A Young Adult's Perspective on Life with Cochlear Implants
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Miranda Meyers is a college student who was born deaf and received a cochlear implant when she was two years of age. Her family followed an auditory-verbal, family-centered approach. Miranda has always attended mainstream schools and is an enthusiastic cochlear implant user. We are delighted to share her perspective as a young adult with cochlear implants. She is a great example for the future of cochlear implants. Members may comment on any posting by logging into your account.


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Top tags: Cochlear Implants  Health  Psychosocial  Young Adults with CI  Young Adults with Cochlear Implants 

Post College: My First Job

Posted By Jessica Houk, Monday, December 9, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Our amazing writer, Miranda Meyers is back with a heart warming post.

Her story is about fulfilling her dreams and finding creative ways to overcome challenges. It is also about the experience of including people with hearing loss even in very demanding working environments, an experience which eventually rewards everybody.

Miranda shares her experience as an adult, and we believe that many adult CI users would identify with it. However, even if you are a parent of a CI kid, you may learn more and be inspired by the journey of this impressive woman.


Thank you Miranda! 

Naama Tsach


Well hello! Yes… it has been way too long; almost one year. Life has been a wild ride since I last wrote a post. I graduated from college, got my first job on a campaign, unfortunately lost that election, and now I’m finally taking some time off. The election took a lot out of me, so I am very glad to be in a position where I am able to relax and really take my time figuring out what’s next. Funnily enough, I’ve been listening to a lot of music and podcasts lately.

I graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology on May 10, 2019. On May 22, I started my first job. I was hired as a finance staffer for a New Jersey State Assembly campaign. In the middle of the summer, I was promoted to Finance Director. It was hard, but so much fun. I learned so much, and I got to work with some of the best people I know. I love politics, so it was great for me to finally get onto a campaign and learn how to elect amazing candidates that want to help people. We did lose, but we did everything we could. I have no regrets. I know everyone on my team and myself gave it their all. We worked hard, and we came pretty close.

It was interesting navigating this job as a deaf person. Fortunately, everyone on my team was so understanding. No one would get upset with me when I couldn’t understand them. My candidate knew to look at me when she was talking, and she would know as soon as I didn’t understand something. One aspect of my job was to check the voicemails, and as you can imagine, that did not go so well. My candidate suggested that she just check the voicemails every day. That meant a lot to me. Probably more than she even realizes. I felt bad that I couldn’t understand the voicemails, but that was such a small part of the job. I did everything else well and to the best of my ability.

One day, I tried to join a conference call and take notes on the call. It was not working. I was very upset, I remember. My boss, the campaign manager, could see that I was struggling, so he started taking notes of the call. He wanted to have a record of what we talked about, but he started summarizing what was being said on the phone, so that helped me stay as engaged as possible. After the call, my boss, candidate, and my other co-worker all said they had trouble understanding what was being said on the phone. That helped, and I just moved on after that. I didn’t feel pressure on the next conference call, and I was even told I didn’t need to sit through it.

I do remember one thing. I had to keep telling my candidate to stop covering her mouth when she talked. She just kept doing it! It’s fine, she never got upset when I asked her to repeat something. She did get a lot better towards the end of the campaign though. Still, I would sometimes have to say something like, “Move your hand!” Eventually, if I would say “I did not get that,” she immediately knew why I didn’t get it, and would move her hand and repeat what she said. I’ve never been afraid to be vocal about what I need, and it benefits everyone.

Fortunately, my boss spoke pretty loudly and clearly so I had hardly any issues with him! No one on the team would get mad if I asked them to repeat something, which is all I could really ask for. My first team gives me hope that the working world won’t be too bad. I always said I would never let my hearing loss hold me back, but unfortunately, there are realities I still have to deal with.

I am currently looking for my next job. I have some leads, and I am excited to see what the future holds for me. I think I will stay in politics for now. I want to be part of the change in this country and this world. I am still not sure what will necessary happen after the 2020 election, but that will be figured out later.

Stay tuned… Happy listening!

Miranda Meyers


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Senior Year: The Final Stretch

Posted By Miranda Meyers, Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Happy 2019! I am officially in my last semester of college and trying to figure out the next steps. I don’t know what to do with my life, but it will all work out at some point. For now, I’m just trying to focus on my classes. I want to take this coming summer off, so it is a bit too early to apply for jobs. I’m not sure of anything at this point but am open to anything that comes my way.

 Over winter break (ah!), I spent time with my family and friends near and far. I went to New Jersey to relax with my family at home and then we went to Western Massachusetts for a vacation. I went skiing for a few days with my dad and sister and watched a lot of movies with the family.  It was just nice to spend time with them. As I’m writing this, I’ve started thinking back to my freshman year at Rochester Institute of Technology. It was hard but now I’m totally not ready to leave. I’m excited to go someplace new, meet new people, and have different experiences but this has been my place for the last few years. It’s my comfort zone and now I have to leave it!

