I just talked to my mom tonight while we were having dinner, and mentioned to her that I had emailed an audiologist in Colorado, asking for an approximate cost for an evaluation. Explained to her that if I could get evaluated, and actually be TOLD if I was a candidate, that we could start looking into assistance and insurances. I know the CNI.org offers CI coverage assistance, but you have to be an actual candidate when you apply, which I told her of. So hopefully, we'll somehow get down to Denver so that I can be evaluated and we could go from there. Even with the CNI.org's CI assistance program, they only help with the CI components (if I remember right, from reading about this assistance program, the implants are "donated"?), not with the hospital/surgery bills, so that would leave about $15,000. But $15,000 would be better than $50-70,000.
I guess I just brought it up to her tonight to let her know that I was still serious about wanting an implant. I know, it's very costly and a major step, but I just feel that an implant would do be better. And if my left ear could be implanted (I have absolutely no hearing at all in my left, haven't heard a thing and hearing aids have been no help), that might make a HUGE difference for me. With only 1 working ear (when it's turned on), I have no sense of where the sounds are coming from, and it drives me crazy. I literally go around in circles looking for the source of the sound, and most of the time I never find it. But I do know that there's a very good chance of ossification in my ears... as is common with meningitis. But how much there is, I have no idea. I don't even know if the ossification is a factor as to why I cannot hear a thing out of my left ear or not. And I know it's more common to implant the "better" ear. There are days when I think, "oh the left ear should be implanted, then I could hear out of both ears" and other days when I think "no, it should the right ear... I've always been able to hear out of the right ear, and the implant would probably work even better in the right ear."
In a way, I feel like my mom still wishes I would WAIT until technology is so much better, like when the implants can be completely hidden away, or the hair cell regeneration. I know she'd rather I wait for the "cure". So many times I've tried to explain to her and she says she understands, I don't think she does. I don't want to be "cured". I do not ever want to be 100% hearing. I like having the choice of when to be "hearing" and when to be deaf. A very good friend of mine, who also happens to be deaf (she says she probably won't be a candidate for a CI since her hearing aids work SO incredibly well for her and she gets so much benefits from them), she completely understands where I'm coming from with this, so it's just easier to talk to her about the implant. I try to talk to my mom about it, but I just get the feeling like she wants something completely better for me. And I can understand that, she's my mother and she'll always want what's best for me. But this is my life, I'm 21, turning 22 in September, and I know what I want and don't want. My dad, he knows I want an implant, and he says he'll support whatever decisions I make regarding this.
There's also the fact that if I am for sure a candidate, there'd be a lot of traveling involved throughout the process. There are no centers in Wyoming, and Colorado would be closest. And I have heard really good things about the Rocky Mountain CI Center in Denver, so I'm awaiting to hear back from RMCIC from someone about the cost of an evaluation. There would be the issue of "who would drive me to Denver and back?" I'm not comfortable driving myself to Denver, so I would need someone else to do the driving. And flights are just too expensive and pointless.
I also mentioned to my mom that I'm seeing my new audiologist next Thursday afternoon to get a new earmold made, and to get some adjustments done to my hearing aid. She got to telling me that I should ask her if she knew anything of the new hearing aid that my mom had come across as an ad in the newspaper. Right now, I'm not interested in a new hearing aid. I have a powerful digital hearing aid that I'm happy with, it just needs to be tweaked with a bit to make any difference to my hearing. Can a hearing aid really actually "zoom" in on a voice, like the ad claimed the hearing aid could, and actually automatically filter out what is noise and voice? It just sounds like this hearing aid is "too good to be true" in my mind. I currently have Phonak's Supero 13AZ hearing aid, which I have been very happy with for the most part, it just needs to be adjusted every once in a while. I also told my mom, before scoping out new hearing aids, lets at least do the evaluation and find out if I'm a candidate first. If I'm not, then we can consider looking at other hearing aids, but until then, I'm not going to worry about it. Not until I know for sure if I'm a candidate or not.