Getting the Esteem® is not an easy decision, and it’s not one to take likely, but if an audiologist says, “well, you could do just as well with hearing aid,” that is completely missing the point. Sure, on the surface hearing aids and Esteem® do the same thing – they help you hear better. They certainly do, but Esteem® offers you so much more than just better hearing.
It’s about waking up each day and, for a brief moment, forgetting I am hard of hearing because I can leave my Esteem® on throughout the night (heaven forbid a fire alarm goes off, I can hear it!). I don’t have to find my hearing aids, check for batteries, put them in, or anything like that. I wake up and I’m hearing at my best.
I don’t have that immediate reminder first thing in the morning telling me that I’m different from everyone else like I do when I have to put my hearing aids on.
It’s about that brief moment when I pull my hair up and don’t have eyes looking straight to my ears and immediately pre-judging me.
It’s about being able to swim and partake in water sports and hear my friends around me. I remember I would avoid going to pool or water events because I hated the idea of taking out my ‘ears’, and therefore not being able to properly interact with my friends. With Esteem®, I don’t have to worry about keeping my hearing aids dry from sweat or rain. If I want to dance in the rain and hear the rain as it drops, I can!
It’s about being able to wear ‘in the ear’ headphones and walkie talkies. I no longer have to request specific headphones to accommodate my hearing aids. Similarly, I no longer have to turn the volume up obnoxiously loud on my phone just to hear the person on the other end. Esteem® allows me to hear on the phone with more clarity at a lower volume.
The clarity and precision I get with Esteem® is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced with hearing aids. I lived so much of my life just making everything louder with hearing aids. Esteem® allows me to hear things like a whisper without it sounding muffled. I don’t need it to be louder to understand what’s being said.
Unlike hearing aids that just amplify noise, I now hear my own voice and my own ‘internal’ noises. I’m more like my mom and my dad. They hear themselves swallow every day. With Esteem®, I get to hear myself swallow, too. I can hear the shower as it hits my head. Hearing aids do not provide me the same authentic hearing experience that Esteem® does.
Esteem® is using parts from my own body to enable me to hear. How cool is that?! Hearing aids just process and transmit noise.
So when an audiologist says, “you can do just as well with a hearing aid”, they’re probably right, but it’s so much more than just being able to hear well. Esteem® gives me an opportunity to experience life as my hearing peers do while still having the option to revert to my hard of hearing habits or advantages.
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.