Hello!! My name is Emmy and I am 22 years old. I was born profoundly deaf and was implanted in my right ear with a cochlear implant at the age of 13 months and my left ear at age 6.
Growing up I hardly noticed my cochlear implants as something that made me different. I didn't notice because I've never known the alternative of natural hearing ears. It wasn't until middle school that I realized how my implants 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 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.
During this time, I realized I needed to come to my own conclusion on my identity as a deaf individual, and it was then that I found my balance. I had discovered what it meant for me to live as a deaf person in the hearing world. There was much exploration as to what it truly meant for me as I'd never belong in either the deaf or hearing world. But instead, belonging in the world where the two collide; my little world, or the cochlear implant world. A place where with my implants I can fully interact with the hearing world, but is also the same place where I can choose to take my implants off. It's a place that is built 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 deafness. There was never a time I 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 deaf journey has always included being involved in our community whether that be with my cochlear implant company, our local 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 also these experiences that have led me to this website. I wanted to create a space anyone can go to, whether they are considering an implant or have been implanted for years, and have a place of support while providing you with my experiences in hopes that you can learn from me and potentially gain insight and perspective.
I am a firm believer in the fact that our in-between/cochlear implant community shouldn't be divided up by what company cochlear implant was chosen. Once implanted, regardless of the company chosen, you are a part of this community. We all go through similar experiences, despite the company chosen. In the end it's not about the companies, it's about you and your experiences 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. In the end we are one big community and to one another we are the only ones that can provide the support we truly need.
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 deaf 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.