No More Hiding

Today I didn’t try to hide my processor.

Though I have not intentionally hiding it, I have been tucking it under my hair when ever possible.

When I got done at the gym today, I re did my hair and was getting frustrated with it. I finally put it on top of my hair and continued to get ready. It was not until that moment that I realized that I was indeed “hiding” the fact that I had a CI.

It took me some time to figure out why I would do this. I have never hid my hearing aids or been ashamed of them. At least tell that very moment I didn’t think so.

We all go through life wanting to be liked and accepted. Society has a standard of what is cool and what isn’t. Not once have I seen a model with a CI. Or a commercial with someone who is Deaf. I think maybe because I could get by as hearing before all of this is what is effecting me. Before the big hearing loss of 2015 I could get by as a hearing person. No one knew I had bilateral hearing aids.

Since then it has been more challenging. Now more than ever I have needed help re learning how to hear. This is different. I never meant to hide my CI but deep down I think I did. I dont want people to look at me different. I dont want people to freak out because I have a magnet on my head. You would think that after 32 years you would get over this fear of wanting to be accepted.

My goal for this year was to move forward and face my fears. Today I am facing my fears and showing off my CI. No more hiding in fear. Maybe I can help a young girl who has a CI be more confident, maybe I can help a parent that has a child with a CI know it will be ok, maybe I can spark a conversation with a stranger who is genuinely curious. Hiding prevents opportunities from finding you.

Be Brave.

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Second Mapping: Finding the X

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Today I had my second mapping for my CI and it was amazing. The past week has been exhausting. Every day people sound different and I hear new things. Between robots and chipmunks, I cant help but giggle at my own voice.

Today though. Today was different. The past week I downloaded a audio book. I was told that if you listen to the book and read it at the same time as you listen, you can determine better what sounds you are not hearing or processing correctly. To my surprise, I was not getting “W” sounds. I would read the word “world” but through the audio book it would be something completely different.

I told my audiologist and she said my mid frequencies were too low. Through some minor adjustments in the mid tones and I am a whole new women. It still sounds robotic and or chipmunk like, but I can distinguish so many more sounds. It is mind blowing the difference that made! Then they put me in the sound booth.

If you remember from before Single Word Repetition in my left ear with a hearing aid I could only get 30% of the words correct. Sentence Repetition was 80%. Today we did only sentence repetition with just my CI and I got 98%!!!!!!!! I only missed 3 words out of 135! I am BEAMING!

Now I know that I am very good at using context to put things together but this is still really huge! I am so glad I listed to the advice of my peers (sister especially) for the audio book and all the amazing support they have given me!

This journey is just beginning and I am already so excited for all the  future holds! I know all journeys  have rough patches but I am so ready to overcome anything that comes my way! Bring on that treasure!

New Sounds New Possibilities

It has been three days since I have had my Cochlear activated and I have to say I am shocked to how I am reacting. If you remember just a few months ago I was overcome with stress, negativity, and worry regarding this choice. I was fully expecting to cry or be depressed when activated, instead, I smiled.

That day was a crazy one. I was doing really good with just one ear and felt like I could survive if I hated the CI. Chris had his Tough Mudder that day so we were outside in the heat all day, rushing to get home to shower, eat, and get to my appointment. We got there on time, and only then did I start to get anxious. Something about being in that waiting room, I couldn’t stop pacing. My audiologist fully prepared me for possible reactions. She said most people cry, they get really overwhelmed,, they get disappointed or sad.  She went on for several min explaining how I may not like it. In my mind I started to think “it really cant be that bad”. But I stopped my self mid thought and said I am going to be different. My audiologist gave me a count down and 3 … 2 …1… Sound.

