User Stories

Switching from Hearing Aids to Cochlear Implants: Morgan Martins

Editor’s note: this is the fifth in a series of guest articles shared by MED-EL recipient Morgan Martins. In her previous post, she shared her experiences in the first months with her first pair of hearing aids. Here her experiences continue towards a cochlear implant.

If my hearing loss caught me by surprise, what wasn’t a surprise was the moment that I became completely deaf.

Remembering when I had lost my hearing and had to live for two weeks without hearing aids I prepared to never again be in such situation, the no-man-language-land!

To prepare, my wife and I enrolled in a British Sign Language (BSL) course, and used what I was learning in class to give BSL lessons to the coworkers who were interested. Some of them were just curious about the language, but most of them were my work friends and were keen to continue to communicate with me.

And, while my wife and I were having BSL classes I also took a lip reading course. I wanted to arm myself with tools to aid communication in the event of becoming completely deaf.

My hearing loss started to have a major consequences. My self-esteem was non-existent, and I had become this person that I did neither recognized nor liked. I wasn’t my usual bubbly self anymore, I wasn’t friendly and I wasn’t extroverted. I started to close in more and more, and I would cry for no reason at anything. Even if I had much support from my wife and a few friends there was nothing that they could do about making me feel better.

I was grieving.

It was January 2012, and in spite of having a second set of hearing aids I wasn’t benefiting from them. At home I would rely on BSL and lip reading to communicate, at work nobody cared if I presented work or not, I was not as proud as I always have been, it was up to me to invent work and projects to keep me occupied.

I was in the deepest pain I have ever been in my life. And I was trying to survive without music.

Music was my first love. At age 2, my sister said, I learned my first English words while listening to Queen, David Bowie, Police, Genesis and Rolling Stones. At 17 my first job was at the local radio station where I went on to be a radio presenter with my own radio shows. At 21 I was the first woman DJ to perform in Algarve, Portugal. So, yes, music was everything to me.

Whenever I was happy there was a song for it, whenever I was sad there was a song to pick me up, but now that I could no longer enjoy listen to music I would I pick myself up from the pain of losing my hearing?

I didn’t. I wish I could say to you that I did, that somehow I went to find strength deep in my guts, but no. I wasn’t able to get out of that black abyss into which you dive and continue to dive in a hopeless feeling that life has ended. April 2012 arrived and one Tuesday after a lip reading class I felt that I couldn’t carry on like this, I didn’t want to continue to feel such acute pain in my soul, in my heart and I tried to kill myself.

I was on my home way after a Lip Reading class, on the London Underground and once I’ve reached my stop I didn’t want to go up to the surface. I sat down on one of the platform benches thinking only one thing: “I can’t face the world”. I couldn’t. There were too many people, too much city buzz and I wasn’t part of it. I wasn’t living anymore; I was dragging myself, from one night to the next day and so on. I didn’t want to continue to live like that.

The tube carried on and I stood on the platform edge waiting for the next one. The one that would end my misery. I stood there waiting. I didn’t think of anything. I was just waiting to jump.

I never gave a frontal look to the train, I saw it approaching by the corner of my eyes and I sure felt the vibration coming from the floor and while waiting for it to come closer there were two things that saved my life.

The first was the thought of my wife.  How much I know and feel that she loves me and I thought in how much pain she would be. While I thought of her, my all body hesitated. Then came the second: the tube driver understood that he had a “jumper” and brought the subway train to a halt.

I’m not proud of this moment of my life. I wish I had never attempt to take my own life and since then I have lived and experience things which I come to find truly amazing and wonderful, but make no mistake: when one person tries and successfully takes its own life, all hope was lost and I had lost everything.

Two weeks after this event, the letter from St George’s Hospital arrived: I was being fitted with a cochlear implant. That truly was what pick me up, what made me fully come back to the land of the living.


If you’re ever feeling depressed and/or have suicidal thoughts, remember that there is help available. Talk to someone: reach out to your friends or family about how you are feeling, or get in touch with a mental health professional who will be able to offer you support and advice.

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