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Maddening to wait. Scary experience this morning!

Patience can sometimes run short as I wait for increased clarity and understanding with my device.  But it takes time!  The length of time is variable and cannot be predicted well.

After 6 months, there should be noticeable improvement and certainly after a couple of years.  Already I’ve noticed improvement and I’m just shy of three months.

It gets better with time, but getting where one wants to be or reaching potential takes patience!

This morning I had a scary thing happen that was truly frightening.  I had an onset of this roaring noise (tinnitus is a medical condition that is not harmful and is quite common – often described as ringing in the ear).  Well, I had an onset in the implanted ear, which hasn’t had much issue with tinnitus.  But it did this morning!  Not only that, but my residual low frequency hearing seemed to be fluctuating.

Right now, everything has pretty much normalized and my hearing is fine.

I have an appointment with a doctor today as I immediately contacted the audiology clinic after my experience. It’s always good to contact one,’a doctor if something strange happens.

But it’s experiences like this, with a new device, that make it scary at times in the beginning.  As time goes on, things stabilize and the expectations are more predictable I believe.  The Hybrid itself, with retaining low frequency hearing (hopefully) rather than the traditional cochlear implant where that isn’t the focus, is a newer technology and thought-process in regards to this retention of existing hearing.  There’s much more hope for residual hearing than there is for the traditional cochlear implant, which from the start is programmed to replace all hearing.

Reflections and Change

2018 UPDATE: Another post from 2015 that remained unpublished until now!

As I no longer feel so like a patient and have more free time to think with clarity once again, I’ve really spent time reflecting on the past and thinking of the future.

I am more empowered and willing to help myself when I need help. That includes asking others for help in getting my needs met.

My energy has come back with certain levels primed for handling even more facing my true self. Being hard-of-hearing has been such a burden largely because I’ve wanted and hoped it would disappear. But despite the reality being that I will always deal with it, I feel more empowered.  I have persevered even when people said I couldn’t.  I was told by a well-respected professional when I was very little that I would never learn to speak.  Well, I certainly did!  I was lucky to have supportive parents that trusted their instincts and didn’t believe this person’s opinion, regardless of her “status.”

A message to myself:

“Accept me for all of me. For who I am truly, not the fantasy hoped for.  I am enough and offer far more than you realize. Partial hearing loss is just a tiny part of my being. It can inform and help others who struggle with their own challenges.  Thus, it empowers me to be helpful to both myself and others.”

Advocacy and becoming a Psychotherapist

2018 UPDATE: This has been staying in my drafts since 2015 and it’s time to publish it!  The date will be listed as 2015.  The post was created back during the first days of my cochlear implant activation.  I’m considering creating another blog where I talk about my perspective being partially hard-of-hearing and also gay.  I would share a variety of things on that blog.  The purpose of the blog would be to remind readers how much more similar we are than different.
Hi everyone,
I have been lucky to have been receiving not only auditory retraining for my hybrid CI, but also tools to better advocate for myself.

I was just thinking that I should state to the caller on my cell phone voicemail to please slowly state their name, telephone number, and message as I am hard of hearing!

Now that makes me feel more in charge of my hearing loss!  Receiving auditory therapy has included advocation and so that has prompted my own ideas, so why not state this with my voicemail?

I’m tired of the fast-paced talkers leaving messages ;-).
As you may or may not know, I’m on the educational path to becoming a licensed psychotherapist.  My goal is to eventually work in private practice.
A few people have suggested that carving out a niche of clients who are hard-of-hearing who don’t fit into the deaf community and struggle with fitting into the hearing community with hearing loss would be a great fit for me.  This is my journey as well and thus I would be able to relate to others who share this experience.
By no means would I limit my practice to certain clients, but certainly being a therapist with this specialization would be gratifying and so important as there aren’t a lot of psychotherapists who can help in this way.  It would be amazing to be able to introduce myself at HLAA meetings and be an advocate in that way.  Plus, I could make suggestions during a session, if people are demonstrating or mentioning difficulty with a part of their hearing instrument or program to visit their audiologist.  — There are a lot of people who unfortunately avoid discussing issues with their audiologist.  The intentions are good – to not bother the audiologist, but that’s what the audiologist is there for, to help out and solve issues.  I have a wonderful audiologist at House Clinic that could definitely help many people.
What’s great about all this thinking is I’m feeling more empowered in my life as opposed to in the past.
Cheers,
Patrick

Music has more depth!

I just made another discovery with the hybrid CI.  Music has an added depth to it that is surprisingly pleasant.  I say “surprisingly” because the new sounds have not all adapted yet and my brain still interprets many of them as very mechanical or harsh – but less so than in the beginning I believe.

However, when I’m listening to music, there’s a pleasant addition of tones, an added layer, that I never heard before.  The music comforting and this experience is so awesome!

Hearing Test Follow Up

Last week I was tested for my hearing level with the hybrid.  A series of beeps (similar to a hearing test) were sent to the booth I was sitting in at each frequency at different levels of volume.  The softest level one can detect the beeps the better.  The louder the beeps have to be, the more likely you have a hearing loss (for a hearing loss test).  In my case, the softer the beeps, the better my hybrid CI and brain are doing in adjusting to the new frequencies being heard.

Well, it’s two months in and my results showed that I hear all frequencies at a normal level with the hybrid CI on!  Wow!  With hearing aids, that never would have been attainable.

This test indicates that my brain has access to all of the frequencies!!!  Whee!!!

Now the speech discrimination work continues and my brain continues to adjust.

I have continued to retain the residual hearing I had after surgery!  This is great news as the risk decreases with time.  I will be able to breathe better after six months to a year post-surgery regarding residual (existing) hearing as when that time passes, the surgeon feels most at ease about existing hearing stability.