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Hearing Thing:

My cochlear implant has Bluetooth capabilities. I can stream the audio from my phone or TV or computer straight into the implant. Not straight into my ear, like my hearing aid. But straight into my implant - which is in my brain. . When my phone rings it rings in my brain. No one else can hear it. And no one else can figure out why I look like I'm having a stroke - rattled from this random **VERY LOUD** ringing in my brain. Then I start talking to the person on the phone, while holding the phone out in front of my face as if I have the caller on speaker. But only I can hear the person I'm talking to, because they are only talking into my brain. . Totally normal stuff happening here. . For a couple months in early 2021 I was between houses and all my streaming hook-ups were in storage. For those months I didn't listen to music while I worked, or any other time. Music has changed quite a bit since I got my implant. It doesn't sound right - it all sounds the same and heavily synthesized. It frustrated me that it wasn't getting better, so I'd sorta given up on it, to be honest. It broke my heart a little bit to give up on it. Even hearing music over the speaker in restaurants or stores sorta bummed me out - because it reminded me of something I lost. . But today I decided to try music again while working. It still doesn't sound right, but if I listen to songs I know I still enjoy it - my brain softens the sharp edges with it's muscle memory of the song. I'd gone months without music, just because it sounded a little different. Listening to it today, even for a few hours, even sounding a little different, felt exceedingly good. Like finding that comfy sweatshirt you used to love, one that carries memories in its frayed seams, and throwing it on even though it fits a little differently than you remember. . Sometimes you forget how much you are missing something until it wanders across your path again. Sometimes even if something isn't perfect, it can still be pretty damn good. Sometimes different can become familiar, if given a chance. Sharp edges and all. . Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. . #adventuresinhearingimpairement #cochlearimplant


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Dawn is a mom, writer, and designer from Sacramento, CA.

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