It was a lot of noise at first. Sounded like feed back from a hearing aid. My audiologist kept talking, giving me examples of what people say it sounds like when first activated. Some were right on the dot others were a little far fetched. After the initial blast of feedback I started to hear a Alvin the Chipmunk on Helium (not just Alvin but Alvin on Helium) voices. It was not that bad. I new this was what it was going to sound like. This was one of the biggest reasons I didn’t want a Cochlear. This was my biggest objection. But because I was expecting it, it wasn’t so bad as it was made out to be. The next nerve racking moment was what was Chris, my Fiance, my Best Friend, was going to sound like. He handed my audiologist the phone to record my reaction. 3…2…1… he started telling me about how we met. He told me how he fell in love with me after 3 days in High school. He sounded like him. Nothing had changed. Just a few sharp SH CH sounds but he was still him! I was so excited. My Audiologist covered her face and said some colors. I could get most of them. Turquoise was the only one I didn’t get. Chris called me from another room once we set up my  Bluetooth.  He said some colors and stumped me at Aqua Marine. My Audiologist was very impressed and excited for how well I was responding. After my appointment, Chris and I experimented with new sounds the rest of the day. Crinkling paper, dropping pens, clapping, dog tags jingling, all sorts of stuff. My favorite sounds from that day are kisses and crinkling paper.

The next day I put my CI on and it was a long time before the feedback buzzing sound subsided. They say this is my nerves just reacting to being stimulated. Because they are not used to it they freak out and cannot make since of what is happening. Eventually it subsided and voices sounded more robotic less chipmunk. We had apples for breakfast and OMG that is a weird sound. I have heard this sound before but imagine it sounding like the crispest apple you have ever had in your life with every bite! My sister got me one of those kid toys where you point the arrow at an animal and you pull the lever to make the sound. HA that was interesting. Mice and rabbits apparently make some interesting sounds. I listened to some A Capella music through my CI. I could pick out songs I new but not one I didnt know. Towards the end of the day my head ached from the magnet but all was well.

Today is my first day back at work. I am trying not to wear my Hearing Aid and rely just on my CI. I brought it just in case I needed to have a important work conversation. My office is very open and we have concrete floors. I felt like I was yelling.  I couldn’t quite get my pitch right. I could hear everyone’s steps. People sound like the dog from the move UP,  (Alpha) when his voice processor breaks. It is quite entertaining! I put my Hearing Aid on for a one on one meeting with my boss and I felt like my hearing aid was plugged. It didnt sound like it used to. It is so weird. Every day, every situation, every moment is different. My brain is trying to make sense of it all. I am so excited I want to expose every sound to it! However, I dont know how much or little I should do.

I have so many questions, so many possibilities, so many opportunities for success!

I new this would be a good thing for me but I never expected to be so excited to re train my brain to hear! I didn’t expect me to be so optimistic!

Thank you to everyone for their support, advice, and recommendations!

I am so excited to document this adventure!

 

 

My Hearing Journey

Though it has been a long time coming, I have decided to get a cochlear implant. After my sudden hearing loss that started me on my word press journey, my hearing has not gotten better. I have found myself not doing the things I used to do (dancing, concerts, bars, movies) because I know I wont be able to hear. I have a fear of missing some important information.  I am not as confident any more because I don’t know what I will miss. I am afraid of what people will think if I say “what” more than once. It is silly. I have been hearing impaired my whole life, you think I would be used to this criticism.

I am really scared to do this but know this is the next step. During my last hearing test my audiologist told me that I only get 30% of single word repetition correct and 50% of sentence repetition correct. Yes your read that right. I rely heavily on context and lip reading. With a cochlear she feels I will be able to get 70-80% in both categories.

Thats the pro.

The cons are, the sound is digital, and it is a permanent procedure. The #1 reason I have never wanted a cochlear implant is the replacement of the analog sound, that you and I know, to digital. The friends I know who have a cochlear implant say that people sound like mini mouse and it is very robotic at first.  This is not a big selling point for me, they really need to work on their advertising. The close second reason is, that it is not a reversible procedure. If I do this and don’t like it, there is no going back.

They say that your brain is an amazing organ that will convert the digital hearing from the cochlear, to the analog hearing I remember things to sound like. Because I have had so much hearing in my life, the transfer in my brain should be fairly quick (3-6 months). It is not an easy 3-6 months but most things should sound normal by then.

I am having a hard time because everyone that is telling me that this is how it works, are hearing people. People who have not experienced a cochlear implant personally. My friends that have cochlear implants now, never really had good hearing in the first place. They dont know what they missed, just what they gained.

I am trying to be optimistic. I know this will help me conquer so many fears and open so many doors. However, I need to get my mind right in order to get the full benefit of this. I need to be able to believe it will be what I want it to be.

The more I read this over the more I see fear and excuses. I feel they are valid fears and valid excuses, however, if I am going to get the full benifit of this…. I need to get my mind right.

Cheers to the Journey.