The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

There Goes The End Of The Summer… Thursday, August 23, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 3:43 pm

There goes the end of one of the most amazing summers I’ve had work-wise. Thursday was my last day at work (until Thanksgiving), and as usual, there’s something new for me to discover sound-wise.

Two of my coworkers were talking to each other, I couldn’t follow the conversation, but I did catch “well, what are you looking for?”

And I love hearing numbers. It’s silly and elementary, but I can catch numbers over the walkie, as long as the speaker isn’t talking too fast, and it’s not noisy.

Looking forward to going out tonight with my co’s one last time before I leave. Next time you hear from me, I’ll probably be on the other side of the country.

Until then, be safe and I’ll respond to comments and emails once I get settled in.


Another Argument For The Benefits Of Bilateral Implantations… Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 8:07 pm

Another argument for the benefits of going bilateral…

I’m at work, doing OUTS over in Automotive. As I’m in the middle of the aisle, kneeling, I hear in my CI ear, this faint voice go “Excuse me…..excuse me” and I think to myself “that is so cool, I understood what the person is saying”. It wasn’t my mind filling in the information, it was real, actual speech heard the way that speech is intended to be heard.

Curiosity got the better of me like Alice In Wonderland, and I get up to see where the voice is coming from. Going to the right (as I heard it in my right ear), I approach the end of the aisle and peer out into the racetrack (the main aisle) expecting to see one of my coworkers helping the guest who asked for help. I don’t see a single person in either direction. As I’m about to turn around I hear “excuse me” again, and realized that it was coming from behind me.

There was a man standing at the end of the aisle, on my left side. My right ear (the CI) could pick up what he said and my brain was able to interpret what he was saying correctly, but because my left ear didn’t pick up the sound, much less even interpret what was being said, I automatically thought it was coming from my right.

That’s the problem with having one cochlear implant and one hearing aid. Your sense of localization is all screwed up. My right ear is compensating for my left ear, but the one area it is sorely failing at is localization. I used to be great at localization, when I had two devices of the same kind (hearing aid and hearing aid) to assist in that. Now that I have a much more powerful device in my right ear, my left ear is losing its skills that it used to have.

When I first got the implant turned on, my left ear was compensating for my right ear. It got to the point where I had to take off my hearing aid and force my right ear to listen with the CI. Now one year later, the roles have changed.

I don’t like this unbalanced feeling. I want to be equal on both sides, or nearly equal.  When I had two hearing aids, I preferred listening with my left ear more, because it understood speech.

But this latest incident has made me a stronger proponent for bilateral implantation. I’m going to talk to the insurance company and see if I can get a second implant, and try to get that over the Thanksgiving or Christmas break.

If I have the surgery again, I should be in and out like everybody else, because now I know what to expect, plus I know what kind of anesthesia works for me (even though it made me super-hyper that night).  And before anybody asks, yes, I plan to go with the same doctor who did my first surgery.


Hearing My Guinea Pig… Friday, August 10, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 8:31 pm

Everytime I come upstairs, my mom tells me that my guinea pig is crying his eyes out and that I should go to him and say hi. (his cage is at the top of the stairs on the landing). I’ve gotten into the habit of traveling through the house without my CI on when I go upstairs, since I tend to take it off after I get home from work (listening to screaming kids all day gives me a headache) and let the side of my head rest, since the skin around the magnet gets sore after having it on all day. I also run back and forth in the morning getting ready for work, and he runs up to the bars of his cage and calls out to me each time I walk by, because he wants attention and more veggies from the fridge (he is a pig in that very sense). Mom is always telling me “Chocolate’s calling out to you.”

Last night I went upstairs to talk to my mom, and I was instantly alerted halfway across the landing by this squeak-squeak-squeak, that got louder as I walked away. I stopped and went “holy cow, that was loud…” and realized that it was my guinea pig calling to me.

