Update and new Sounds!

Well, it’s been an interesting few days since my last post! There’s a lot to say, and I probably should have blogged again before! Let’s start with Friday.

Friday, I did more environmental listening than anything else. I also played around with the processor and practiced taking it apart, using the direct link cable and changing out and charging the rechargeable batteries. Since I chose Med-El, it has a lot of little parts and is quite different from Cochlear. A brief explanation of why I chose Med-El: I don’t think that one brand is more superior than the others. They all have different features and anyone will benefit from any of them, I believe. Med-El offered a longer electrode array than Cochlear. I had been e-mailing with someone who has Med-El and who also previously had Cochlear (she had Cochlear explanted due to medical reasons and was re-implanted with Med-El). She felt there was a big enough difference in sound quality between the 2, and music appreciation, to make her prefer Med-El over Cochlear. Having said this, there are pitfalls to picking Med-El, but hopefully, over time, those will be resolved. One pitfall is the processor is not very water or sweat resistant. Therefore, I will have to be very careful to use a dry and store box on a regular basis and wear a cover. Anyway, I had been leaning towards Med-El because of the longer electrode array and the fact that it was designed for hearing preservation, so it wasn’t hard to decide upon it. Again, any brand would be better than hearing aids after a while! So, that was my day Friday. I didn’t really notice any big changes or milestones. I went to a Thirty-One party that evening and ended up with a headache just from wearing the processor all day and all the sounds coming in that I’m not used to. I didn’t really understand anything that was said at the party and had to keep my hearing aid turned off a lot.

Saturday I had plans to go to Pigeon Forge with my family. In the morning, I was on the couch reading and had my hearing aid off. My sister came in the room and I could hear her and my mom talking. I did NOT understand what they were saying, but at that point in time, I was able to tell when people were talking and the start and stop of them speaking. I did understand the word “gym” from my mother, so that was exciting! We went to Pigeon Forge that day and again, I ended up with a headache from all the sounds. I had even taken the processor off while trying on clothes in Loft, but it wasn’t enough of a break. All of this, Friday and Saturday, was on the first volume setting, the lower setting. By the end of the day, I had written a few notes of sounds that I had heard and noticed through the day:

  • Makeup brushes clicking when I put them in their bag (this was pretty loud, too)
  • The hair dryer in the other room. It sounded very mechanical.
  • I started noticing that when listening to the tv and music, I would have to take the magnet off so I could tell if I was really hearing with the implant or if I was hearing something with my residual hearing. It would seem too “clear” for either. By “clear,” I mean I felt like I could almost understand it, but at the same time, I still had that tinny/robotic sound.
  • Driving on the interstate, the tiniest bump sounded like the shooting in an arcade video game.
  • I think I could hear the drums in music
  • When I was playing solitaire on my iPod one time, I could hear the clicking sound and hadn’t realized the volume was turned up some (not even all the way!)

By dinner that night, my headache had gone away and I was able to move up to the louder setting, since we were sitting outside at the restaurant. It was VERY hard to follow conversation, though, and I missed a lot and made a lot of out of context comments because I hadn’t realized the conversation topic had changed.

On Sunday, I went to lunch with a friend. I had to wear my hearing aid a lot during the lunch. On the way home, I was listening to the radio and it was a long commercial break. I understood some things that were said during the commercials, though.

  • $9.99 a lb
  • $5 dollar donation now
  • Get your tickets now

Don’t ask where any of that was because I couldn’t tell you, but I understood those phrases!

Monday, I went back to work. I wore my hearing aid all day and had a headache at the end of the day. I vowed to keep the aid on less so that I could get more used to the implant. I did notice that when I took it off at around 2, because someone wanted to see it, my voice sounded very weird when I talked. Crazy to say that, because all day my voice had sounded robotic and annoying, but apparently I have been getting used to wearing it and hearing that, because I sounded different without it! Not sure if that’s a good thing or just normal, but I think I’ll take it! I did have my school audiologist test my hearing on the lower volume level, but I’ll post about that later.

Today, I’m finally convinced that when I listen to music with just the implant turned on, no hearing aid, I’m hearing some normal sounds (meaning no robots) in my left ear. Now remember, my right ear is the implanted one. I still hear a tinny/robotic sound in that ear, but I’m definitely noticing a bit of clarity in the left ear. It really feels like the sound that happens is already in my head and not really going through my ear. It causes for confusion sometimes, because I don’t always realize I’ve heard something. But I’ll get used to it. I very clearly heard my student, from across the playground, yell “hey!” when she wanted my attention today. She is in preschool and we play on a different playground, so it was quieter where we were, but considering that I’ve been struggling to understand, and sometimes hear, peoples voices when they are up close, I thought this was pretty cool! I bumped up the volume to louder setting and have been fine with that, surprisingly. I’m glad about that, because at first it seemed so loud that I wondered how I was going to work up to that by my next mapping appointment on Friday! Things still sound robotic, but I feel like I’m nearing some clarity (hopefully). Tomorrow will be my first day working with a friend who does CI rehabbing, so that ought to help. I found some free audio books on YouTube and I plan on listening to a reading of The Hunger Games tonight. I started tonight and listening and having the words in front of me really helps me understand what’s being said.

Tomorrow I will post again and hopefully it won’t be as long as today’s post! Thanks for sticking with me and any time you have questions, feel free to ask!

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About randomthoughtsandruminations

I'm a 33 year old hard of hearing teacher. I teach students who are also deaf and hard of hearing. I've had a hearing loss all my life, but was blessed with a family who did everything possible to help me become the successful person I am today! Leave a comment if you have anything to say (g-rated please, and no foul language!) and if you want to contact me, let me know! I'm more than willing to answer any questions or help if I can!

3 responses to “Update and new Sounds!”

  1. Riquel Burton says :

    I think I can relate to feeling like your voice sounds weird, but in a different way. Since I love to sing, I remember recording my voice and then listening to it for the first time and thinking how strange it sounded! I imagine it would be something like that for you with versus without your implant turned on. Interesting.

  2. Tressa Farr says :

    Wow! This blog is amazing! I love hearing how you are exploring all of the sounds in the environment and you are able to make the connection through language! I just keep thinking about my little ones who have no language and their inability to make those connections. Wow…how challenging that is!

    There is a website out there where you can listen and hear what it may sound like when a cochlear implant is turned on. I will try to find it, and share it with you all.

    • randomthoughtsandruminations says :

      That’d be awesome if you could find it! I have looked and found something, but it didn’t match what I was hearing at that time. I may have to listen again and see if it’s more of a match now! I’m glad you are enjoying the blog!

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