I'm Christopher Mayo, a 32 year old husband and father of one. I have been deaf since I was 3 years old, losing my hearing thanks to medicine that was given to me when I had my tonsils removed. I am profoundly deaf in my right ear (no hearing) and severe to profound in my left ear (about 15% of hearing left). As I grew up, I wore a behind the ear (BTE) hearing aid in my left throughout school and early work life, but could never wear anything in my right ear since I had no hearing. During the summer, when I was 19 years old, I had come down with a bad allergy-based cold. I was sneezing up a storm and my ears became clogged due to sinus pressure. But over the course of the summer, I had noticed that my hearing seemed to reduce drastically over time in my left ear...even with the hearing aid to help.
When Halloween that year came around, shortly after I turned 20, I lost my hearing fully in my left ear. I was a manager at Blockbuster at the time, so I had to put in for a leave of absense, causing me to lose funds across the board since I was not working. My father took me to multiple audiologists and ENTs to see what was going on, but no one could figure out how I lost the rest of my hearing. It got to the point where I became suicidial since all throughout my life, I had relied on some semblance of sound...but at that point...there was none. My dad took me to a psychologist, whom after an initial evaluation, referred us to the Reading Hospital, where they did a battery of tests. In the meantime, at home, my mom was trying ear cones every day to try a holisitc approach. A few days in, after doing an ear cone, she pulled it out of my ear and as we opened it, we found a LARGE piece of wax (about 2 inches long). I tried putting on my regular hearing aid and could hear sounds after 3 months of not being able to!! While that was happening, the specialists at Reading Hospital pushed through to set me up with a new breakthrough, the cochlear implant, which went through some big changes that year. A few short weeks later, I had undergone surgery to receive a cochlear implant to help better my hearing, which was put in my right ear. Thanks to this surgery and with the ever-decreasing hearing in my left ear, this enabled me to go back to work and do what I always wanted to do - become a store manager, which I accomplished shortly afterwards.
Now, 12 years later, 1 majorly expensive repair later, I am on my last backup for the original cochlear implant, called the Nucleus Freedom. My life has changed dramatically over the years, as I got married and had a child. Now, more than ever, I need to upgrade my hearing aid in order to benefit from the new technology to be able to hear my family, but to also continue to work as I rely on the cochlear more and more every day. The upgrade is ungodly expensive, at just a little over $10,000 (like buying a car!!!) to get the latest! But in order to function and to help myself and my family stay afloat, it needs to be done. Our insurance will not cover the hearing aid since it is considered a beauty instead of neccessity and cochlear themselved will not take monthly payments. The funds that we get will be going towards the full payment for the Nucleus 7 Cochlear hearing aid and any accompanying expenses. My family and I thank all of you for your prayers, love, and support!
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