The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

Initial Test Scores for Sound & Beyond Monday, September 18, 2006

There are moments where I miss the simplicity that hearing aids have when it comes to listening to sound in its wholeness, and hate the CI for not giving me that same access to sound. Then there are the rare moments where the intricacies of sound are revealed to me with the CI and revel in the amazement of it, and I fall in love all over again with the CI.

Listening with a CI is *NOT* a quick update or a quick fix to hear music or sound in its entirety. It takes lots of practice to get to that point.

The baseline test scores for S&B from Friday, 9/15
Consonant – 15%
Vowel – 35.42%
Food Words – 94%
Melody – 75%
Instrument – 61.1%
Animal Words – 98%

These scores help the program pinpoint where I should start and what I need to work on. Today, it assigned me to start with Level 2 for vowels, and Level 1 for consonants.

Unfortunately, this afternoon I was feeling frustrated and apathetic. While doing the consonant training, I had to determine which sound was the different one out of three, but had no idea what was being said. I can tell which one is different, more than 80% of the time, but it drives me crazy that I can’t UNDERSTAND what is being said.

It really bothers me that with some words, the only way I can differentiate is to compare how they “feel” and what kind of pulse is happening in my head. Sometimes I’ll hear a speech sound and then the rest of the word is a pulse. This is not what I expected sound to be like. But the point is that I have to train myself to listen to it and just got to keep working at it, and have PATIENCE.

I am also having problems with the sound dropping out, or gaps where there’s absolutely no sound (especially when its really noisy, it seems as if it’s overloaded the CI so no sound comes through), and Mandy realized that Megan had set the RF to manual. She changed it to PoEM, so now program 1 is with PoEM, and program 2 is same as program 1, but on manual. Program three is the same from last week, where we added gains in the high frequencies.

Today, I woke up at what I thought was 16 minutes before I had to leave for my class. I shot out of bed, and turns out it was only 7:17, but I still overslept by more than 45 minutes. I somehow changed the time on my clock instead of the alarm clock to get more sleep. As a result, I didn’t get to do my hair today, and it made it difficult in terms of wearing the CI (especially with wet hair).

In the book, AB suggests shaving around the part where the magnet is (which makes sense, but not necessary in my case as the hair’s already thin there) so the other option is wearing a headband.

I told Mandy it’s a good thing the 80s are back in fashion, because I would be in style with a headband. But first I need to get clothes that go with headbands! I love the 80s, especially the Hypercolor t-shirts!

But the one sentence I understood while waiting outside Mandy’s office, was her saying “thank you very much” as she hung up the phone.

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“It’s A Sound Good Thing” Thursday, September 14, 2006

I’ve been listening to music with the CI at home for the last few hours, as opposed to being hooked up to the iPOD. It’s so hard to describe music with the new map now, but basically my mind is just blown.

At 9:07 pm, I heard my first actual “s” in a song. I heard “Sugar baby” in Crazy Town’s “Butterfly”. I know that I can expect the “S” in my mind, but when you actually experience hearing it in a song (especially one that is considered nu-metal/rap-rock), it’s amazing!

I’ve written about listening to music since the day I’ve been activated. With each mapping session, sounds evolve and change over time, that I just get more amazed with each nuance and discovery that I make with the CI. It’s very interesting for me to analyze it, and what I am missing.

Right now, it sounds so much clearer (especially with the HA on at the same time), but I am getting so much more information in the CI ear that I can’t hear with the HA.

The reason I can tell the difference is because I actually can hear or “feel” the stimulation of the sound, whereas the same feeling/sound does not translate to the HA ear.

That’s one way I have learned to compare if sounds are the same, based on the “feel” in my ear (if I can’t understand it). For a person who may not understand or have the appreciation for sound, this may be difficult to understand. You can differentiate between sound, by its own distinct “feel”, and I am not sure how much of a role residual hearing plays in that.

This whole experience with music is kind of disturbing to me, because I consider myself to be a music fanatic. Right now my perception is being rocked to its very core and will continue to do so as I progress with the CI.

I finally heard some more on the 120 channel processor, and its official name is the Harmony. The difference between the Harmony and the Auria, other than the programming strategies, is that the Harmony will have a built-in T-Mic, and be a “power miser” to deal with the battery drain issues.

I excitedly anticipate seeing what it looks like. I cannot wait to stick it onto my head, and have even more fine control over music and the sound spectrum!

