Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sometimes I still miss my old steady Hearing Aid , or HA for short..

I have been wearing HA since almost a year old , it helped me me tremendously , and although I've had changed a lot of brands , the latest I had ( Widex Senso P ) was a digitalie and it was my companion for almost ten years straight from the moment I woke to the moment I went to bed..

I miss the feeling of the earmold..I still feel strange without it..But..no more ear infections!!

But I've been hearing for almost 3 months with CI and mostly I love it..Only problem is the morning jolt that makes me really grumpy..

I've tried the strategies the audie mapped..

First slot is ADRO which I used consistently , but it's very crisp..helps me when I'm driving , or am talking with a bit of people more than two or three..but I don't like it too much although I admit it helps me in some situations..B/c my parent's house is mostly marble floors and pretty large , makes a bit of an echoy sound.So no more ADRO till I go back to my apartment!

Second slot is Auto sensitive , LOVE it.Makes the morning jolt more bearable!I've been trying it the last few days ( hadn't thought of it before , as I'm used to digital aid with only one mapping , plenty changed for me , I still adjust! ) and so far , I love it!!Softens some sounds and focuses to others..Only problem that I find is that either with ADRO or Auto , I'm still annoyed with the damn clock!It's driving me bonkers!

Third slot is Focus..It'll be useful to college or too noisy situations but I haven't had cause to use it much, not even to noisy caff's for the reason that any map I use, I can't bear music..makes me feeling soooo breathless!!!I absolutely LOATHE it.. So when i'm at any caff I usually pop the coil off , or remove the CI altogether and focus on lipreading!

Fourth and last slot is Music , but I haven't used it much as I loathe it..Maybe at my third mapping appt will be some things be fixed up..

Also , it's very humid at my parents' place..The couple of times that I neglected to Dry and Store my CI had terrible sounds and loathed how it sounded!!Also , I've been here exactly 3 weeks , and the brik is almost depleted , give it another 2 days and it'll be thrown away..I can't believe it!

I can't wait to start again speech therapy , makes me feel like I am progressing!!

Oh and if I hear anyone talking , to any length of the house I always go in to investigate..May it be the back yard were mum has her washing line , or the front balcony where she talks with neighbors,or my family between them at any room , even with the door closed,or even the neighbors chatting at their own balcony..It's amusing to always see me pop up to investigate , although I can't do word discrimination yet..LOL!!

I also heard my father cutting a watermelon ( was a soft 'fss' sound ) and I was also chatting with him..and I had an CI watermelon moment..which was spoiled pretty quickly as he started making noises on purpose which I find REALLY annoying!

So , I still adjust and find it fabulous , except music..oh and the loads of people that meet up and after a chat to inform them of my CI , they believe that I was cured..Or they start to do noises on purpose to 'test' me like they have the rights to do it..they DON'T and it's my life , my CI and my limits!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wedding and CI moments

Today was my cousin's wedding , and she's my favourite , always stood by me and we have a pretty good relationship! Her husband is very nice too and I like him a lot,he's the best my cousin would have!

The wedding ceremony was very romantic, and I had a couple CI moments..Once , while I admired the bride , someone sneezed and automatically thinking that was someone near me I automatically said the equivalent of 'Bless you' in Greek..Then after getting no reply I investigated , and she was three rows behind!!With my old aid I'd never had heard that..I also had my camera to shoot some pics and I always heard the shutter..I was amazed , especially after I realized I heard the shutter of the professional man's too!!

At the wedding reception I had a smashing time , was dancing the night away ( at some point I even removed my high heels LOL ) and talked to distant relatives and friends of family..a lot of people..The food was terrible though!!And it's the same at every wedding I've been!!
At first we danced Greek dances and such as I loved to dance generally , got straight away , but when we did modern numbers , even my brother got up for a couple dances! And sometime I was standing near an uncle and was trying to talk to him when the groom put his fingers in his mouth and whistled shrilly , and I had heard that!!