 I also went to Washington, D.C. over the break for a few days for some meetings with professionals in the political field about potentially running for office at some point in the future. I received helpful information about what it takes to be in politics in this country and it was a bit overwhelming. But, I am very glad I was able to learn more about the process and what I should do beforehand if I am serious about it. I am passionate about politics and the good we can do in the world and in our own country. I am also passionate about spreading the message about cochlear implants. One person I met with mentioned the possibility of working with a medical advocacy organization similar to the American Cochlear Implant Alliance.

 My life experiences have definitely impacted what I want to accomplish in my life. My values would not necessarily be the same if I had been born with typical hearing. I am lucky, and I know that. My parents worked hard to get me the technology I needed. They also worked with me constantly to practice and use my new hearing.

 Not everyone who is born deaf is lucky enough to even get cochlear implants and then have the therapy and rehabilitation that is necessary to enjoy the full benefits from cochlear implants. This is unfair; it is also not something I would have thought about if it were not part of my own life. Access to cochlear implants is not equally available to everyone in the United States. It often depends on where you live as area of the country impacts on the availability of CI care and especially the quality of early intervention and educational services.  The lack of information available about cochlear implants also varies. My family has been very involved in trying to spread the message of cochlear implants around the world. My mother’s film 95 Decibels (which premiered at the ACI Alliance conference in 2013) was my family’s major foray into spreading our message. This was definitely the start of my own personal political activism.

There is sometimes a lack of understanding of how important rehabilitation after surgery is for both children and adults. Therapy and thoughtful practice are needed to help recipients of all ages gain the full benefit from the technology.

 The values that I have taken from this have impacted on other aspects of my life. I feel strongly that equity should exist in healthcare. Sometimes cochlear implantation (and healthcare in general) is not equally available to everyone.  I feel like we should work to improve access—regardless of the type of insurance one has.

 In the context of someone with a hearing loss, being a self-advocate could mean asking “Can captions be placed on this video?” or “Could I move to the front so that I have better access to the speaker?”  I encourage others to advocate for themselves as well. People may not feel comfortable asking for help but I know what it’s like to feel alone and left out, so I try to be conscious of what other people need to be included and help if I can. I have worked hard throughout my life to get where I am today; I will continue to work hard to help me achieve my dreams and goals. 


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Psychosocial Health of Young Adults With Cochlear Implants

Posted By Miranda Myers, Thursday, September 6, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, September 5, 2018

About two weeks ago, we received an unsettling text from Miranda Meyers, who regularly shares with us her experiences as a college student with cochlear implants. That post was written out of the pain aroused by the tragic death of another college student who, like Miranda, was a CI user. Although she pointed out that she didn’t know her personally, the incident caused Miranda deep sorrow and provoked thoughts about difficulties among young people and specifically within the deaf population. Miranda wrote candidly and boldly, from her own life experience, about feelings of loneliness, alienation, and difficulty arising from the challenges faced by people with hearing loss who cope every day in a world of people with typical hearing.

Miranda’s post is a call to rehabilitation and hearing healthcare professionals to consider this aspect of the patient's well-being as an inseparable part of the rehabilitation of people with hearing loss. This call is consistent with the position of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as to other organizations and individual clinicians. There are already cochlear implant programs that are guided by a holistic approach towards rehabilitation. Yet, there is great importance in discussing this topic, which needs to be more widely explored in research and in the clinical setting so that people with hearing loss receive the comprehensive support and enjoy the best possible quality of life.

Thank you, Miranda.
Naama Tsach

A few weeks ago I woke up and checked Facebook like I always do. I saw a friend had posted an obituary, but I didn’t think much of it. Then a day later, I saw another friend post about their friend’s death, and the pictures looked eerily familiar. I put two and two together and realized both of those friends were talking about the same person. After reading the obituary, I realized this young woman had killed herself. And on top of that, I realized my two friends knew her because she had cochlear implants just like them. Whew. Reading about a suicide is hard enough, but learning that someone who is just like me decided to take her own life is devastating. I felt numb after realizing how she went.

This death has thrown me. I did not even know Melissa (the young woman who died) but it has hit me in a way I never knew possible. Melissa was deaf and had cochlear implants like me. She grew up with listening and spoken language just like me. She was my age, and she was just starting her life. She was just like me, and she decided she couldn’t suffer anymore. Unfortunately, these thoughts and actions are not uncommon in our community. Depression is a common secondary condition in people with disabilities. There are reports of higher rates of depression among deaf and hard of hearing people compared to the typical hearing population but accurate counts of suicidal behavior are not known.

Life is harder for us, and we live in a world that is not built for us. We do feel left out sometimes, and the pain that comes with being different can be too much to handle.

