lucky lucky me – giving thanks

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There’s more to it than getting a surgeon to fit it and an audiologist to set it up properly.  It takes time to get used to it, to learn what the sounds mean, for the brain to turn those electronic sounds into real sounds.

I’ve been very lucky. I have a great team looking after me, the Cochlear Implant team at Sunnybrook have made it all seem so normal and everyday. Nothing was ever a problem, no question ever a daft question.  I’ve been able to hear most sounds in a normal fashion very quickly. I still have problems with non live music, the electronic sounds become more electronic, high pitches especially. I’m barely at 4 months after activation though so I was never expecting to hear as well as I do so soon.

I think a huge contributory element to this is that I lost most of my hearing as an adult, a middle aged one too. I have carried on wearing hearing aids even though I wanted to stamp them into the ground sometimes.  Never ever think that someone with a profound loss is listening easily through those aids. They suffer to be able to hear a little bit of distorted noise believe me. I was lucky and was able to get up to date hearing aids too, not everyone can do this. I went out to work, I had to speak to people, to hear, to keep using the auditory part of my brain.  There’s truth in the phrase “if you don’t use it you lose it”.

The sounds that I still have problems hearing are in the frequencies that I haven’t heard for years, maybe even never. New sounds are strange.  I take my hat off to those who don’t have such a wide auditory memory.  Their journey with CI’s is harder and for some involves speech therapy and training. For me my rehabilitation includes listening to the spoken word while reading it, practising on the phone, just talking generally. I love talking so that’s no problem.

Again I was lucky when as a child my mum sent me for speech lessons, poetry reading, Shakespeare, that sort of thing. I learned how sounds are formed in the mouth, where the tongue sits to make different noises. I learned how to project my voice, how to speak loudly without squeaking, to lower my voice so that I could hear it better. All of these skills have been useful to me as a deafened woman.

MLM takes it all in his stride. He’s been there every step of the way. I can’t describe just how much he helps me, he just does. He just is a lovely man, a very lovely man.

My mum is always there for me, even when she’s back home in England she’s here with me cheering me on. She has been sick this year and so was unable to come over when I had my activation, and sadly is still unable to come over to see us.  She’s profoundly deaf herself so she understands my life only too well. I just wish I had been more understanding of her hearing loss. 

My brother is a rock, he copes with a deaf mother and sister, sending emails back and forth.

My friends both cyber and in person have been great. I love the support I have found on here, Glenice especially has been a wealth of knowledge about CI’s. Some friends fell by the wayside when they had to put themselves out to talk to me via email or messenger. Disability has a knack of sorting out the real friends from the passers-by. I’ve been disappointed by some but what the heck, I go for quality not quantity in friends. 

All in all I’m a lucky woman.

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13 responses »

  1. You really have done well with your CI. I am still toying about with my dilemma of ‘which ear?’ – I wish I could speak to the surgeon sooner that the night before the op but I’ve a house move to handle first! I am hoping that my stubbornness and determination will help me towards as good an outcome as you even if I go for my choice of ‘worse’ ear for the op. It WAS my better ear until 1990….

  2. Stubborness and determination get you a long way I find.
    You could always write to the surgeon about which side to used. Good luck with the house move.

  3. “Friends” are a funny old breed. They can surprise the heck out of you with good stuff and kindness – and they can upset and hurt you by doing nothing at all.

    More fool me sometimes, but I still make the effort with those I should not. And I continue to offer the hand of friendship to those I don’t know.

    You are truly blessed in so many ways mog – MLM for one – and a clear, appreciative mind for another. A good post, and a good place to be in your life. Long may it continue.

  4. I give thanks to Mog for a great blog and giving us the chance to learn about deafness.

    I sometimes wonder if other deaf people hear way better with HAs than I do. I am big on numbers and their audiogram and speech scores lend me to believe they do. I often wish I had a few db better hearing. One of my audiologists said if my hearing was 20db better, my speech understanding would be nearly perfect.

    Since I was born deaf, what I hear sounds “normal” to me. The way people speak sounds just the way I remember it. It seems that others with more hearing have superpowers in the fact they seem to so easily understand the mumblings.

    Ive repeated what my parents say and they tell me that they definately do NOT hear like I do. I can see most of the speech sounds on the lip but my ears apparently aren’t picking up most of those. I have the gains turned up to the max on my HAs and it definately helps but doesn’t give perfect hearing. Ive read this is because I have cochlear dead regions of zero hearing and also im missing most of my IHC.

    Thanks again for the time to blog about your experience.

    • DD, thank you for your very kind words. You raise an interesting question about how and what we hear. Also I think we underestimate just how well we cope with our hearing loss and lipreading. Hearing aids never give us perfect hearing and I’ve found since my CI that they, HAs, distort the sound much more than the CI does.

      It’s bloody hard work being deaf and you seem to cope so well with lipreading. I hope your quest for stem cell treatment is successful. I saw a video of Chloe the other day. Amazing results.

    • DD,
      Have you ever had the chance to play with an oscilloscope or make recordings of your voice and watch it? Might be interesting to compare yours, parents, book-on-tape, etc…

  5. “I give thanks to Mog for a great blog and giving us the chance to learn about deafness.”

    I agree with DD. Though I’m hoh hearing, I think I’ve learned more about being that way through reading your blog than I had done by just muddling along in my real life.

    Your honesty… especially those frustrated, pissed-off posts… helped me to understand how being hoh has affected my life.

    A big thank you to you, Mog.

    Oh… and to your humour. 🙂

  6. I’m so glad you found my blog -as it has led me to yours in turn. I often think of how technology has improved our lives in many ways, some more subtle than others, and it’s wonderful that those technological improvements include helping people to regain hearing. My partner has tintinitis…something that can’t be corrected with a hearing aid…yet. (and sometimes I think it’s just selective hearing,especially when I’m suggesting some little chore needs doing! ;>)
    I look forward to reading more.

  7. Lovely lovely post Mog. Thank you for mentioning me.

    I’m glad that your hearing rehab is going well for you.

    Work has kept me really busy this week and I’m starting to read and catch up with everybody.

    Toodles.

  8. It’s interesting that you say HA sound is distorted. I’ve always thought sound is normal through a HA, but then I’ve no hearing memory to compare my deaf experience to. I’m worried that when I get the CI, sound will be worse or less than the HA. Perhaps I’m being silly and worrying needlessly?

    • I’ve found that sound with a CI is more normal than with hearing aids. Not at the beginning of course, that’s all electronic and odd sounds but it gets better. Much better, everyday.

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