Hearing Again

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Today, I’m going to share with you something personal and ask for your prayers. For almost 20 years now I have been fighting progressive hearing loss. It began in high school, and all through college and graduate school I struggled with being able to hear what people were saying. Noisy environments like conferences, restaurants, and vehicles were the worst. I learned to read lips and observe body language. I learned to sit close to the speaker and be sure I was facing people when they spoke to me. It was far from perfect, but I coped. Being outside was almost eerie at times; I couldn’t hear crickets chirp or birds sing. The world was amazingly silent.

As I entered my teaching career, it became obvious that what I had been doing was no longer sufficient. I couldn’t hear my students when they asked questions in class—and forget trying to hear colleagues in the many noisy college settings. I received hearing aids in the fall of my second year of teaching, and I could finally hear a lot of what I had been missing. I remember driving home and hearing a strange clicking sound. My husband told me it was my turn signal. That was the first time I had ever heard it! For several years it seemed like the problem had been solved, but then my hearing began to deteriorate more rapidly.  While hearing aids helped, I felt frustrated that once again my world was becoming silent.

I considered a cochlear implant, but strangely enough my low frequency hearing was too good, so I didn’t qualify. The problem is that most sounds like speech and music are in the high frequency range where I couldn’t hear. About a year ago, my audiologist heard about a study being conducted by the University of Cincinnati for a new type of cochlear implant called a hybrid. It is a combination of a hearing aid and a cochlear implant for people with good low frequency hearing but bad high frequency hearing. This seemed like a perfect solution for my type of hearing loss. She recommended me for the study, and after several tests I was considered a candidate for the experimental implant. As a scientist it was strange to be in the position of test subject rather than the person performing the tests!

The number of doors that God opened and the prayers that God answered to make it possible for me to receive the implant are too numerous to mention. In exactly six days I will be the first recipient at UC to receive the hybrid. In mid-April the implant will be activated, and Lord willing, I will start the process of hearing again. I covet your prayers for the surgeon’s hands to be guided, the healing process to be quick, and the restoration of hearing.

The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made both of them. (Proverbs 20:12)

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