Awareness Among CI Professionals Should be a Priority
I think it is essential that professionals of all types in this field be aware of these higher rates of depression and that people with hearing loss should be taken care by multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams that include accessible mental health services as part of the medical care. Parents who pursue cochlear implants for their young children do so because they feel it will give them the best quality of life; as such, quality of life should include psychosocial health. These issues are not consistently considered as part of cochlear implantation as far as I know; they certainly were never brought up to me or to my parents. Audiologists, speech therapists, and even surgeons tend to focus on their own aspect of care. I understand that, they were trained in a specific aspect of care, and that’s what they are expert in. But, all medical practitioners in this field should also understand that this aspect of care is also essential. Parents need to be made aware of the possibility of mental health issues and what to look for in their deaf child who receives cochlear implants.

Inclusion of Psychologists in CI Practice
It would be absolutely wonderful if more psychologists and psychiatrists studied the effect of hearing loss on individuals including the long-term mental health outcomes of those who are implanted at a young age. It would also be wonderful if more therapists knew how to better care for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Life is hard and being different sure can make it a lot harder. We have to adapt to this world since it is not built for us. That can be tiring and defeating, and everyone in the field needs to understand that. One idea is to have CI centers provide information on recommended psychologists for patients to call if they feel the need to talk to a professional. Or, they could even have psychologist(s) on staff. Another idea is to encourage periodic sessions with recommended psychologists when patients come in for programming. This way the psychologist can keep an eye on the patient, and treat that patient if needed. Many people might benefit from participating in therapy regularly to just talk, even if they aren’t struggling with thoughts like Melissa had.

Support Groups Can Help

It is also so important that everyone in this community knows they are not alone. Many people in this community, including myself, have gone through periods where they feel they have nowhere to turn. They feel that no one truly understands, but that is simply not true. There are many thousands of us in the United States, and more around the world. Official and unofficial support groups are necessary. I am so thankful to have friends who have cochlear implants as well; we can just talk about things only we understand. I know that I am not alone in this world since I have them. Parents also need support. CI centers could play an integral part in organizing these, or even just introducing two kids of similar age so that they could meet. We often are the only kids in our school with cochlear implants so our activities after school typically don’t have kids with cochlear implants either. We do not necessarily know where to meet people similar to us, so professionals in this field have a responsibility to help organize those connections.

In the wake of Melissa’s death, it is so important that we never let anyone slip through the cracks like this again. This is a gap in our medical care that sorely needs to be filled. I am not a doctor or mental health professional, but I am sure some of these ideas are a good starting point. I hope to become a fierce advocate for these ideas. There must be other ways to help those with hearing loss of all ages maintain good mental health. Melissa’s death will not be in vain. Her memory will live on in the cochlear implant community.

Please check up on your friends, let everyone you love know you love them, and reach out if you’re struggling. Your life matters.



I attended high school with Melissa. Miranda raised the very important topic of potential loneliness and depression among young adult CI users, and greater awareness of these mental health issues among professionals working with this population is necessary. However, I want to clarify that this is not what pushed Melissa to suicide. During high school, she was diagnosed with another medical condition that significantly impacted her life. Throughout her time in high school, Melissa continued to take on all her battles with courage. Her parents were well aware of Melissa’s issues and made sure she received the necessary help and care.

Jessica Chaikof

Tags:  Cochlear Implants  Health  Psychosocial  Young Adults with CI  Young Adults with Cochlear Implants 

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Meeting with a Legislator

Posted By Miranda Meyers, Thursday, January 18, 2018

An amazing part of our country is our ability to talk to our elected officials about legislation and public policies that affect our daily lives. It is essential for people to be involved in the law-making process of our republic.

I have spoken to staff to US Congressional members in Washington D.C. about a cause near and dear to my heart: cochlear implants. I was younger when I did it, so I listened more than I talked at such meetings. But, being present at those meetings did have an impact on my perspective about such participation. A few weeks ago, I met with State Senator Joseph Robach from Western New York about a bill he introduced to the NY State legislature.

Doing Your Homework First
I learned that Joseph Robach is a Republican senator for the 56th district of New York. His father was an assemblyman in New York as well, and Senator Robach was elected to fill his father’s seat after his death. Joseph Robach was elected to the NY Senate in 2002 and has served since that time.

Focusing on a Key Issue
I found him to be a very nice man who was very willing to listen to me about my life and perspectives. The Senator introduced a bill that I assume is related to the national LEAD-K initiative. The bill states that a panel should be established in New York to observe the language acquisition of deaf and hard of hearing children through 5 years of age. If a child is not making progress, then the panel will make “recommendations.” This panel would be constituted to include a majority of individuals who are experts in ASL, so their recommendations would likely have a sign language bias.

