year, I came to a uni lecture late and sat at the back, which was very unusual for me. I was not paying attention to the class at all and I remember my hands started to shake a bit. Desperate, I emailed my audiologist and asked her if it’s normal for hearing loss to cause stress and anxiety. Within a short time, she replied and explained that it’s possible because my body has to work harder to compensate for my hearing loss. Your eyes, ears and body muscles work together to make sense of the world around them. Due to my hearing limitation, my eyes and body have to work harder to try and understand or “hear” what’s going on.
So it means I get tired all the time.
My stress levels was already above everyone else’s.
Adding major stressors such full-time work load, family issues, work and volunteering has become too much for me. I got to a point where I felt like I couldn’t cope anymore. She referred me to a counsellor who specialises with hearing loss, and she really helped.
That day last year, I came to a conclusion: only I can manage my stress.
And to do so, I need to look after myself.
I realised, if it will make my life much, much more easier, what’s really stopping me from getting the cochlear implant?!
Before I can try and build my life, I need to make sure that my body and my health are strong enough. Most importantly, my mental health.
That was the day I said yes to getting a cochlear implant, with all my heart.