Coping with Silence

It has been a while since I last updated this blog – simply because I don’t have anything new to talk about really, life has pretty much returned to normality since the implant for which I am truly grateful.

As you may already know I am currently volunteering with the fabulous charity Hearing Link UK and I was recently approached about being in contact with a lady whose mother has just had the CI operation, of course I agreed without hesitation.

The woman asked me about what I did for those weeks in between the operation and being activated and how I coped with the additional reduced hearing (you cannot wear a hearing aid in the implanted ear after the operation so there is no sound whatsoever in that ear) and I realised that I never really covered this in my earlier posts so I decided to about it today.

The weeks (approximately 4-6 dependant on personal recovery) are quite solitary – you experience even less hearing than you had going into the operation so this severely limits your communication skills and is also quite scary! I personally found keeping myself busy and active was the best solution for me, not dwelling on the fact that I couldn’t really participate in anything.

My lovely friends and partner bought me lots of books, magazines and Friends DVDs to keep me occupied at home which were a godsend as I was not allowed out of the house for the first two weeks due to risk of infection – nor would I have wanted to go out due to the ban on washing my hair!!

After the two weeks were over, I occupied myself with things that I COULD do independently such as baking and swimming. I found both of these to be relaxing activities and something that I didn’t need to focus on or think about to enjoy.

If you have a hobby such as knitting, baking, crafts etc I really recommend you use this time to focus on them, thinking about and focusing on the things you cannot currently do will just make you feel worse about the situation.

I also would advise against reading too much about the activation/rehab/benefits of Cochlear Implants whilst in the recovery phase. This is because too many people ready about and rely on the positive effects of the implant and assume everything will be perfect once the implant is switched on – this isn’t necessarily the case. Everyone reacts in a completely different way and so reading too many stories whether positive or negative may impact on your feelings and focus when you are eventually switched on. It is best to try to keep your expectations realistic.

Above all, I would say focus on looking after yourself. The longer it takes to recover, the longer you will be waiting to be switched on.

Stay positive and enjoy everyone waiting on you hand and foot whilst you still can!

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