I spoke with my parents about this because the best way to prepare for this meeting was to think about myself and relate it to my situation. Both of my parents said they would not be happy if a group of people told them their child was not progressing the way they should and forced changes on a process that was being overseen by highly skilled professionals in spoken language development. The way this bill is structured is that it would devise milestones based upon typically hearing children and would then compare a deaf child’s progress to hearing children. In my own situation, I was not completely caught up at 5 years old. I received my first cochlear implant at two years of age, so I was two years behind at that time. If my parents had to add ASL to my language development program before I was 5 years old, I believe that would have put me even more behind since the focus would have been split between ASL and listening and spoken language. Importantly, my parents did not know ASL but they did understand how to expand my exposure to spoken English. That’s what they wanted to focus on. It’s all about parent choice.

Why the Senator Got Involved in this Issue
The group that asked Senator Robach to introduce this bill came to him because he has experience with hearing loss. His daughter is hard of hearing and wears hearing aids. He said he wasn’t sure if the bill would move forward, but he was willing to introduce a bill for the group. He also said that he was very open to amendments to the proposed bill and that it was likely that he would make changes before bringing it to the floor. He noted that another group that came to talk to him about the bill included parents of children with cochlear implants and professionals in the field of hearing loss. The senator asked if I was part of that group. I am not; I went and spoke with him because this cause is important to me personally.

What happened as a result of my advocacy?
I would say the meeting was a success! I was in there for 45 minutes when the meeting was only scheduled for 30 minutes. He listened to all of my points and I think he really tried to understand my point of view. He talked a bit about how politics is a compromise and gave examples of bills that he worked on where he had to compromise. I tried to return the focus at times, but it was difficult. He was respectful of me, and I think he was trying to make sure I felt comfortable. It was a little intimidating being alone with a long-standing politician in New York State politics to be quite honest!

I prepared quite a bit for this meeting. I read the bill multiple times and took notes on it. It is rather easy to find the actual text of bills now online. This bill is only in committee right now, but the full version was right on his website. It was not the easiest thing to understand, but I took my time with it. I also communicated with Donna Sorkin at the American Cochlear Implant Alliance via email and on the phone. We discussed what the bill could mean for children with cochlear implants and the best way to approach this meeting. Donna emphasized relating everything back to myself and my family. How would my parents feel having a panel of people that didn’t know me and my situation and progress tell them what they should do? What would my life look like had this panel been in existence when I was little? The best way to get a point across is to relate it to yourself. I know without a doubt this meeting would not have been as successful if it weren’t for Donna’s help.

Meeting Outcome
The meeting ended on a good note, and I really felt like he listened to my points. I hope he pulls the bill from committee or at least amends the bill. He seemed intent on introducing something but not necessarily the original version of the bill. I think he cares about supporting children with hearing loss. I am unsure if any version will pass. Voting will commence in January when the legislature is back in session. I will be watching closely to see what ultimately happens with the bill. I am proud I did this. I am proud I stood up for something I believe in and took the steps to do it. It was nerve wracking, but I did it.

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My Summer Internship

Posted By Miranda Meyers, Saturday, September 30, 2017
Updated: Thursday, September 28, 2017


As a college student, one way to build one’s resume is through the coveted summer internship. They’re getting harder to come by. More college students are competing for the few internship spots at the largest companies. I was lucky to find an internship this summer and I didn’t have to look far to find it. I interned on a local political campaign right in my hometown. The candidate I was working for is running for the New Jersey State Assembly in the 21st Legislative District. It was an amazing experience that helped me grow in so many different ways. I had a lot of fun while helping out with this campaign!

There were a lot of aspects of this internship that were made a little more difficult because of my hearing loss. There were 5 other regular interns, and we always had to go canvassing. Canvassing is knocking on doors and giving residents of the Legislative District information on our candidate. This being an off-year election, canvassing is extremely important. I had to talk to a lot people I didn’t know, which is difficult for me. I’m pretty good with talking to people face to face, but it was still anxiety inducing, especially at first. Once I did it more and more, I became more confident and my anxiety level went down. There was only one canvassing experience that was bad due to my hearing loss. I knocked on the door and a woman answered who had a very thick Central American accent. I just pretended like everything was fine and asked for the woman who I was looking for, and the lady with the accent called her. But, the woman I was looking for was upstairs, and was speaking to me from the second floor of her foyer. I could see her but I could not see her mouth and there was a very large echo. I didn’t understand a single word she said after I said my spiel. So, I just said, “Here’s the literature! Have a great day,” and I left. It was horrible, but it was just one house and I was never going to see that woman again in my life, so I just shrugged it off and moved on.

The candidate and my direct boss, the campaign manager, would often ask me about my hearing loss and how it affected me. Since it was a political internship, the topic of healthcare came up quite a bit. There were times where they would ask me my experience going through the healthcare system since I am deaf. My deafness was a pre-existing condition, which was an intense topic this summer. They often felt my perspective was important on this topic. That was one great thing about working for such a local campaign—the interns were right there in the middle of all of the action.

