When people find out I have the Esteem, their reaction is usually one of two things: amazement and a desire to learn more or skepticism and no aspiration to understand more about my choice in hearing restoration.
I know many people are skeptical about Esteem. Heck, I used to be one of those people! It is new and different. Change is hard to accept sometimes. It was not an easy road to implantation and acceptance of the Esteem, but now that I have it I can’t imagine my life without it. I wish skeptics could see a video montage of my life before and after Esteem. I think you’d see that my overall quality of life has improved significantly, and I’m better off as a result.
I spoke with a friend recently about the benefits of having my Esteem. She mentioned that my descriptions reminded her a lot of her experience with Lasik eye surgery. Great results with the benefit of convenience and being hassle-free. Maybe that’s an image more can understand. I must add, though, that the concepts of convenience and hassle-free only touch the surface of what needs to be known about this life-changing device.
Hearing tests stress me out beyond belief. As a self-identified perfectionist, this is no fun task, but you can imagine my relief when I completed my first hearing test since implantation and found out that my hearing had improved! Not only that, it continued to improve over time as I got better adjusted to my new way of hearing.
I found myself saying “what?” out of habit only to realize that I actually knew what was being said to me. The clarity of the device is incredible. I’m much more comfortable walking behind and in front of people than I was with just my hearing aids. Thanks to Esteem, I can hear and understand quite well on the phones without having to turn the volume up significantly like I needed to with my hearing aids. In fact, I prefer to talk on the phone on my Esteem side versus my hearing aid side.
Esteem gave me a chance to live my life with less stress, anxiety, and isolation. It opened up opportunities rather than closing doors. It improved my life, not just my hearing.
I no longer have anxiety about getting in the water and not being able to hear. I no longer fear that I will not hear a possible intruder at night. I no longer have to deal with the stares of people looking at my hearing aids like I’m some alien from another planet. I no longer have to worry about sweat or rain damaging my hearing aids. Changing my hearing aid batteries at the most unfortunate times is a thing of the past. I can wear ear buds that go in my ear, and as someone who worked in the entertainment industry, being able to wear an in-the-ear walkie talkie headset meant not having to inconvenience the staff with another ask for a special headset.
But it’s so expensive! I’m sure many, like me, worry and wonder about the cost. The amount you spend on hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, additional equipment, and audiology fittings just about equates to the cost of the Esteem, at least in my color-coded calculations.
But it means having to go under a knife! The surgery was perhaps one of the most pain free experiences of my life, honestly. I was in little to no pain after surgery. I was a bit nauseous from the anesthesia, but in knowing that’s how I react, we are better equipped for the next time!
To be able to wear my hair up and feel a fraction of what my hearing peers feel without people making instant judgements, well, that alone was worth going under.
If this eases your skepticism at all, know that I performed hours of research and put together a pros and cons chart before making my decision to get the Esteem.
I’m a proud hard of hearing woman. I would never change that fact, but I wish you knew and could feel the pure happiness and acceptance I have towards myself thanks to the Esteem. In fact, since implantation, I’m more comfortable in discussing and being open about my hearing loss.
Ashley is a 28-year-old from Atlanta, GA. She was born with bi-lateral, severe hearing loss, and wears a hearing aid in one ear and has an Esteem implant in the other. She plays soccer for the USA Women's National Deaf Team.
Ashley worked in Los Angeles for a number of years in the entertainment industry. She now works remotely and is currently traveling the world in pursuit of adventure and perspective while also learning about the deaf and hard of hearing communities in various countries. Her travels can be followed on instagram @ashley5chanel or on her blog deaftattooedandemployed.com.
This is the experience of one patient. Individual results may vary. Esteem is a surgically implanted hearing device for a certain type and level of hearing loss. It can only be prescribed by a properly trained ear surgeon. Talk to your hearing healthcare professional for more information or contact Envoy Medical.