I wanted to hold space for Amy Quinn who has recently been fitted with a cochlear implant. Amy is one of our followers and has created a following on Instagram and Tik tok to share her experience of having a cochlear implant fitted in order to help those who might be considering the implant plus to also help raise awareness about how life is with a cochlear implant. Amy has very generously offered to share with us what living with hearing loss is and has been like for her in her own words.
Please can you tell us a bit more about you?
I am 26 years old, I’m originally from south Manchester but have been living in south London for nearly 6 years now. I am engaged and getting married in April 2024. I have 3 children, 2 girls and a boy and they keep me on my toes. I love to sing; I love to have a laugh and be crazy but to be honest at the moment I definitely love nothing more than a night on the sofa watching TV!
How did you find out about the cochlear implant option and how did you find the process?
So, I was first told I had a mild hearing loss at the age of 15, I was given hearing aids and that was as far as that went for many years. I refused to acknowledge the hearing loss even after people began telling me how much they could see I was struggling.
It wasn’t until I was 25, a whole 10 years later, that I finally admitted I was struggling. I went to my audiologist who showed me how much my hearing had declined over the course of 10 years, and he told me my hearing was now in the place where a Cochlear implant should be discussed. I was then referred to the UCLH where after multiple tests, I was told I had missed the Implant threshold by 6%. I was in limbo, and hearing aids weren’t helping me anymore but the implant was not available to me as I had passed all the speech tests by 6%. My consultant then mentioned the COACH trial which put people like me in a computer system and it randomly allocated each candidate to either the Cochlear Implant or advanced hearing aids. Luckily for me, I was allocated the implant! The whole process has been what I would only describe as a type of grieving process. I went through denial, anger, sadness, and acceptance. All the stages! Now I am one-month post activation, and I can honestly say I can already tell this is a decision I will never regret. It has been a massive adjustment, it’s been hard, tiring, and emotional, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
I know you are very much adjusting right now and things at times must be overwhelming for you, what would be the best bit of advice you could give to those considering a cochlear implant?
I have two pieces of advice, The first is to have patience. Getting the implant is not a quick fix, it takes months of rehab, and it takes a long time for it to feel ‘normal’. However, if you put in the work, it can improve your life dramatically.
The second is, to be kind to yourself. It’s an incredibly difficult journey. one that often feels very lonely. Allow yourself days off, allow yourself to rest, allow yourself to cry and feel sorry for yourself. But pick yourself back up and keep your head held high. You are strong and brave and never let yourself feel otherwise.
And what would be your best piece of advice to those supporting someone who’s going through a cochlear implant?
What I would say is that you do as much research yourself on the process, from testing to surgery to, the initial switch-on, and then everything after. Try and prepare yourself as best you can so that you can try to understand what the person with the implant is going through. Unless you are going through the process yourself, it is impossible to fully understand however if you have all the information, it helps you to be more sympathetic to the situation, and trust me, that’s all we need. Also, if they have kids, take them out for a few hours, and give the mum/dad a break to just sit in silence!!!
For anyone wanting to follow Amy’s journey with a cochlear Implant, Amy’s social media accounts are.
Thank you so much Amy for sharing this with us and for talking so honestly about your experience. Wishing you all the very best !