I wore hearing aids from a few weeks after I was born, with one of the best speech and listening therapists (a pioneer in the field) from the time I was young, entered a mainstream school, etc. Didn’t do fantastically, but I managed.
I got an implant at 24 when we realized just how much of my satisfactory test results were me using my brain to put the pieces together, rather than my ears being satisfactory. When I got tired & my focus lapsed, my understanding dropped like a rock.
Got an implant. I remember that the crunching of someone else eating potato chips and the sound of the blinker on the car, the rustling of a plastic bag, the hissing (not really a hiss, but you know) sound of tap water and the sound of my dog barking were all irritating as fuck. Making me twitch and have momentary freak outs. The higher pitched elements of the sounds which I hadn’t heard before were abrasive and irritating.
But at the first opportunity I had, I listened to the instrumental version of ‘A song of storm and fire’, music I had been listening to prior, and even if it didn’t sound wholly natural, I knew right away that I could hear more.
I had to lose all of my residual, crappy but usable hearing in one ear to get the implant. I knew the speaking-volume ringing in my ears that is with me 24/7 could have gotten worse, and above all else, I didn’t know if it would make things that much better. It made for a lot of anxiety. Listening to the track and knowing I heard nuances I hadn’t before, it made me tear up some. To this day, that piece has meaning to me.
On the smaller scale, I remember that ‘oh wow, I never knew that made a sound’ realization when I got a spoonful of sugar to put on my cereal and realized shaking the sugar out makes a sound. I ruined my cereal putting too much on, trying it again.
My Grandmother was born deaf and her and my Grandfather saved for the surgery. Her first noise was an airplane and she was understandably confused.
19. A cat chewing
Not deaf, just very, very bad hearing in general. Everything sounded muffled and tinny, up until I got my first hearing aid when I was about 14, for my birthday.
I was sort of terrified of noises for the first 2 weeks of having it. I just couldn’t settle with it and I couldn’t stand people talking around me either, eventually listening to music bit by bit helped and I got used to my own voice and hearing noises properly.
The only noise I remember liking when I first got it was the noise our cat made when she ate, you know when they eat and meow at the same time? No idea why, found it hilarious. I’m still not used to sudden noises like dogs barking or people shouting, they make my ears ring for a few seconds and give me a headache.
I got sick at one year and been deaf my whole life. I gotten my cochlear implant at about 11 years old. I heard my mother talk to me and arrived home heard my miniature schnauzer bark, it was really awesome. Years later, I had the cochlear implant updated, I had an iPod and the first song I played was Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. It just blew me away. My CI t doesn’t make me hearing at all. It’s just an device. I embrace my deafness. Now days, I just use my CI to listen to music, movies, or going out of town.