My name is Hubert Sorhaitz and I have a Cochlear Implant (CI). I lost my hearing, in one ear, approximately 30 years ago. From then on I was flying on one wing so to speak. I struggled with where to sit at meetings and other functions but it was manageable.
Then suddenly on a flight to Toronto my hearing dropped. When I arrived home I went to visit a hearing clinic and was fitted with a hearing aid that lasted about 6 months. This was back in 2004. That year on Christmas morning I awoke to find no hearing whatsoever, it was a long Christmas holiday to be sure.
After getting another appointment with an audiologist they performed many more tests. It was determined that hearing aids were no longer an option. At this point I was referred to Dr. Batten. The information Dr. Batten and his skilled team provided suggested that I might be a candidate for a Cochlear Implant.
After some more tests and a short wait I was approved by Eastern Health for a Cochlear Implant (CI). That was 11 years ago now. This was good but there was still something missing. I waited another four years, this was when I found out that my cochlear nerve was not up to par. I could hear sounds but there was no speech recognition.
Before my Cochlear Implants I often had to use pen and paper to communicate. I haven’t needed to use it since, the way I see it this is a 100% improvement. The CI isn’t perfect but it has given me a good portion of my hearing back, which in turn has given me part of my life back.
Some time ago when my hearing dropped I got in touch with CHHA-NL. I asked for advice on numerous occasions and on one such occasion I was referred to Leon Mills, Executive Director of CHHA-NL. I got some advice and after hearing Leon’s personal hearing loss story I left his office with a new outlook. I was ready for the challenge I would face but I was still uncertain about the future. When I was looking at getting my implant, over 10 years ago now, there were very few people with CI’s to ask questions to.
This is why it was so important to have a resource group for those with CI’s or those considering a CI. I met Noreen Brazil at a CHHA-NL meeting and we started meeting to discuss our own problems and achievements. We both became very committed to being available to adults that would like information about getting a CI.
As a group we’ve grown, I’m very committed to this group and always open to showing others my CI and how it works. I like to encourage others but also manage their expectations. Cochlear implants are great but they’re not for everyone. I love when a new CI candidate comes to get informed and comes back after surgery to tell us how happy they are to have received a CI and our encouragement.
I would love to see the Cochlear Implant Resource Group continue to grow. It’s helped me and in return I’ve hopefully been able to help others come to the right decision about getting a Cochlear Implant.