As for listening with the iPOD with the HA, I’m about ready to break the door that covers the electrodes off the HA. It is so difficult to plug in the audio boot because it requires a fine amount of dexterity and lots of patience. There’s this whole complicated process to putting it on, but it makes me prefer the audio boot of my old HA, which I could just snap on quickly. It’s frustrating, because the industrial design side of me, wants to take my training out and put it to use redesigning it! The design flaw makes it neither functional nor practical and is an annoyance when I’m moving about and it doesn’t stay put.

On Tuesday, Apple announced several new iPODs, one of which has a capacity of 80-gb! My wish has been answered! There’s something out there that will fit my entire music collection, which currently tops out at 42-gb. Yippie!

 

“A Get Together To Tear It Apart” Saturday, September 9, 2006

Last night was a spur-of-the-moment get-together/party.

As we left the dorms to head to the apartment, I was scared by the sudden loud booming noise and crackling sounds that shot through my head. In fear, I looked at my friends to see what was going on, and they were as confused as I was. Seeing their faces, and then hearing popping noises made me think somebody was shooting off a gun. Then the sound came back, more painful this time, along with a bright flash of light that danced across their faces. “What is going on?!?!?!” and the answer was “somebody’s setting off fireworks in the quad.”

We piled into the car, and we could still hear the fireworks going off, as we drove away. Even a half-mile away, I could vaguely hear it with the CI but not with the HA. Then it stopped, and we figured it was over.

As we rounded the bend in the road, the fireworks started up again. After much begging and pleading to Stef, she pulled over into the parking lot, where we all piled onto the hood of her car to watch the show.

After watching for awhile, I turned off the HA to see how fireworks sounded different with the CI. It was very faint for me, even though we were close to the launch site. I could “feel” it more and got more hearing from “feeling” it than I did with the CI.

At one point, I told Jen, who had retreated to the driver’s seat, to tap the horn, and she said she already did. “You did?” I asked, with an incredulous look on my face. I did not hear it at all, even though I was sitting on the hood of the car, smack dab in the middle. How could I not hear it with the CI, even though I had always been able to hear it with the HA, when I was standing next to a car?

After we returned to the apartment, the listening problems continued. Listening to the music play in the background, my friends talking (often all at once), and still not understanding what was being said, was difficult.

It got worse as we got louder and more rowdier, because I still couldn’t understand, and sound got more distorted. I felt bad interrupting the flow of conversation, even though I was constantly asking in the beginning what was said, and repeating back what I heard, which lead to some hilarious sentences.

After awhile, I felt like retreating into my old self, where I pretend I know what’s going on, and really don’t understand. I may have a basic idea of what we’re talking about, but not the details. I hate cheating myself out of being a part of a social interaction. It doesn’t matter, sign or speech, it is hard to follow either one after awhile (especially with my attention span, due to the ADHD), but sign is easier sometimes.

It’s only been a month and two days since I got activated. It is times like these where I wish things could happen faster, but I know I have to be patient.

Yesterday, Mandy lent me a book, “Wired For Sound” and I finished it in 2 hours this morning. It is an interesting look at deafness and cochlear implants, and the whole experience of it all, with supporting evidence, facts and quotes from people.

 

The First Day Of School With The CI Monday, September 4, 2006

Today was my first day of school with the CI.

How was it? TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT I EXPECTED.

I have NEVER realized that there were THAT many sounds in a classroom, and were THAT audible from a distance. I was just AMAZED by everything that I could hear. It’s enough to drive you absolutely batty!

Bags zipping, pages flipping, pens scratching, people wiggling around in chairs, feet/legs swinging, chairs squeaking, water bottles crackling, laptop keys clacking, whispering, the rustling of food packages, people breathing/coughing/sneezing/blowing their noses, pens/pencils clicking, flipflops going clip-clop against feet, footsteps descending down the auditorium stairs, the sound of the keys on people’s cell phones as they text each other…I could go on and on…but that was just the beginning of what I could hear. HOLY COW.

I’m also hearing a lot more “pulses” and “clicks” for sounds that I don’t have resolution or an identity for yet, and all this extra noise is not helping my case of dizziness. The dizziness has made a comeback since I’ve arrived back at school, and it has been a bit difficult walking around as I lose my point of center sometimes and feel like Lurch.