Another aspect of this internship was phone banking. But, my boss said I didn’t have to do that if I didn’t feel comfortable. I chose not to. It was fine as there were always several other interns who were able to make the calls. I would just do work on the computer. It’s unfortunate but I just was not comfortable talking on the phone with people I didn’t know. I have a hard enough time talking to customer service representatives on the phone so I can’t even imagine talking to someone who’s getting an unexpected phone call. Convincing a random stranger to learn more about, or possibly even support, a cause requires confidence. I wasn’t confident at all so it was a choice that I made for myself and for the campaign. I wouldn’t be helping the campaign at all and I would have just become down on myself.

As with any new group of people, the interns and my direct boss were all shocked to learn I was deaf. One of the interns didn’t even know until we had our end of summer pizza party! I’m always proud of this because it proves both my and my parents’ hard work paid off. There were times where I wouldn’t get what was going on but I would just ask someone to explain what we were doing, and it was never a problem. It’s always difficult to navigate a new work or group situation but I did it fairly well. It helped a lot that all of the interns and my direct boss were so nice. They understood that I had a disability but nonetheless I was a strong contributor. I’m really glad I had this experience this past summer. I learned a lot about politics, which I love. It was also a good “practice run” for a real, paying internship or job in the future.

Miranda with candidate Phil Murphy, who is running for Governor of NJ.

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Posted By Miranda Meyers, Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017


In this post, Miranda shares valuable insights into the challenges faced by a student with a cochlear implant who is mainstreamed, attending school in a regular classroom. She is also demonstrating how she addressed those challenges in a way that was comfortable for her.

From an early age, Miranda received optimal auditory and educational support. The availability of a personal FM system during her early school years enabled her to cope with the communication and academic requirements in her classroom. As she aged, she herself defined her needs and she also managed those needs according to what she felt best served her—socially and academically.

Growing up with the experience of using assistive listening devices and learning self-advocacy skills has helped her cope successfully with even greater challenges as a college student. The way Miranda expresses her needs, takes responsibility, and works for what she believes is in her best interest, has made it possible for her to gain understanding and empathy among the people she encounters who can help her obtain what she needs.

In her own special way, Miranda manages the difficult task of coping in the classroom demonstrating her own positive and successful experience. This post is an inspiration for parents and teachers as well as for cochlear implant recipients of all ages.

Thank you, Miranda.
Naama Tsach



I mentioned in a previous post that I went to mainstream schools after preschool. As soon as kindergarten hit, I was in public schools. I was well prepared because of my preschool, the Summit Speech School. As a preschool for deaf and hard of hearing children, it aims to prepare its students for mainstream education. If it weren’t for the Summit Speech School, I’m not sure I would have done as well in school and in other settings.

Mainstreamed from Kindergarten On
I started kindergarten right on target, at 5 years of age. I don’t remember my first day at all, but I do have some memories of sitting on the floor doing some of the activities. I remember my teacher wore an FM system microphone. I used an FM system for a long time, all the way until high school. The technology improved and eventually the FM connected directly with my processor, and I would be the only person to hear it. 

Using an FM System
For a long while, I relied heavily on the FM system. It allowed me to hear my teacher extremely well and it was also easy to use. However, I stopped using it my freshman year of high school. I remember the first day of the second quarter that year when I decided I didn’t need it anymore. I was done using it. It was bothersome to pick up the FM every morning, give it to all seven or eight of my teachers, retrieve it each time at the end of class, and return it at the end of the day. This wasn’t an issue in elementary school as I was with one teacher throughout the day and they would store it at the close of the school day. But as I got older, it started to take time away from learning and I would repeatedly need to remind my teachers to turn it off if we were doing group work and back on when (s)he started to lecture again. Working in groups wasn’t as common as in elementary or even middle school, so this was a new issue that I had to deal with. It’s important to note that FM systems are not always used properly, putting the student in the position of advocating for its appropriate use. I did not have this issue, thankfully. I did benefit a lot from the FM system when I was younger and I am grateful to have had it at that age. It’s important that deaf and hard of hearing individuals determine what works best for them; what works for one individual, may not work for another.

My Decision to Discontinue Use of the FM System
I was totally fine without the FM system. In fact, it helped me gain so much more confidence since I knew I could hear without the assistance of yet another piece of technology. There was less attention on me since everyone knew the microphone the teacher wore was for me and that I had a “problem.” With the FM system, sounds that weren’t picked up by the microphone (i.e., my classmates) were just noise. I couldn’t hear what other people said, which made me feel left out. As I got further along in high school, it became more important to be able to participate in class discussions. Hence my decision to dump the microphone. Participating in class is important. Listening only to the teacher is never good enough. Oftentimes other students have important comments that add to the discussion. Also, if a student was asking the teacher a question, I didn’t know what the teacher was responding to. Only being able to hear the teacher was very isolating. I didn’t want to be different—I just wanted to be like everyone else and this was an important step for me. My confidence improved because I was more involved and included in class discussions. For a while, I thought classrooms were difficult. I couldn’t always hear everyone, especially when the teacher was wearing the microphone. Once I stopped using the FM, I could hear much more of what was going on. 

