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Jordan’s Story

January 23rd, 2008 by | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments »

A friend of mine, Jordan, has a cochlear implant and was raised with the auditory oral approach. We’ve known each other since we were 13 years old when we first met each other at a cochlear implant convention one summer. Since then, we’ve seen each other again a few times at other cochlear implant conventions over the years. He speaks and hears very well like me, and he’s leading a rich life like me and is an inspiration to many young children with cochlear implants! He is currently attending Brown University’s Eight Year Program in Liberal Medical Education, and has hopes to become a doctor to offer hope to patients. Here is Jordan’s story:

I was born with a severe to profound hearing loss which was not discovered until I was about a year old. Early on, my doctors thought I would never be able to hear or to speak and that I should learn sign language. However, my parents wanted me to able to listen and to talk, and I immediately received hearing aids and began intensive speech therapy. I attended a mainstream private school. With the help of small classroom sizes and an FM system, I was able to thrive and to learn. My elementary years were a struggle because I had a language gap and could neither hear nor speak very well and would often rely on lip reading.

However, once the FDA revised the guidelines for cochlear implants in 1998 and people with severe to profound hearing losses became candidates, my parents insisted that I receive a cochlear implant. At age 10, the only thing I told everybody was how the doctors would drill a hole in my skull because I thought that was cool and scary! The day that my implant was turned on, I was able to distinguish my parents’ voices clearly for the first time. When I left the hospital, I remember being terrified by how loud and harsh the sounds of roaring motorcycles were and I wanted to take my speech processor off. But I didn’t. I began to receive intense speech therapy because I had to relearn how to hear sounds and how to adjust to sounds that I had never heard before.

The cochlear implant produced clear sounds and enabled me to catch up with my age- matched peers with typical hearing, which in turn allowed me to speak well.  I felt that I could finally learn to my full potential and I did not always have to wonder if I heard the teachers correctly.

As a result of the cochlear implant, I have been able to succeed in many ways that I could only dream of. I graduated high school summa cum laude and valedictorian. I also participated in many extracurricular activities and volunteered at many places. The cochlear implant gave me another chance at life. As a result, I want to give back to the community and help others. I realized the best way for me to help others was to be in the medical field. I am very fortunate to have been accepted to Brown University’s Eight Year Program in Liberal Medical Education, which admits me to both the undergraduate college and the medical school. It is quite exhilarating and emotional to know that after such a long and hard journey, I have finally reached a new level with my cochlear implant. For the first time in my life, I felt that I was a step ahead of the game rather than a step behind. My first semester at Brown has been the best time of my life!

I always encourage people to get a cochlear implant and to work hard to succeed because it has worked for me. I enjoy sharing my story in the hopes that parents and grandparents can use it as an example to help their children thrive to their fullest potential.

8 Comments

Karen Mayes

January 23, 2008 at 7:04 pm

That is cool.

My daughter’s doctor, Dr. Stern, who has a CI (got it when she was an adult though), delivered her. She is a remarkable lady…

I am glad to see more deaf people entering the medical field ! ;o)

Thank you for sharing the inspiring story with us…

January 23, 2008 at 7:55 pm

It is a great story! I hope they can get treated. Thanks for sharing.

anna s

January 23, 2008 at 8:35 pm

In your two posts, you mentioned the Cochlear Implant Convention. When and where will the next one be? I googled the phrase up and results did not yield information I wanted.

Jordan, best of luck on your studies!

Signing Deaf mother of a CI kid.

Rachel

January 23, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Anna s,

Here is the list of Cochlear Implant Conventions:

http://www.cochlearamericas.com/Celebration/Celebration2009.asp – This one is sponsored by Cochlear, and the next convention is in March 2009 in California.

http://www.cisupport.org/ – This one is in Massachusetts every other year. The next convention will be in 2009.

http://www.agbell.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?p=Convention – This is the AG Bell convention that will be happening this summer in Milwaukee.

January 23, 2008 at 10:01 pm

I think your website is fantastic. I have four children w/ hearing loss, 3 w/ CIs, and I hope my children turn out as wonderful as you have! Keep up the great work, and thanks for inspiring all of us parents out there.

Spencer

January 23, 2008 at 11:26 pm

The first Deaf doctor in America, Jim Hutchinson, was raised using ASL and speaks/lipreads fluently. Thank goodness an *gasp* ASL user paved the way for you future Deaf doctors!

January 24, 2008 at 2:09 am

Gotta love the name Jordan! Rachel, any potential there…???? lol, Jodi – loving that you are blogging your friends stories..so important!

anna s

January 24, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Thanks Rachel!