Malory’s Story

October 5th, 2012 by | Tags: , | 5 Comments »

My name is Malory and I received a Cochlear Nucleus 5 cochlear implant on September 27, 2010.

No one knows if I was born hearing or deaf.  When I was born two weeks early in Kansas City, Missouri at St. Luke’s Hospital, I was very sick.  The doctors gave me some medicine to treat me.   I stayed at the hospital for two weeks. So, we never knew if it was the medicine that caused my deafness.  Til this day, we still don’t know exactly how I became deaf and are not sure if we had any family members who were deaf.  I am possibly the first family member to have a hearing loss.

My parents did not find out that I was deaf until I was four years old. We went to my grandmother’s house and their neighbor had a big dog.  Whenever the dog barked, I never reacted or noticed that he was barking. I was then fitted with digital hearing aids. We tested my hearing again with the dog barking, and I reacted really well when the dog barked.  So, we knew I had a moderate-to-severe hearing loss and hearing aids were good to go.  I learned American Sign Language (ASL) the following year, when I turned five.  Over the years, I’ve improved my ASL and still use it today.

I was mainstreamed until I moved to Rockville, Maryland, in 1997 where I am currently living today. I was finally placed in a deaf and hard of hearing classrooms from 3rd grade to 12th grade. I never had interpreters until my freshman year of high school. I graduated from high school in June 2008.  Then I went off to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, New York, where I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design in November 2011. Now, I am currently enrolled at my local community college where I am getting a Child Education degree to become a Paraeducator for Special Needs children.

RIT is a private college that is mixed with deaf, hard of hearing and hearing students. I could have gone to Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, but since I grew up oral and around hearing people as well as deaf and hard of hearing, I felt that RIT was a better school for me. Gallaudet University is an all Deaf school, and I thought I wouldn’t do well there. As I went to RIT for 3 1/4 years, I am glad that I chose RIT and I miss it today.

During the summer of 2010, I had to do an internship for RIT and decided to go ahead and get a cochlear implant at the same time. I went on leave of absence for one quarter and had surgery at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland for Cochlear Nucleus 5 on August 26.  The surgery was successful and a month later, on September 27, I was turned on.

The first few weeks was so hard for me because I wasn’t used to the “loud” noise.  However, I was surprised that I actually quickly got used to the “loud” noises after a month or two.  Now, I don’t think they’re “loud” anymore. All throughout my life, with the hearing aids, I had to keep asking someone to repeat all the time. Now, with my CI, asking people to repeat what they say has decreased dramatically, but I still do once in awhile. I finished RIT with the use of my CI and hearing aid and now use both at my local community college. Nowadays, I would never want to take off my implant and try to hear just with my hearing aid because then I wouldn’t be able to hear well.

Nowadays, as a 23 year-old adult, I still enjoy wearing both the cochlear implant and the Oticon hearing aid. My family and I now wished I’ve gotten it back in grade school. People had been asking me if I want to go bilateral. I knew my answer right away – no. I know and understand that I could hear more with two cochlear implants, but I’m hearing so well with what I have now and don’t want to change that.

I thank my doctors and audiologists for giving me the opportunity to get a cochlear implant!

It’s been 2 years since I was activated, and I am a proud recipient and do not regret it at all!




October 6, 2012 at 6:38 am

Good write up. What made you decide you wanted the cochlear implant?


October 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Great to finally someone featured here who is a native signer. We need more role models who are not only oral all way, but also use various visual communication modes.


October 10, 2012 at 1:49 am

Deaf, I’m also a native signer and my story was posted here several years ago : )


October 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm

What made me get a Cochlear Implant – great question!

My parents and I had thought about getting me one from middle school through high school. Then, we finally got into it while I was in college.

Using ASL since age of 5 and using Sign Language interpreter at college as well.

I’ve heard that if someone get’s a Cochlear Implant, the signing goes away. I do not believe that. The implant may help hear better, but the person may still need assistance as using sign language or cued speech.


June 11, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Hi Malory (and Kaitlyn),

Thank you for sharing your stories. I’m a freelance science journalist researching a story on cochlear implants for Matter, a new online publication dedicated to long-form science journalism (readmatter.org). My editor and I are interested in featuring adults who were born deaf and integrated into the culturally Deaf community before receiving a cochlear implant. Would either of you be willing to talk to me further? Please drop me an email at sujigupta@gmail.com. Thanks!