Preferential Seating
My IEP (Individualized Education Plan) noted that one of my accommodations was preferential seating. In middle school, I found it embarrassing to sit in front. But, once I got to high school I realized how beneficial it was for me. I was advocating for myself more and more as I got older, so I always told my teachers that I needed to sit in the front. If they said no, I would get a copy of my IEP sent to them and that settled everything. If I sat in the back, I wouldn’t be able to hear the teacher or understand my classmates, so the front was always the best place for me. (Some people prefer being more in the middle but the front works best for me.)

Reducing Classroom Noise Helped Me
Another one of my accommodations growing up was noise reduction, and that included silencers on the desks and chairs. It was so important for me because any extra noise is very distracting and I can’t focus. A lot of the hearing students appreciated the silencers too! The desks and chairs were so loud on the floors and any slight movement causes a screeching sound. I remember my first day of junior year, I was checking to make sure the desks and chairs had the silencers. But, I found the silencers were not on the desks and chairs in my English classroom. I was not happy. As soon as the day ended, I went to my case manager and she got it sorted out. It took a few days but eventually the furniture with the silencers was moved into that classroom too. 

Asking for Teachers Who I Could Understand
In high school, I took Spanish for three years. For Spanish II, I was placed in a classroom with a teacher who was a native Spanish speaker. It was not going well. I could not even understand her when she was speaking English! Trying to understand any Spanish when she was speaking was impossible. I spoke to my case manager about it and she agreed that the best solution would be to change to a section taught by a different teacher who was easier for me to understand. I could understand her when she spoke English as well as Spanish, for the most part. Not all classrooms work for everyone and that’s okay. I did much better with the other teacher, and I actually learned more Spanish since I could understand what everything meant in English!

Taking Charge of What You Need
The classroom is not always an easy place to be, even now in college. It can be difficult at times when teachers and professors don’t understand quite what they need to do to help you learn. I’ve always ended up being okay after talking to the teacher or professor about my specific needs. Sometimes it can be as simple as asking to switch seats; other times it’s asking that the teacher not wander all over the room while lecturing. Since I am now at Rochester Instute of Technology or RIT (where National Technical Institutre for the Deaf is located), the accommodations I need are readily provided. For example, I usually have note-taking and captioning when I request it. If I went to a different university, it might not have been so easy to obtain these accommodations. I am glad I’m here at RIT where I can readily have what I need. Another great thing is that if I miss something and I ask another hearing student what was just said, they’ll always help me. Everyone here is very understanding. This was the case in high school as well; people would tell me what I missed and I was always grateful for that.

I’ve always felt comfortable in the classroom. Any issue I’ve had in school has been resolved quickly and this has certainly contributed to the fact that I’ve never struggled in school. I’m thankful for all of the support I’ve had in school from my parents, guidance counselors, my case manager, support teachers, classroom teachers, and other students. Without their support, I would not have had the opportunity to do as well in school as I have. Classrooms can be hard but with the proper support, they can be a place of wisdom and dreams.



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Being the Only Deaf Person in the Family

Posted By Miranda Meyers, Monday, April 10, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I was born to hearing parents and am the only deaf person in my entire close and extended family, save for some elderly relatives who have lost some hearing due to age. The fact that my parents have typical hearing played a huge role in their choice to seek a cochlear implant for me. My life may have been different if my parents were D/deaf; they may have made different choices in how to raise me.

I would not be as much a part of my family if I didn’t have cochlear implants. My parents were able to include me in their culture because I am able to hear. I have a typical relationship with my hearing sister and I can communicate with her completely and fully. I do know that if my parents had chosen not to pursue a cochlear implant for me, they would have done their absolute best to learn sign language and teach it to my sister in order to include me in everything.

Sign Language in my Hearing Family
My immediate family would have learned sign language but I don’t think that my extended family would have. I don’t think it would have been compelling for extended family members to learn a language that they would only use with me. I’m able to be as much a part of large family gatherings as my hearing family members because I have cochlear implants. I have always been fully included in my family and my relatives have never treated me differently because of my deafness. They all know I’m deaf, obviously, but they don’t ever act like I’m different from any of my cousins or other relatives.

Being Deaf is One Part of Me
I think that members of my extended family don’t think of me as “the deaf family member.” I’m Miranda to them—another member of the family. I can say the same of my immediate family. Being deaf is a part of me, just like the fact that I have brown hair. It’s not as trivial as the color of my hair, but it really is not important in my individual relationships with family members. I do think that my parents and my sister are fully aware of my deafness since I am around them quite often. Cochlear implant advocacy is also very important to us but it’s not the only thing we do together. The fact that there’s more to me than being deaf helps—I have other interests and other things to talk about.

