Trying to Hear a Decision That Could Change My Life


Caleb Pendleton, Op-Ed Editor

Hearing is a precious thing. Especially when you work with music, have a passion for it, and attend school full time. My name is Caleb Pendleton, and I live with a hearing loss. My whole life I’ve had to wear hearing aids, which means that I grew up not hearing like everyone else. My hearing has always been severely damaged and because of that, it opened up a new world of being hard of hearing. I don’t even know what it is like to hear like a normal person without a hearing loss, but I have adapted to this lifestyle. Despite my hearing loss, one thing that I love doing is making music. Many may doubt and even say that it doesn’t really seem possible for a Deaf or hard of hearing person be able to work with music, but I have learned to make it very possible.

Recently, I lost all of my hearing in my right ear, which has made things even more difficult. Studies have shown that our right ear is better for listening because sound crosses over our brains cerebral cortex and bounces back over to the ear when listening. The left side of our brain is for communication, so the very little bit of hearing that I have in my left ear will now have to work harder by sound traveling twice as long just so I can understand what people are saying.

The good news is that recently, I was introduced to the new technology called a “Cochlear Implant” that may change my life. Basically, the implant is a surgical hearing aid that goes behind your skin on your head and directly puts a hearing wire into the cochlea of the ear. The one side effect is that if I make the decision to get a CI (Cochlear Implant) I will completely lose all the hearing in the ear that it’s placed in. I will also become dependent on hearing by using the speech processor of the CI. At this point, I feel that it really doesn’t matter because I have already lost most of my hearing. My Interpreter Derrick Low has said “I have a friend who has a Cochlear Implant and he has benefited positively from it. You should really look into getting one as well, you will really notice a difference in how well you hear.”

Surgery has not always been my thing and getting a CI was never my thing either, but experiencing this Deaf world (losing most of my hearing and trying to live with it) after being able to hear for so long has made me realize that I possibly want to get a CI and hear again like I used to. The Doctors report that CI patients say that the CI actually produces higher pitched sounds and that it could take me up to a year to get used to hearing more from a higher decibel. I also experience something called, “Tinnitus” which is a ringing, chirping, humming etc. sounds in my ear that never goes away. I’m pretty sure because I don’t wear my right hearing aid anymore (after 16 years of wearing it) it could be a cause of some of this. I’m hoping that a CI will change that and I won’t have to deal with the ringing anymore.

The company of CI actually said they would help me find people who could talk to me about their experiences of getting a CI and I have been told that I will regret it at first, because of how difficult it will be to get used to, but that I will actually be able to hear which makes this decision 10 times better.

One big thing that really motivates me is that I will be able to work with my music again and maybe be even 10 times better. As of right now my hearing aid on my left ear lets me hear more bass and getting a cochlear would actually help me hear more treble. Having both of these sounds will be essential to making good music and could actually positively affect my music making.

A Cochlear Implant even supports Apple Bluetooth so I can stream my phone to my Cochlear! Imagine listening to music streaming directly into your head? That sounds amazing!! No pun intended.