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My Experiences

January 26th, 2015 by | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

One of my closest friends from high school wrote this. Karina and I met over four years ago at the beginning of my freshman year of high school. When I first met Karina, she was wearing hearing aids. About two years ago, she decided to get a cochlear implant and is doing an amazingly well with it.

My name is Karina Crochiere. I am from the Boston area. I am hard of hearing. I am profoundly deaf in my left ear and in my right I had a moderate-to-severe hearing loss that progressed over time. I was diagnosed with hearing loss at age four. When I was first diagnosed, my right ear wasn’t so bad but my left was profound. A year later I got my first hearing aid. I have had 3 hearing aids in my lifetime for my right ear, I never got any for my left because there was nothing to make louder to hear.

As time went on, my hearing got worse even with my hearing aid and using an FM system. When I was in middle school, it was torture. I hated it and felt annoyed and alone. I was the only one in my middle school that was hard of hearing. When I reached the eighth grade, I was finally ready to transfer schools because I was missing information.

When I went to high school, I transferred from my local public school to Newton North high school; it has a program called EDCO for deaf and hard of hearing students. I heard many things about cochlear implants my freshman year, many good and some bad things about them. I was finally with other Deaf and hard of hearing folks like me. I met Jessica my 3rd year of high school. Jessica has two implants, and she told me a lot about them. At first, I was against the idea of myself having one or two because I didn’t want to lose my love for Deaf culture and sign language and music.

After I finished high school I decided to get a cochlear implant. It was a long process, but when I got it I never felt more myself, hearing so many things again I hadn’t heard in many years. When the CI was activated and I left Children’s, for the first time in years I heard birds chirping, crickets making noises and music more clearly. I have many moments I’ll never forget.

One memory, 3 days after I had the right side activated – I had missed listening to music far too long and I was ready to try to listen to something. I went down to my old basement, put my iPhone in the Bose speaker, scrolled down to my favorite song, “One Song Glory” from my favorite musical Rent. Seconds after I hear the first word of the song, I started crying happily even though it sounded different, strange to me. I’d waited so long to hear my music that stays close to my heart. For the first time in 4 weeks, I was in joy and awe that I could hear things so clearly and I didn’t have to blast music like I used to. That day, I listened to music for 3 hours. I know I overdid it that day, but it was so worth the wait.

Another memory – This past summer I went to my first concert with the cochlear implant. It was an unforgettable day. I was just moving into my new house that day, and I did a ton of unpacking, but I could not heavy lift much because at the time it was a week after I got my second implant. My sister and I went to the Backstreet Boys concert; I hadn’t seen them live in 15 years. I was so excited to see my favorite band of all time. The night went by so fast; I heard them like never before. In between songs each member would talk to the crowd, and two out of the five members I understood very clearly when they talked. They were my favorite. I cannot imagine never hearing them singing. It is one of my best memories.

Biography—I am Karina, and I have to two implants. Currently, I am attending MassBay Community College.

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