You often hear from the parent’s perspective, but do you know what life with cochlear implants is like for the child themselves? This week, we hear from Alex, an 11-year-old with profound hearing loss and bilateral cochlear implants. Alex shares his reflections on his life with cochlear implants.
“I like cochlear implants because I can listen to all the sounds around me, and talk to my friends.”
My name is Alexandre Batalha, but my friends call me Alex. I live in Brazil, am 11 years old, and in the 6th grade of school. I am a bilateral cochlear implant user and I use MED-EL SONNET Audio Processors. I like watching movies, playing video games, playing football with my friends, and skateboarding. I love going to the beach and I do mountain trail hiking with my parents.
I really like my life with cochlear implants. I’m able to hear everything and just be the same as my friends. I like cochlear implants because I can listen to all the sounds around me, and talk to my friends. I also like them because I can also talk on the phone and use all my electronic toys, like my friends do!
“I remember when I got my second implant, sounds were louder and clearer. I didn’t have to try so hard to listen, because I could hear where sounds were coming from.”
I got my first implant when I was two years old, but I can’t really remember it. I remember when I got my second cochlear implant—I was 7 years old. I remember I was a little afraid when I found out about getting a second cochlear implant. But my mom and dad talked to me about the surgery, and they told me what it would be like to have it turned on, and that it would make my hearing better. It made me feel safer and so then I really wanted to have the second implant. My mom and dad came with me for my first surgery and told me what it would be like, so I wasn’t scared anymore.
My parents told me that it wouldn’t be too hard to learn to hear with a second implant because I had already learned to hear and talk with my first implant. Everything went really fast—learning to hear with my second implant was really good and it wasn’t hard at all. My parents also helped me a lot to hear with my two implants—they talk to me a lot, tell me stories, and play games with me. We practice talking and listening a lot when I’m doing my homework. I really liked my rehabilitation, because I really liked the people who helped me at the Center for the Hearing Impaired (CEDAU). They were always really nice, and they used lots of jokes and toys in therapy with me. I remember when I got my second implant, sounds were louder and clearer. I didn’t have to try so hard to listen, because I could hear where sounds were coming from.
“My friends at school ask me what the sounds are like that I can hear, and I try to tell them everything I know about my CI.”
Sometimes people at school ask me why I have something on my ear. I tell them that I was born totally deaf and I had to have a surgery to be able to listen. My friends at school ask me what the sounds are like that I can hear, and I try to tell them everything I know about my CI. I tell my friends and anyone else that without these devices I could not hear them talk to me at all!
“My implants help me to hear my friends when we are playing sports at school together or talking about movies.”
My implants help me to hear my friends when we are playing sports at school together or talking about movies. I can also hear when I’m playing video games and chatting online. My two implants also help me a lot at school—it makes it easy for me to understand my classmates or the teacher. I love to use my cochlear implants at the beach too—I use WaterWear so I can hear my mom or my friends when I’m swimming.
I’m always very careful with my processors and I look after them really well. I pay attention when I put on and remove my “ears” each morning and night, because I don’t want to let them fall. When I play sports, I always use wearing accessories to protect them and keep them on my head. My parents look after my processors when I go to bed—they put them in a drying kit when I go to sleep at night.
I don’t think hearing loss stops me from doing anything I want to do. Sometimes I get a little annoyed when the batteries die when I’m in the middle of watching my shows or movies. But I just change the batteries straight away! The best things about my implants are that I can listen to my friends and family, talk on the phone, listen to music, and listen to my favorite superheroes in movies and electronic games.
When I’m older I’d like to be a doctor and a researcher, because I like helping people. And I would even like to work for MED-EL to make new things to use in future cochlear implants!
Thanks for sharing your story, Alex!
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