Listening Closely: A Journey to Bilateral Hearing


Imagine what it would be like not to hear a sound—no music, no friendly voices, no children's laughter. Arlene Romoff doesn't have to imagine how it would feel: she lived it. Although she was born with normal hearing, in her late teens it began to slip away, as if someone were lowering the volume of the world around her. Over the next twenty-five years, Arlene began a long, slow descent into deafness so profound that no hearing aid or assistive device could help. The experience ...

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Imagine what it would be like not to hear a sound—no music, no friendly voices, no children's laughter. Arlene Romoff doesn't have to imagine how it would feel: she lived it. Although she was born with normal hearing, in her late teens it began to slip away, as if someone were lowering the volume of the world around her. Over the next twenty-five years, Arlene began a long, slow descent into deafness so profound that no hearing aid or assistive device could help. The experience was devastating.

But then Arlene opted for what she considers a miracle: She got a cochlear implant. Using electrodes threaded into the cochlea, an internal computer chip, and an external computer processor, cochlear implants bypass the damaged portion of the cochlea and stimulate the auditory nerve directly, allowing sound to reach the brain. Amazingly, she could hear again.

Arlene's journey, however, isn't just about the magic of technology. What she endured reveals as much about the strength of the human spirit, about the wonders of chance and fate, and about making the most of what life dishes out. For Arlene, events seemed to unfold almost as if they were a part of some elaborate plan: just when she went deaf, her insurance company began paying for the implants. And ten years later, when her old cochlear implant finally failed she received new state-of-the-art technology and underwent yet another metamorphosis—one that helped her continue to counsel others in a similar situation.

LISTENING CLOSELY will give you a chance to walk in Arlene Romoff's shoes, to understand the pain of her loss and the joy of once again being able to hear the music of the world. Those suffering from hearing loss—or who have loved one who is—will find Arlene's very special journey both inspirational and informative.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936140213
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,250,897
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Arlene Romoff co-founded Advocates for Better Communication, the advocacy committee of the Center for Hearing and Communication (CHC), and the Hearing Loss Association of New Jersey. She also serves as a governor-appointed member of the NJ Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advisory Council, and sits on other advisory boards in the state. In 2010, she received HLAA’s State Organization Award.

She is the author of the book HEAR AGAIN—BACK TO LIFE WITH A COCHLEAR IMPLANT, as well as numerous articles for magazines and newsletters. Her pioneering efforts helped bring open captioned live theatrical performances to Broadway, London, and regional U.S. theaters, for which she received the Humanitarian Award from Theater Resources Unlimited. Considered an expert on hearing loss, Arlene is consulted and speaks on a wide range of topics including cochlear implants, assistive technology, accessibility, advocacy, and sensitivity training.

Arlene has two grown children and resides in New Jersey with her husband, Ira.

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Table of Contents

Preface 11

Prologue 13

Laying the Foundation

Phase 1 From Normal to Deaf in Twenty-five Years 21

Phase 2 Cochlear Implants-Surgery and Activation 27

Phase 3 Capabilities and Limitations 31


Phase 1 Twenty-four Days of Silence 37

March 14, 2008: What I've Learned So Far-Five Days without Sound 41

March 18, 2008: What I've Learned So Far-Nine Days without Sound 43

March 21, 2008: Pre-Op Testing 46

March 23, 2008: The Secrets of the Broken CI World 48

March 26, 2008: Adventures and Exhaustion 51

March 27, 2008: Day Before Surgery 52

Phase 2 Replacing the Cochlear Implant 55

April 2, 2008: Activation Day-I Can Hear Again! 56

April 4, 2008: Reaping with Joy-The Wedding 58

April 10, 2008: From Silence to Sound-One Week 59

April 12, 2008: Compare and Contrast 61

April 28, 2008: Some New Tricks 62

May 18, 2008: Doing "Better"-Gold, Silver, Bronze 63

May 20, 2008: Moving Toward Bilateral 65

May 31, 2008: Patience and Piano 66

June 8, 2008: TV as Therapy 67

June 12, 2008: B and B and Yosemite 69

July 6, 2008: Three-month Real-life Evaluation 73

July 10, 2008: Official Three-month CI and Bilateral Evaluation 75

July 20, 2008: Wake-up Calls 78

July 26, 2008: The Persistence of Memory 81

August 4, 2008: The Ultimate Computer 83

August 14, 2008: Behaving Myself 84

August 24, 2008: Arts and Crafts 86

August 25, 2008: The Sand and the Sea 88

Phase 3 Bilateral Cochlear Implants 91

August 31, 2008: Thinking Bilateral 91

September 7, 2008: Out of the Comfort Zone 93

September 16, 2008: Arlene's Electrifying Bilateral Cochlear Implant Surgery Episode 94