I was so amazed that I immediately told some relatives that knew what was my CI and they were impressed! Although a lot of them thought that the magnet was some sort of hairpin or hairdo to keep my hair off my face , it wasn't the main use of it..although it did help with it!!

Sadly , tomorrow or the day after tomorrow I'm going back to the real world..College duties , new mappings , AVT/speech training/therapy, and of course..paying the bills! *aighhh*

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Speech reading and Sounds!

It's been almost three months since my operation , and subsequent activation ( was activated early , four days post op ). And I can't believe it..

With my trusty Widex SensoP I was able to speak on the telephone with my mother and some relatives,few friends. But as speech reading aided me my whole life , and I also was really pleased with my progress..That was , until my hearing started failing...

At activation , I remember 'feeling' the sounds through my stomach..I was feeling like my every nerve was on fire..My heart was on fire! Thumping and thumping!!

I also remember that I tired after fifteen minutes , and my mother always 'testing' me with little sounds , annoying the hell out of me..LOL!

I have to note that I prided myself that I never suffered with tinnitus..I had of course read up that CI helps to cure tinnitus , and the only problem I had was 'overstimulation' especially after a tiring day , or in the bus..where I usually would turn it off or else I'd develope a good headache...

This period had its ups and downs..

Things that I never heard of , and now I hear are :

- plastic bottle compressing/crushing ( my mother does that so it will have less space at the garbage bin ) that now , annoys the hell out of me , I literally can't stand it!!

- my laptop fan..couldn't hear it...or it was much quieter..now I feel like it is filling the room..I will soon learn to tune it out!!

- the clock ticking..at first I was so amazed..then I got annoyed and I removed the battery ( my mother is going to have a conniption when she notices it..LOL!! she hasn't yet! )

There sure are other sounds that I forget to transcript...

Side effects from the operation is the tinnitus..They've told me that it will eventually go away , but , when?!? I can't even have a lie - in.. as soon as I am half awake , my ear starts 'weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' and I can't go back to sleep!!another is when I hear a new noise and when it's particular loud , the left side of my tongue goes momentarily numb ( that also happens when I happen to stick my finger and move around to dislodge the wax ). I hope these discomforts will go away after some time , and most people assure me of it..

Oh and yesterday a friend asked me ( noticed that I didn't have the CI on ) if I have any regrets! I said no regrets , just saving my batteries ( will say why soon ) , and we were sitting at a cafeteria with loud music ( music makes me feel breathless in the bad way , so if I'm sitting somewhere I turn it off , I will post it sometime ).

The hardest thing by far , is to wean myself off speech reading when I'm wearing it, and seeing as it's become a habit my entire life , it's pretty hard!!

Oh and there is another 'side-effect' that I think that is really positive!! Before CI , I tended to speak really loud and sometimes fast and everyone told me always to tone it down! Now I'm speaking slower and in lower volume and also I have better speech , but it's hard on my friends that aren't used to it and sometimes they complain as they are seeing me usually outside at caffeterias with all the noise..Better yet , I always keep that even when I've removed the CI for any length of time , and that makes me HAPPY!!

The only strains so far is to wean myself off speech reading when I've got the CI on, and to get better at speech reading when I don't have it on , I was so used to the sound of the voice with speech reading that now it's a real challenge to dissassiocate it, I find sometimes I can't even speech read !! LOL!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sound of Cochlear Implant

The title of the blog is a bit strange , isn't it ? :)

My favorite movie was Sound of Music , with the Von Trapp Family..All this sunny and musicy and singing always got into my heart , and their unique way of teaching something so pure , got into me..

So when I debated what would be the title , there was no dispute!! Sound of Music..Sound of Cochlear Implant..sounds kinda catchy , doesn't it?

Since activation day , I've been discovering that life has a new meaning with loads of sounds!

So I think that the title fits..Don't you ? I feel like an child explorer , always amazed , sometimes laughing , sometimes surprised, and sometimes too annoyed...

