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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.

Paralyzed with Hearing Fatigue

Grief filled me up tonight as I felt powerless over the overflow of noise during the last few days.  More specifically, the echoes, crowd noise, and fast pace of poorly insulated rooms – restaurants, stores, and other areas where the focus is on visual appeal rather than auditory clarity.

It’s been well established that an overly noisy environment for a hard-of-hearing person, such as myself, makes it harder to understand others.  But besides that, there’s the fatigue that overwhelms the system.  People who have normal hearing levels also have difficulty in noise, but the extreme fatigue doesn’t hit them as it hits someone like me.

I hate lamenting, but now I must.  I cannot both throw the ball and catch it.  I can’t be perfect all the time.  People with hearing loss often strive for perfection and burden themselves completely to compete.  But in reality this doesn’t work out as we seek refuge in our beds before nighttime as we try to keep up.

Indeed, these fatigue attacks can be avoided and I put too much on myself.  But we are all imperfect and thus such a situation cannot be realistically avoided all the time.

Indeed, learning new sounds has made these situations more frequent and as time goes by it’ll all get much better.  But it’s times like these that remind me of how isolating the world can be and how paralyzed I sometimes feel.  This past week, I’ve had a marathon of tough events and thus have succumbed to fatigue and sadness.

But I shall rise again regardless.  In this blog, I must keep track of times I’m both feeling great and feeling otherwise.

Sudden discoveries and Coping

Hello everyone!  I meant to blog earlier, but I’ve been so occupied making sure the components of the hybrid cochlear implant are in place that it hasn’t been easy.

The acoustic component (like a hearing aid) that amplifies existing low frequencies (a la hearing aid) of the hybrid has had trouble retaining my domes (an alternative to custom ear molds to hold the component in the ear).  So, I’ve opted to have a custom ear mold made.  But getting to that point has been tiring because I prefer domes (as I use them for my hearing aid currently).  However, they just haven’t been staying on the receiver.

It’s been stressful, but I have to remind myself that this issue is just one thing that can happen in the process and it’ll now likely be figured out!  It’s yet another component that I have to accept I cannot control.

Coping all of these years with a hearing loss has led me to want to have control over things in my life that I can’t have control over.  I try to compensate for my hearing loss by making sure I’m organized and also by taking the entire burden of hearing loss.  I don’t make sure people are informed in a conversation about what I need.  I feel embarrassed and ashamed to ask for help.  I just plop it on my shoulders and carry it all myself.

Of course people won’t know ways to be helpful if I don’t tell them.  So, my responsibility is to be more informative and forward about my needs.

I also wanted to share that new sounds are melding with existing sounds and that is extremely exciting!  The new tones are starting to blend into natural hearing.

This is truly a journey of small steps.  There have been many moments where I’ve suddenly realized I’ve made progress: hearing the “s” sound more definitely, actually hearing more frequencies inherent in paper crinkling whereas before it was an overlay of sound my brain hadn’t quite understood, etc.

This journey is exhausting, but it sure is worth it!