Asking for Repeats
My family members do have to be patient with me sometimes, and thankfully they are. They did have to learn that hearing does not come as easily and as naturally to me as it does to others. There are times when I don’t understand what my family members are saying, but they are considerate about that and readily repeat what they said. I don’t remember who told them or when they were told that I would not understand everything all the time, but I assume they were told at some point. My grandparents, and my parents especially, are keenly aware of how I best communicate. They know I best understand them when I am able to talk to them face to face. One thing I had to talk to my parents and sister about is calling me to come to where they are rather than trying to talk to me from a different room. It is difficult for me to understand what anyone is saying when I don’t have visual cues. Now they know and they are pretty good about it. That’s usually a non-issue with other relatives since I don’t live with them.

My grandparents are getting older so their hearing is not as good as it once was. When I am with them, it’s always fine because we understand that we all need a quieter environment and visual cues. At family events when all the cousins and aunts and uncles are there, I usually ask someone else to repeat or catch me up if I miss anything; they don’t seem to mind. I don’t know when, or even if, they were told they needed to be more patient with me. They’ve probably learned from experience and being around me often.

Be Your Own Best Advocate
It is important to advocate for what you need. As hard as it is, you need to be comfortable asking for what you need. Even to this day, there are many times when I must remind family members about something that I need to help me, or educate them on ways to better help me. One example that I can think of that came up recently was using the phrase “Never mind.” It is hurtful when hearing people say “Never mind” to me if I ask them to repeat themselves. It feels as though they don’t care about including me. When a family member said “Never mind” to me after I asked them to repeat what they said, I explained that was really hurtful and I explained why. They felt so bad, and they honestly had no idea it had upset me so much. But, now they do and hopefully they won’t say it again!

My parents raised me to be part of their world and I am glad they chose that route. I am a complete part of my family even though I’m the only deaf member of the family. I’m able to communicate fully with every member of my family. I am thankful that my parents decided to work their best to integrate me into their world so I could be fully part of it and fully part of their families. Without my cochlear implants and ability to hear, I would not be as integrated into my family as I am.


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My Bilateral Cochlear Implant Experience

Posted By Miranda Meyers, Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Updated: Monday, March 6, 2017
My Bilateral Cochlear Implant Experience

As I mentioned in my first post, I have two cochlear implants. I received my first one on my right ear at two years of age. 16 years later, at age 18, I received my second CI. I had never worn a hearing aid on my most recently implanted ear.

At the time, I thought it was kind of crazy to get another implant when I was 17. I grew up with one CI and felt I was completely fine. It wasn’t something that I had planned doing. I remember my parents asking me if I wanted a second CI when I was 10 or 11, and I said, “I’m fine, so no,” and that was that. Other family members would sometimes ask me about it. During those five years, I met more people my own age with two cochlear implants and I would think, “Why not me?” 

And Then Everything Changed

When I was 17 and a junior in high school, a lot started to change in my life. I had just gotten my driver’s license, the college search began to ramp up, and life was going fast. So, I told my parents I wanted to go for it. I wanted to hear out of BOTH ears. They were surprised. I think they thought it just came out of left field. I don’t blame them for thinking that because I was totally fine with my life and my hearing the way it was. But I wanted to see if a second CI would help me.

Going for a Second CI

I decided I really wanted to do it, so we made some calls and appointments to get the ball rolling. Throughout this process, many professionals told me to keep my expectations low. They did not believe I would get much benefit from a second cochlear implant since it had been so long since my first implant and I had never worn amplification. The surgery was scheduled for November 19, 2014. I had my 18th birthday the week before.

The surgery went smoothly. One month later, my parents and I went to the cochlear implant center for the activation. Honestly, it was awful. I heard nothing—I just felt popping sounds on my right (other) side. When my audiologist asked me if I was hearing anything, I said, “I think I’m feeling something? On the other side?” I have no idea why I reacted this way, but everyone seems to react differently to cochlear implant activation. I was underwhelmed and disappointed as I thought I wasn’t hearing anything. I kept thinking it was a mistake and I shouldn’t have done it. The process had been mentally and emotionally draining. We went back the next day for a second mapping and then again a week later, then the next month. Each time my audiologist would raise the volume and expand the frequency range. My hearing started getting better, I wasn’t “hearing” sounds, but the “feeling” sensation was getting stronger. That was good though, as I was told as it meant the nerves were starting to work and were noticing sound was coming from somewhere. It was hard for me to accept because I wanted instant results but that wasn’t going to happen.

