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Hearing better!

I definitely have started experiencing real life situations where I am picking up speech better and better!  This process definitely includes a lot of baby steps, but it’s all worth it!

I’m so lucky and blessed!  I picked up the phone today and placed it against my implanted ear and I could understand a full conversation.  Granted, it was with my mother and I am used to her voice, but I have had many with her where I don’t pick up every word.

It’s scary to use the phone with the hybrid as I’m so used to my left non-implanted ear being the one that is used during phone calls.  While I have gotten much more comfortable with the hybrid, the phone can be a frightening experience because I don’t know how well it will do.  But I will continue using the hybrid ear and practice!

The sessions of auditory retraining have demonstrated my progress as in the beginning we practiced with sentences where the context was known (eg. a topic was chosen and thus I would know what topic was being referred to in the sentence).  Well, we moved on to more complex sentences where the topic may not be so apparent and I’ve been nailing the sentences!

However, the context-based clues that still are a part of the exercises on a lessening basis, but still nonetheless a part of the program remind me of how when I have a group conversation, if I miss hearing the key concept, that makes it difficult for me to follow the conversation, especially when the context changes and I miss the “clue.”

That will always be a challenge and is a challenge for everyone who struggles with hearing.  But having greater awareness of this and reminders of when and why things are more difficult are sources of information for me so that I can reason why I didn’t get a conversation.  So it makes me feel empowered in a way!

Anyway, I’m very pleased to have been implanted and to be able to be going on this journey!

To be clear, I was implanted in one ear only as that is what is approved and since the risk for losing all hearing is so high, it’s the right thing to do at this point.

There may be a point where hearing preservation improves and there could be hybrid version 2.0.  If I continue retaining my residual hearing for a year, my surgeon said that a hybrid in the other ear could be considered.  I would consider it if the current hybrid continues the remarkable improvements and if it truly would be beneficial enough to risk the ear’s natural hearing.

The risk of losing the quite good low to beginning mid-frequencies in my unimplanted and so far, “better” ear would have to be worth it.  It’s better in it’s natural hearing ability while the hybrid is proving to be better with it’s identification of high frequency sounds.  The high frequency sounds are still getting sorted by my brain which is completely par for the course.  So, how well the brain does it will be a factor in my decision obviously.

So it’s good to wait a year and see what happens with everything and to make an informed decision later.

Cheers everyone!  I feel very happy!

Newspapers are annoying!

The rustle of newspapers never used to be annoying to me even though I could still hear them.  However, I didn’t hear with quite the crispness I now hear as a result of access to the higher frequencies – and now the sound is so annoying! 😉

I remember at some point in school, I would rustle my school papers and not think they were creating an annoying sound.  However, they annoyed people in the classroom, but I always thought that was because some people were more sensitive to sound.

That’s funny to think back to!

Sorry to all those that I annoyed with shaking papers, etc.  I now understand your pain! 😉

Speech understanding improving!

I decided to try out communication with just the implanted ear – turning off the hearing aid in the other ear – and compare that to how I did when I first had this device.  My understanding of my mother has definitely improved significantly from the first time I tried this weeks ago!  How exciting!

The other day I was in Starbucks and while awaiting my drink, the barista said something and this was in the waiting area portion of the cafe.  Well, usually I’m not focused on listening in that area while the drinks are being made and certainly it’s difficult to understand.  But I noticed that I understood what he said about ten seconds after he said it.  Before the implant, I wouldn’t have gotten any of the passive chatter.  So that was very nice and encouraging!

Things are Moving Forward!

I continue to work on auditory training and get reprogrammed.  I feel optimistic about the process.  Patience is definitely key for something like this!  It’s interesting how marketing makes something like this seem instantaneous in results.  Well, I was informed from the beginning that there’s a lot of work involved and indeed there is.  But it is well worth the effort!!!

I’m glad I took time off to do this as I keep reading about people who aren’t able to have time off or don’t consider it (or rather can’t consider it) and they struggle with the adaptation.  To me this is completely understandable, because the training involved with this device takes up the entire day!  One needs to rest A LOT during the process and thus there needs to be ample time for rest to occur.

I feel blessed to have time to work with the device and really do all I can to allow it to work for me.

Gratitude

I wish success for everyone and it really makes me happy when people are doing well. It brightens my day! Not every day is easy because we are human beings, so when people are having those great days, it is like sunshine. I’m not trying to sound corny at all. With the experience I’ve been going through, I feel like I appreciate the good days everyone has more than I did before. I didn’t always stop to smell the roses when that is so important to do. Thank you to all of you who continue to inspire, educate, and encourage me!  You fill me with gratitude.