My first class, a lecture with 340 kids (I think it’s a little more than half of that for this section), had an open-captionist there, as well as the interpreter for the 7+ deaf kids in that class. It was interesting reading the open-captioning and knowing that she was not typing word-for-word what the teacher was saying. I prefer watching the interpreter because the interpreter’s speed is closer to what the teacher is saying. However, it still bugs me that I can’t understand what is being spoken, yet the interpreter is behind enough, that I can’t match up what I thought the teacher said, to what the interpreter is saying, and then I just end up getting so confused. This is compounded by the fact that my teacher talks F…A…S…T. I can’t wait till I can understand speech consistently!

My other class, it’s just two deaf students (including me), and the two of us are partnered up for the project. It’s cool with me, but at the same time I feel as if I’m being pulled back into the deaf world because I will have to sign instead of speak and listen. I wanted to work with the hearing students (one of which asked me, but ended up doing otherwise). My classmate thought the two of us would need to work together because we’re both deaf, so that’s why she changed her mind about working with me. ARGH. Misconceptions.

I totally understand and empathize with the situation because being deaf and all alone in a class full of hearing students that you don’t know/hang out with is not fun, especially when they don’t ask you to work with them and are excluded. I do get the advantage because I know many of the students from my classes last year or from PH, so I’m comfortable interacting with them due to my connections. I do need to keep in mind that even though I have a CI, I still am deaf, and I cannot forget what it was like to be in that position before, and not treat my deaf classmates the same way the hearing classmates used to treat me.

Today, I’ve seen a lot of faculty/staff/classmates that I knew last year who were surprised that I got the CI, because I didn’t tell anybody that I was going to get the CI, and only made the final decision in June to do so. I didn’t want to tell anybody, because I was afraid that I might chicken out or be pressured into it, and have to answer all the questions about it. I like the element of surprise. But they’ve all been interested in knowing about the CI and how it’s working. The first question usually is “what do you think of it?” and I tell them “I absolutely love it, and it was worth it.”

The cafeteria was another interesting element, but nothing new to report there as I’ve already been to a restaurant a few times…just starting to be able to pick out different voices more.

In other news, I still don’t have my new phone yet, was supposed to get it on Friday. *whine* I admit that I am a technology addict and am just miserable being cut off from my hearing friends. No computer or telephone at my apartment, as things are currently in transit. Just a few more days!

This is definitely going to be an interesting year, that’s for sure. What new sounds will it bring? Only tomorrow will tell.

 

Mango…The Word That Just Won’t Die Monday, August 28, 2006

The word that just won’t die…MANGO.

Megan said she was going to send me a care package of mangoes to me at school. When I come back in a few months, I’m bringing her a kumquat just because. Maybe an onion. But it better not be a combo of mango and fennel. It’s a good thing we don’t have our own cooking show on the Food Network.

Had #7 today…spent close to 4 hours in there. First I had to see Dr. M. for my checkup. The blood is gone from my middle ear and my eardrum is not purple anymore, but it’s still swollen. He had Megan do a test to see if I have any residual hearing, and I don’t, but it’s probably still too soon to tell.

After that, instead of being in the auditory room, Megan set up in the same exam room that I was in the day I got activated. She had both computers, the programming one, and the Sound and Beyond one. She would tinker with my CI while I was playing with the program and listening to words, telling her what sounded funny as I was going through the exercises, but the picture of the rabbit in the food category is a terrible picture! I was doing pretty well, scoring between 85 to 96 percent with the CI alone. However, I started having trouble with some familiar words, such as cat. And while comparing programs, she would say “how does this sound? what time is it? mango.” just to rub it in because I hate that word!

At one point today, Megan was on a mission to find out just how much I am hearing with my CI, and help me see that the CI is working better than the HA and I’m hearing way more than I think I am.

88% with CI alone.
96% with CI and HA.
80 or 84% with HA alone.

Course, I was cheating because I could not hear the laptop very well with the HA, and had my head right next to the keyboard at intervals so I could hear it, until Megan made me sit up and stay put. :-p

The other thing that has been an issue with the CI is that it sounds good at first, and after a little while, it starts to sound bad (even while I’m still hooked up to the computer). Over a few days, I go from being able to hear voices within a room, to only being able to hear within one to two feet around me. I always thought it was because it was because my neuro-adaptation was fast, but that might not be the case due to what AB said. Kim said they had a patient like that, but that was a long time ago. We also experimented with the pulse width, and at times it would sound awesome, almost like the hearing aid, but there would be a bit of an echo. It’s very frustrating tinkering with the CI, because when one thing sounds good, another thing sounds bad. And there are times I don’t know how to explain it. Sometimes I feel like I’m hearing in my left ear as well, because the sound from the CI seems to “translate” to my left ear.

