I had my first auditory retraining session today at University of Washington.  The AVT therapist, Lisa, and a third year audiology student, Jordan, are the members of my team.  I am so pleased to be able to help out with his education as he helps me with the process of adjusting to the hybrid cochlear implant.

It was a day of introductions and information gathering.  Lisa said the most successful people are the most motivated and positive in their personalities.  I feel I fit that quite well ;-).

I really enjoyed meeting both Lisa and Jordan as they both are wonderful people who are also curious and interested in the client.

They employ “meeting the client where the client is,” which is very important to me as a future psychotherapist.  This puts focus on the individual experience and not exclusively data or science.  Thus, the experience is seen as individual, which is the case for everyone.

I am their first hybrid recipient so that is unique in itself.  Most people with cochlear implants don’t have the acoustic input from residual low frequencies that I do and everything is electric, whereas for me, only the high frequency sounds are electric.

I wish AVT was more widespread for adult implant users as well as anyone who is new to hearing aids.  Not only do you learn to hear better, but you also develop strategies for coping with different types of scenarios, such as cell phone conversations.  This sort of assistance is so invaluable and while all my life I have received a lot of support, it would have been useful to have more access to this sort of formal help.  We live in a society that expects us to cope with things and be totally independent of any help.

We could all benefit from reaching out to others.  I mean we do that with friends, so why not with professionals when we need to?  I was researching auditory retraining resources in California, when I return, and was dismayed by the lack of AVT facilities in general as well as the almost exclusive focus on children.

There are many adults, such as myself, that would benefit from “mock” conversations we may have trouble with, in addition to the training given for rewiring the brain to hear more sounds.

I am so lucky to be getting this now.  Plus, since it is a teaching facility, the teaching gets to be a two-way street as I really support involving students in the process.  The cost is only $15 a session!  Normally, AVT is more expensive and is billed through insurance, but the University of Washington offers it at a nominal fee because of the fact that students are learning with their supervisors.