I wish that miracle will always be like new to me , that I always will feel like I have the biggest Christmas present at my lap!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A little background..

Since most , if not all , fellow CI users I happen to know are abroad , I decided to start this blog in English to share all my adventures with my almost three month old CI.( God, I sound like I have a baby...LOL )

I was born almost deaf , in Greece , and from the start my mother noticed that I didn't seem to be hearing anything..Everyone in my family thought that my mother was just overprotective and overreacting..And all the doctors said it probably was fluid in my ears..All these back at 1983 , although in Greece there was not even a chapter for the Deaf anywhere in the country!
So , my parents ( although my mother always had her suspicions ) were rudely awakened when our local ENT doctor said that even if I was an 8month baby at the time , I wasn't responding , and even the babbling I had started seemed to decrease ..

From my mother's descriptions , I was an happy baby ,all the time smiling and always curious..And always wanting to follow my older brother..I wasn't hearing , but I was clever and quick to get the lead from my brother..

After an consultation , my parents arranged an trip in NY,USA , to do all the exams that they thought...My parents wanted the best for me , and they decided to combine it with their first experience of an abroad trip!

They had a good time , and since they did not knew English ( still don't , only a few words here and there , although both my brother and I are exceptional English speakers ) had a few relatives help them , and the hospital had an doctor who happened to be Greek , although his field wasn't at the Audiology or ENT department..

After a lot of exams ,the result was that I had moderate to severe loss and my parents , fitted me with Unitron bodyworn aids ,and new earmolds..My mother tried to have an book and translating it , to do AVT to me when we returned to Greece.

Back at Greece , especially at my hometown , there was no speech therapist/pathologist or AVT teacher..so my mother did the job herself..After a few months a speech therapist moved to my hometown and since then she'd been helping me..I got very early on the lip reading tool under my belt , everyone said that I did it on my own..I never had thought the term lip reading or speech reading..This said , Greek is pretty easy to lipread..

I changed a lot of my aids , and my hearing loss was getting worse..soon my right ear was on the profound scale as soon as I got 10 or 11 , and since then I was deaf in one ear , and wearing HA at the left ear. Since then I was mainstreamed to school , never learnt Greek Sign Language , and always having private tutors at home along with my speech therapist. Went through preschool , elementary ( halfway of elementary school my left ear got to the severe range ) , junior high and high school..while I was at the high school , I acquired an Widex Senso P38 with wider tubes through the earmold , which helped me tremendously..

I had this aid almost 8 years , and in college , when my hearing started declining again! At first , ( almost two and a half years ago ) I just couldn't hear every word , and speech reading became so much harder..but it had some perks for my friends, because , as they say , they learned to rephrase everything with a lot simpler or different words and made them work on their vocabulary..Also I felt like I was losing some part of my identity..Since junior high I had mastered speaking to the phone with few close relatives ( especially my mum and a couple of aunties, and few close friends ) and suddenly I discovered that I wasn't able anymore to understand parts of the conversation , frustrating everyone in both ends..

My mother , always the technophobic , had to learn to use the PC also for her office and also for me and her to chat through MSN..she's learned the last one relentlessly as we needed that to communicate , since I had moved away after my graduation from high school..Think an over 400 km distance!

So with all these happening , every one in my life tried to adapt , and I was getting more and more depressed, not to mention to turn everyone's nerves haywire by the incessant feedbacks..This year alone , I had more earmold fittings than I ever had..but after a month each single earmold was rendered useless.

After learning about CI's , through an recently implanted friend , I became obsessed almost in research..I started all the tests and everything , and after a long wait ( in Greece , you wait forever for anything...) I got the approval from the hospital!! I submitted my papers for the insurance company , a day after my birthday..I got approved from the insurance a few weeks before Easter hols , and since then I settled the surgery date..

May 22nd , the day that changed my life! Although I still miss my trusty HA , it was time to part our ways!