Before, I had to really listen for my guinea pig or be really close to him in order to hear him. I’ve gotten to the point where I can go about my normal business, thinking about something else, and be alerted to the high-pitched wheeks of him calling me.


Forgot My Activation Anniversary Thursday, August 9, 2007

Gosh, I posted on August 7, but I totally forgot it was my one-year anniversary of my cochlear implant, as I pulled a ~11 hour shift for the second day in a row. Amazing how being super-busy at work will let things slip your mind, especially since I had been thinking all summer about how I wanted to mark my one-year anniversary with a small party as a way to say thanks to everybody.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing from several of you about your activation experiences (with activation dates of Aug. 6, 7 & 8). Each of you had a wonderful experience, albeit emotional, but that’s to be expected. Hearing about your experiences brings back memories of my activation day, as well as my feelings prior to activation. But re-reading all the entries makes me cry…especially the one about how I felt right after activation.

It’s amazing what sounds I’ve heard in one year. I could make a list of all the new sounds I’ve discovered in the last year, but that’s a project for another time, and I have to get up early to get one of my co-workers. But the CI has had a profound impact on my life, both through the experiences that I’ve been offered in the last year, both at school and work, and through people that I’ve met. And for that, I’m grateful to everybody and everything that has blessed me in this journey. I still have a long way to go, but the ride so far has been amazing.

Until you have been deaf, or are involved with the implantation process, most people will never understand the emotions behind being able to hear, and what a gift it is.


I Still Get Excited Over The Smallest Details… Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 6:23 pm

I still get excited over hearing the smallest details in music…

While surfing away, I’m listening to the song “Everyday Combat” by lostprophets. At the end of the song, there’s a fade out of the drumbeat, but I didn’t realize that only my CI was picking it up…but it was cool listening to it coming in one ear, while my hearing aid ear is waiting for the next song to start playing…which is my current favorite song “A Town Called Hypocrisy” due to the amazing guitar overlaid on a rocking drumbeat, and what sounds like horns to me. It’s just a groovy song, and reminds me of what a more rock version of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’s “The Impression That I Get” would sound like.

I really need and want to be listening in CI-stereo…at the same time! Bilateral is the answer…but hey, at least I can hear in that ear with the HA, and am grateful to have a CI!


Raindrops On Roses And Kittens… Sunday, August 5, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Allison @ 7:53 pm

Took a much-needed mini-vacation this weekend to go up north with Mom and work on my grandparents’ condo.

Traveling by car with my guinea pig and Benny (cat), it was interesting. I could hear him meowing from the back seat, in protest of the curves of the road, and from being cooped up in the car. I could talk back and forth in meows with him, despite the rumble of the engine, the hiss of the a/c, and the tires pressing against the asphalt of the road.

This morning, I saw a blue jay, but it wasn’t singing, so I couldn’t listen for the birds. I could hear the rustle of the aspen leaves and the pine needles, as the wind blew through the trees. Of the closing of the front door as the neighbor across the way came outside and into view to greet me good morning.

Then, while packing up the car to return home, I was scared out of my shoes by a long, loud rumble of thunder (I haaaaaaaate thunder and lightning) that appeared to crackle right over my head. At an elevation of 9,000+ feet, it was enough to feel like you were next to the mouth of the thunder gods yelling. Then came the rain…in big fat drops…gaining in intensity …johnny jump-ups, my mom called them.

Driving on the main street through the town, I could hear the spray of water underneath the tires, cascading in a curtain on the sidewalk. And the rain hammering on the car…I don’t think I’ve heard the intensity of rain change, especially with clarity.

At one point during the trip, when we were near the canyon, I felt/heard a crackle sound, and immediately thought there might have been something wrong with my implant. Then I wondered if it was lighting that I heard. Mom said she didn’t hear it, but she may have just tuned it out. When I first heard that crackle of lightning, I thought there was something wrong with my cochlear implant. However, looking back on it, I’m pretty convinced that I heard the sound of lightning for the first time.