My mom printed off this article for me, so I thought I'd post this on here. It was very interesting to read of one person's experience of how he heard after his implant was activated.
What It Feels Like … to Regain Your Hearing
Musician Richard Reed went deaf in 1993 after a reaction to an antibiotic. In 2002, he underwent cochlear-implant surgery.
By Richard Reed
When the audiologist turned on the cochlear implant, I heard some loud beeps and boops; then I heard her say, "Can you hear me?"
I could indeed, but had something gone wrong? I'd expected it to sound weird, sure, but she sounded as if she were using bubbles instead of words. Her voice was musical, like a toy piano, each syllable a tiny ping. My reply was loud, a gruff, high-pitched Popeye voice. The audiologist said there was nothing wrong.
I drove home, sat in my driveway, and thought, How can silence be so loud? From everywhere and nowhere, things were twittering, sizzling, crackling, and plopping. My own breathing was creepy. I'd forgotten that shoes on sidewalks make tiny crunching noises. At the door to my apartment, I dropped my keys. They made a sound like little bells jangling. I picked them up and purposely dropped them again. Hey! Beautiful.
A lot of things sounded oddly human. A bowl of Rice Krispies sounded like a tiny audience applauding my banana-slicing technique. Clocks said, "Tick, tock." The world was suddenly filled with wacky onomatopoeia. People sounded strange, too. Spoken words sounded like droning robotic cartoon rodents. Add Darth Vader to Alvin and the Chipmunks, then divide by four.
Today, the bizarre tones are gone. Words sound perfect, maybe even slightly better, like an FM-radio deejay from the days before corporate playlists, with each slightly compressed s and t crisp and distinct. I can close my eyes and hear sweet nothings, which really are something.