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To hear and to be heard

By Paulina

My name is Paulina, I am in my early 30s and live in Berlin. When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed for the first time: I have bad hearing.

A marathon of visits to the doctor led neither to a clear diagnosis nor to an idea of what to do. And so, at first, everything remained the same.

Over the years, however, my hearing got progressively worse and when I had just finished my bachelor's degree and was ready to start my professional life, I realized that something had to change.

And so I got my Cochlear Implants (Cis). At first only one CI, the right one. In no case did I want to risk the loss of my residual hearing in my hitherto strong left ear during surgery, so I only wanted one CI.

During the initial fitting, some things were still strange and unfamiliar, but soon I became more familiar with my new hearing. It was an incredible improvement: conversations - even in groups and with background noise - were possible again, sounds I hadn't heard for years were suddenly clearly audible and I even dared to answer the phone again.

So it wasn't long before I decided to have my second ear implanted as well, because my residual hearing was actually a joke compared to the improvements the CI had brought.

Today, I am bilaterally fitted with Advanced Bionics and can happily say that it was one of the best decisions of my life that has given me back an insane quality of life.

During my research on CIs, I read many horror stories on the internet. Many people reported negative experiences, obviously we humans have a stronger urge to complain than to report positive experiences. For this reason, I started my Instagram account @deaf_girls_hearing_stories to show people in similar situations what great opportunities a CI offers.

In the meantime, I successfully kicked off my professional life, making phone calls and video conferences as if this had never been a problem, and traveling the world and giving talks to larger groups.

Normally. Because at the moment I'm on parental leave and a few days ago I could hear my son saying "Mama" for the first time - for that alone, the CIs have already been well worth it.

November 2021