Hello!! My name is Emmy and I am 20 years old. I was born profoundly deaf and was implanted in my right ear with a cochlear implant at the age of 13 months. When I was 17 years old I started using the CROS and started hearing out of two ears, a previously foreign concept!
Growing up I hardly noticed my cochlear implant as something that made me different. I didn't notice because I've never known the alternative of functional ears. It wasn't until middle school that I realized how my implant made me different, and it wasn't until high school that I figured out what I needed to do for myself to embrace it. I found that I needed to determine for myself what I wanted. So I spent a couple years researching what would have been my alternative life without an implant - the Deaf Culture. A culture I was extremely interested in and had no knowledge on.
In this phase I found that I needed to come to my own conclusion on my identity as a deaf individual, and it was during this time that I found my balance. I had finally discovered how to function as a deaf person in the hearing world. And for me that meant realizing I'd never belong in either of these worlds. But instead I belong in the world where the other two collide; my little world, or the cochlear implant world. A place where with my implant I can fully interact with the hearing world, but is also the same place where I can choose to take my implant off when and as needed. It's a place that is built by myself to accommodate and support me in any moment whether it's ears on or ears off. It wasn't until I discovered this that I truly embraced my journey. There was never a time a resented being deaf, but there was a time I lived alongside my deafness instead of with it, and there's a big difference between the two!
A part of my hearing journey has always included being involved in our community whether that be with my implant company, our Hands & Voices chapter, AG Bell conventions, talking to college classes, sharing my story, meeting with other families, etc. This has always been a part of my journey and it's been my anchor through it all. But it's all these experiences that have led me to this website. I want a place that anyone can go to, whether they are considering an implant or have been implanted for years, and have a place of support with a way to connect with one another while also providing you with my experiences in hopes that you can learn from me and potentially gain insight on life with a hearing loss.
I am a firm believer in the fact that if one if implanted, that once they are our community shouldn't be divided up by what company was chosen. Once implanted, regardless of the company chosen, you are on a greater path that requires the patience and support of others who truly understand. Because in the end it's not about the companies, it's about you and your success and potential to thrive. And if more or less support is what you need to obtain that success, nothing should be standing in your way, nothing. Once that decision is made, the path is the same for everyone. The experiences and the struggles, the celebrations and the victories. In the end we are one big community and to one another we are the only ones that can provide the richest support.
All that being said, I am hoping that this may become a place of support to everyone in need regardless of the devices used or the company chosen. I want for this to be a place that provides comfort, support, and hope. Hope that you're not alone; hope for your success; your strength; ability to find your voice, and hope that your future isn't determined by your past. No matter where you are at in your hearing journey, your path is valid and yours alone. It's up to you to discover what you want for yourself in this journey, just remember that you get out of it what you put into it.