Realizing Benefit Took Time and Practice

The first month was very difficult for me. I wanted everything to sound the way I heard them through my first CI. I had to convince myself that I needed to keep doing the work and it would start to be okay. For the first few weeks, my hearing was different, and it was uncomfortable at times. I did want to take the left implant off a few times, but I convinced myself to keep it on all the time. And I did; I wore the second implant all day long. Around the third week, I was getting used to it, and everything was starting to sound good! High-pitched sounds would bother me sometimes, but I could function just like I did before the second implant. Per directions from my audiologist and auditory verbal therapist, I did a lot of practice with just my new ear; I would take off my original CI processor when I was eating dinner with my family, when I was watching TV, or even just doing homework. I couldn’t wear just that one for long since I wanted to hear, but it was important that I did that. It helped train my left ear. Also, my AV therapist suggested practice exercises to do at home, so I would do them with my parents.

Two Years Out—A Successful Outcome

Now, I can happily say it has been a success. My left ear will never be as good as my right ear, but I am at peace with that now. It’s a support ear. But, everything sounds so much better and so much fuller now that I have bilateral implants. Another positive aspect about hearing double is if something happens to my right ear, either internally or externally, I will still be okay as I would be able to hear and understand most sounds.

I had been told by CI professionals that a second implant would help me with localizing sound. For the first year and a half, I didn’t notice that it was helping with that aspect at all. Now I am noticing that I can localize sounds a lot better than when I had one CI. I don’t hear as well as a typically hearing person, nor someone who received their second cochlear implant when they were younger, but I do think with more time I will continue to improve at localizing sounds. I hear better in noisy environments now, such as noisy restaurants. Before I had two CIs, I did not like going to noisy restaurants but now I don’t mind it. I can’t explain exactly why the second CI helped—I just know it has. I’m able to better follow and participate in conversations.

I still take off the processor for my original CI from time to time and listen to music with just my left ear to see how it’s doing. It seems to me that there’s still improvement after two years! I can now have conversations with those I know with just my left ear. Another interesting development is if I have both processors on but sound is only going into my left side, I can hear almost as well as if it were coming in from my right side. It’s as if the connections in my brain are almost complete.

I am grateful that I decided to pursue a second cochlear implant. Going through this difficult process made me grow as a person and it taught me a lot about myself. I learned that I can negotiate hard situations. I am generally not a patient person, but I had to be patient throughout this process and wait for the results. All of the hard work was worth it and if I keep working hard, there will hopefully be even more improvement in hearing bilaterally in the years to come.


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A Young Adult’s Perspective

Posted By Miranda Meyers, Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017


We are so excited to present our new Young Adults Blog, which offers an important perspective through the eyes of a talented young woman. The writer, Miranda Meyers, is a college student who was implanted in early childhood and received her second CI at the age of eighteen. I hope you enjoy Miranda's first post. I can't wait to see her future contributions. Welcome Miranda!

Naama Tsach


Hello all! My name is Miranda Meyers and I am a 20-year old student at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. I am deaf and have two cochlear implants. I was born deaf but my parents did not learn that I was deaf until I was 18 months old. My parents have typical hearing, so after a lot of research they decided a cochlear implant would be the best option for me. I received my first implant at two years of age and my second one at age 18. I am so thankful for my parents’ choice because if it weren’t for my ability to hear with my cochlear implants, I would not be where I am today. It’s been a long journey of hard work, but it’s been so worth it.

I was born in New York City and was raised in New Jersey. I went to the Summit Speech School in New Jersey for preschool and attended a mainstream public school beginning in kindergarten. I was in mainstream classrooms throughout my school career with accommodations like preferential seating, an FM system, and notetaking. The Summit Speech School prepared me so well for mainstream education. I was a very successful student throughout all stages of my school career and continue to be one. I graduated from high school with honors, and I am in the honors program here at RIT.

Advocating for cochlear implants has been a very important part of my life and my family’s as well. My mother is a filmmaker and made a short film called 95 Decibels about her and my dad’s experience with having a deaf child and deciding to give her the gift of hearing. I even make a cameo at the end of the film! The film has been shown all around the world from New York City to Dublin, Ireland. It is a beautiful story that provides a platform to initiate a discussion on this decision. The film was shown at the ACI Alliance CI2013 Symposium in Washington, D.C. My mother and I participated on a panel after the film to answer questions and discuss my life. It was wonderful to talk about it and answer questions from professionals in the field. It was a very proud moment in my life and I hope to be able to continue to advocate for cochlear implants on a large scale.

I hope to use this blog to share my experiences relating to my deafness and my life as a young adult with cochlear implants. Life is a little different as a cochlear implant user compared to a typically hearing person my age, but there are many more similarities than differences. I hope to help other people my age as well as professionals in the field better understand my generation’s life in between the hearing and deaf worlds. I can’t wait!

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The mission of the American Cochlear Implant (ACI) Alliance is to advance access to the gift of hearing provided by cochlear implantation through research, advocacy and awareness.