September 18, 2008: Bilaterally Enabled 98

October 1, 2008: Waiting 100

October 2, 2008: Bilateral Activation! 102

October 4, 2008: Two Ears/Two Days 106

October 7, 2008: Stereo 110

October 10, 2008: Days of Awe 113

October 17, 2008: Finding Happiness 116

October 23, 2008: Revelations 118

October 26, 2008: Better in Noise 120

October 31, 2008: Playing for Real 122

November 25, 2008: Practice and Progress 123

November 29, 2008: The First Thanksgiving 126

December 7, 2008: Intermediate Level 129

December 11, 2008: Sound Decisions 131

December 22, 2008: Small Surprises 134

January 3, 2009: Matched Marvels 137

January 11, 2009: One Good Turn 139

January 16, 2009: Orientation 143

January 19, 2009: Born Yesterday 145

February 1, 2009: The Sand and the Sea Reprise 148

February 16, 2009: The Visit 151

February 23, 2009: Directionality Redux 156

March 3, 2009: Hidden Agendas 159

April 4, 2009: Tears of Joy 161

April 26, 2009: Lasting Impressions 163

Epilogue 167

How a Cochlear Implant Works 169

Acknowledgements 171

Index 173

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 25, 2011


    Arlene Romoff chronicles the dizzying ups and downs of her journey with the trauma of hearing loss, eventual restoration of precious hearing with a cochlear implant and then the break down of her vital electronic friend. Deciding to undergo scary surgery to have a new cochlear implant installed required the significant support of her husband, children, friends, doctors and contacts in many organizations which advocate for people with hearing loss. Arlene's brave, honest, personal and uplifting narrative inspires all readers to more fully appreciate the wonder of sound and how necessary it is for everyday life. Beautifully written!

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  • Posted April 17, 2011

    A Must Read!!!

    Arlene's describes her awesome journey, going bilateral, in her latest book. Listening Closely: A Journey to Bilateral Hearing, will make one feel the struggle and then know the joy of once again having bilateral hearing.
    Arlene's latest book will catch your attention at the beginning and hold it to the finish. A very good read.
    I recommend Arlene's book to anyone interested in getting cochlear implants, they are truly a man made miracle that allows the deaf to hear again.

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  • Posted April 9, 2011


    Arlene Romoff writes a wonderful inspiring testimony of being able to hear beautiful sounds again through the miracle of Bilateral Cochlear Implants. Reading her book was a wake-up call for me that there is hope. I have a severe hearing loss, and have tried all the best hearing aids, but I was never able to recognize speech with hearing aids. I was finally told by my hearing aid dispensor that a Cochlear Implant would be my best hope of ever hearing normal speech again.

    Listening Closely is a wonderful book I would recommend for anyone thinking of getting a Cochlear Implant.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    A Must Read

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Arlene Romoff's latest book, Listening Closely. She has a beautiful flair for writing about her feelings both positive and negative and I am sure many hearing impaired people can relate to this. Like Arlene, I too am deaf and I also am a bilateral Cochlear Implant user. I had taken this book to Longboat Key last week where we spent a few days vacationing with our children and grandchildren who had rented a house on the beach. It was just a beautifully serene setting and reading her book in this setting made me so much more aware of the sounds I had so easily gotten used to and unfortunately, I must say, started taking for granted. It gave me a new awareness of all of the beautiful sounds which I so missed when I couldn't hear. While sitting on the beach all by myself, I became more aware of the slapping of the fronds on the palm trees and the raucous chattering of the sea birds. How beautiful it all sounded. Whenever I start to take this gift of hearing for granted, I will pick up this book and remember to listen closely again. This book gives hope that the gift of sound with cochlear implants, is indeed possible. Arlene has a gift of expressing herself and does it so well in Listening Closely.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    Recommended reading for anyone with a hearing loss!

    When I was researching cochlear implants for myself, I read Arlene Romoff's first book, "Hear Again". It was the inspiration for making the decision to go forward with the cochlear implant surgery. My life was changed forever!

    The 'Listening Closely' sequel is the perfect companion book. Arlene went through 10 years of excellent hearing with her cochlear implant, only to have her device stop functioning. One minute she was hearing and living her life, and the next she was plunged back into silence.

    This book takes the reader through the emotions and frustrations of being deaf again. The reimplanting surgery, learning to hear with more advanced technology, and then taking it all one step further and deciding to implant her other ear....being bilateral!

    Most people take hearing with two ears for granted. I know I sure did! Arlene finally gets to hear in 'stereo' again, and thanks to Advanced Bionics and some very high tech software, she is hearing music like she can't believe.

    This is the story of a true bionic woman. It's also a look into the life of someone with a hearing loss. Getting a cochlear implant is a choice. Not everyone will make this choice, but for those that do, the world can open back up in a river of sound and emotions. Let Arlene take you through her journey. Read this book, you will be glad you did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011


    Arlenes Book is a must read. I couldnt put this book down.If it wasnt for Her first book Hear Again I wouldnt be wearing my Cochler Implant right now. Arlene has Bilateral cochlear implants that helps her to hear. After reading Listening Closely about Her Journey with Bilateral cochlear implants she has given me alot of hope and strength now that I have a cochlear Implant. This book is amazing. Pick your copy up today. You will be glad you did.

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