Only about 2% of people ever get to the stage of having a Profound Hearing loss and in the past, there wasn’t much they could do about it except live with it.
A Profound Loss means you have little or no effective hearing because you need sound to be amplified above 95 decibels. This volume is like standing next to a jet plane.
Profound Hearing loss is characterised by:
• little or no effective hearing
• your world is silent (except often accompanied with the discordant chorus of tinnitus)
• you experience a sense of isolation and have withdrawn from socialising
• you may consider learning sign language
• lip reading is essential just to talk to a friend
• just getting through the day is exhausting because you waste all your energy and spend all your time trying to understand and be alert to what is going on around you
• you will have changed your job and perhaps your career to something where you don’t need hearing
• depression could well have set in
• it takes a lot of courage to meet new people or go into new situations
• Hearing aids are pretty much useless and spend more time in the drawer than in your ears
At this level of hearing loss there is a sense of futility. No matter how many times I had been to specialists they constantly said “there is nothing more I can do for you.” My hearing aids had got less powerful because there was no point in amplifying sound I couldn’t hear. I wore hearing aids rarely because even when I could hear some of the low frequencies they were distorted and still incomprehensible. This was annoying without being any help for the sounds I needed. My only hope was a Cochlear Implant…but they were still in the research and development phase and it took a lot of time and tests to see if I was a suitable candidate.
Before my first Cochlear Implant I had just 5% hearing in one ear. The whole world had become a scary place because I got no clues from my hearing about the location of traffic, people or animals. I lived alone, travelled alone and often worked alone. I had lost touch with most of my family and friends – even my children (we didn’t yet have the internet or mobile phones!)
These days Cochlear Implants are well established and there is no need to wait until you have learned to live deaf (as I did) before you can hear again. With a profound hearing loss there is not much that can be done except have a cochlear implant (or other surgical implant) if you are suitable. But believe me, if you are …do it. What have you got to lose? And you have everything to gain.