I was born in July of 1989. At the time, there was no sign that I was hard of hearing or that there ever would be. No one in my family would have thought that it was even possible. My parents sent me to a normal Kindergarten, the same one that my brothers and sisters attended.
Towards the end of Kindergarten I began to develop a hearing loss. When I was called, I didn’t react as quickly as other children. My parents brought me to different children’s doctors, who were themselves unsure what the problem was. Some doctors believed that I was simply lacking in concentration. My parents sent me to a normal primary school and later, in first grade, it became very clear that something wasn’t right with my hearing. I couldn’t understand the instructions of my teachers.
When I first received my hearing aids, I discovered that I really loved music. The first instrument that I learned was the violin. I really loved music but my hearing problems made it difficult for me to practice or to progress. I wanted a challenge, I wanted to show that I could do things that others could do as well. Music was a therapy for me and I always had the feeling when I was playing that I was something special. Later, I would attend an integrated secondary school.
By the time I entered the 6th grade, my hearing had gotten progressively worse. The doctors recommended that I receive a cochlear implant. I refused, however, because I was convinced that my hearing would improve again, the same way it had deteriorated. Unfortunately, my hearing only got worse and by the 8th grade, I lost almost all my hearing completely.
Doctors always found it strange that I didn’t lose my ability to speak clearly. They gave me two alternatives, cochlear implantation or deafness. I loved music so much that deafness was really no alternative. After a period of thinking it through, I chose implants from the company MED−EL. In January 2004, I received my first CI on the right side. My hearing improved quickly though it was difficult initially. Voices were strange at first but with time things became clearer and gentler to my ears. I could even hear background noise outside. I especially noticed that I had started to make progress again with music. I could hear the tones better and I could even recognise my own mistakes. This was never possible with hearing aids.
I received my 2nd CI in December of 2006. I decided to get a second one because of the role of music in my life. It has always been such a big part of my life.
Once again, I noticed a big improvement. Today I am proud that I am a MED−EL user. Often, I forget that I have a hearing loss. Music has helped me to get through it all.
Currently, I am in the 13th grade at a school for individuals with hearing problems in Essen, Germany. Here I found out how much I also really love to dance! Two of my teachers provide dance classes for the deaf. We learn, among other things, how to tango! I really love to dance and have been doing it now for three years. I really love to hear the rhythm and to be able to dance this most difficult of dances. Without my cochlear implants, I would never have learned to do all these things. The support of my parents, the music I love, and of course my cochlear implants has really helped me to get to the point where I am now. This is something I am really proud of. After I'm finished at school, I would like to study music. I know that I can do this thanks to my cochlear implants!
They have given me a new lease on life!