Esteem Recipient Jill McAlister Seizes Life After Esteem Activation
For the first 26 years of her life, Jill McAlister thought her anxiety, loneliness and insecurity were merely effects of her type A personality. Following her first Esteem Hearing Implant activation, she realized that wasn’t the case: her apprehension was due to her hearing loss.
“They said it wouldn’t happen right away, but I became a completely different person immediately after my activation,” said Jill.
Born with moderate-to-severe hearing loss in both ears, Jill was diagnosed at 4 years old and wore hearing aids through early adulthood. Jill’s audiologists told her that she was doing well with hearing aids, and for the most part she was. She was very successful academically and seemed to be acclimating to the challenges of hearing loss. Personally, however, she didn’t feel as assured. Even the simplest of tasks would stress her out and she always shied away from social situations for fear of embarrassment.
“With hearing aids, everything was so much harder. I couldn’t distinguish which sounds were important and which ones weren’t, and that is an exhausting way to live,” Jill explains. “Everything I did required an enormous amount of effort and if I didn’t deem it worth the effort, I just wouldn’t do it.”
Lost with Hearing Aids
Driving with the windows down, riding a bike and social situations were just a few uncomfortable and tiresome activities for Jill. With hearing aids, she would hear so many unnecessary sounds; it was a struggle for her to process all that was going on around her. This difficulty led her to pursue a profession as a special education teacher.
“While I never struggled academically, I certainly understand what it is like for life to be harder,” says Jill. “That’s why I am so passionate about my students and can relate to what they go through.”
Esteem Hearing Activation Experience
Jill was nervous when it was time to have her implant turned on and wasn’t sure what to expect. Her parents were in the room with her, each blocking their faces with an iPad and camera to capture the moment on film. When Jill’s implant was turned on for the first time her dad turned to her mom and whispered, “This was worth every penny.” To which Jill responded, “Yes it was.” Her parents were shocked that she could hear what before would have been their private conversation.
New Take on Life
Once her sound was switched on, Jill and her parents headed to the beach so she could hear the waves crashing for the first time. She was shocked to hear the sound of her own voice, the sounds of chewing and everyday sounds of a home, like the cycles of the washing machine. She was even surprised by some sounds; one day she popped the lid of a jam jar and it was so loud and clear, she was convinced someone had rung her doorbell.
Since finding Esteem, Jill has vowed to live each day to the fullest, adding skydiving and Niagara Falls to her list of completed adventures. For her, the best sound in the world is being able to hear her niece and nephew talking in the backseat of her car.
Having the peace of mind to hear her niece and nephew and play with them in any setting is the greatest gift for Jill. In fact, her niece is convinced she found Esteem just so she could enjoy playing at the indoor waterpark with her.
Watch Jill as her sound was turned on. Click here to view her activation video here.
* Individual results from the Esteem Hearing Implant® may vary