Megan got on the phone with AB and figured out a plan of troubleshooting. She also taught me how to put the magnet on correctly, in a way that doesn’t twist the wire. We ended up having to go into the bathroom to do that so I could see how she was doing it, and walked past a family that was there for a candidate consultation so it was a little funny. I could also hear people speaking, but couldn’t understand them, and Megan said it was because they were speaking Italian.

The Problem Of Missing/Changing Sound – Solution
1. Make sure wire for magnet is secure, and placed on head properly.
2. Change out T-Mic (possible moisture?)
3. Change Battery (possible low power?)
4. Dehumidify it (and I need to stay on top of making sure the crystals are yellow, cuz the moisture from the environment affects it too.)

I am still not used to the concept of older people getting CIs. My experience has been that younger people and children have CIs, but never people who are in their 40s or older. I’ve always seen them with little ITE hearing aids, or just deaf, while us kids have had the BTEs or the CIs. I’m going to have to get used to it.

Kim had to remind me today that I’m doing extremely well with my CI, and that I need to be patient. She reminds me of and sounds so much like mom, with the “no nonsense from you” talk, and knows just exactly how to get me to shush and stop to think, just like mom does. “How long has it been?” “And you’re getting a score of what?”…”3 weeks…and 96%.” “That’s pretty good.” So here it goes…..I’ve got three programs to experiment with for a week and a half to two weeks. It’s going to be a challenge to leave my CI alone and learn to appreciate it without any adjustments in that time period. Patience is NOT one of my virtues as Dad has reminded me.

Kim also told me that her patients seem to prefer Verizon for their cell phones, so that’s something to keep in mind. I’m hoping that my phone can make it until the full-QWERTY version of the Blackberry Pearl comes out in Q1 2007.

In NY news, I talked to Karen, and she’s going to talk to Mandy about how they can best work with me when I return. I’m going to miss seeing Megan, Kim, and Dr. M, but I will see them in a few months. I really don’t like saying goodbye, especially to people that I like working with. Sometimes it’s nice to finish what you started, with the people you began it with. And this is why being bi-coastal stinks…I can’t have the best of both worlds in one place. I always have to say goodbye to a group of people in each place and adapt to a new environment and time zone two times a year, and I hate it (especially when I have to leave my family).

Today’s Sounds List
– Recognizing clapping at a restaurant
– Mom coming up behind me at noisy restaurant and saying “Sweetie”, and me not paying attention

That was my first recognized word on its own, where I’m not paying attention, and able to understand it without having to think about it.

 

I now officially love my cochlear implant. Today’s Adventures In Sound! Wednesday, August 9, 2006

As of 9:22 pm Mountain Standard Time, I now officially LOVE my cochlear implant.

I’ve had it on for almost all day, except for about an hour where I took it off to let my scalp rest for a little bit. The “pulsing/shocking feeling” that I had been complaining about in my last entry doesn’t bother me as much anymore, and is almost at the point of being non-existent. Instead it has been replaced with a “crackling” sound. I think Program 1 is my favorite, and I’ve got it turned up all the way to max, because I’ve outgrown the limits already.

Tomorrow I meet with Megan again to do my 3rd Mapping session in 4 days! And Susan (the speech therapist) emailed me today, and I am now going in for a post-activation evaluation and starting therapy next week because I can do it now.

This morning I came downstairs to get some juice. I pulled the glass out of the cupboard and set it down gently on the granite counter, and I could distinctly hear it go “clink”. Mom was happy, because that means I will stop banging her poor dishes onto the counter!

After that, I ventured out to the public library and got some audio books and CDs to practice listening with. After that, I came home and listened to music all day. When I first started listening to the music (I got tired of NPR for today), I swear that everything sounds like TECHNO! At one point I heard this noise that was different from the music, and realized it was the phone ringing, and right after that, I heard the clock started chiming at the hour! And then there was the clacking of the keyboard keys and the clicking of the mouse buttons. That was VERY exciting.

Throughout the day, I kept telling Jen that the song that just came on sounded like 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready 4 This”, and that I was positive it was the song. (wrong on all counts!) I finally gave up because I was starting to be able to tell the differences between songs. I also tried to listen to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but I was having a hard time hearing the words, because I need more clarity/definition in sound. I was also holding Benny today, and he was complaining (quietly) and I was able to hear the quiet meows as compared to yesterday’s loud meows.

When Mom came home from work, I told her about thinking that every song was sounding like the beginning of “Get Ready 4 This”. She wasn’t sure which song I was talking about, so I attempted to imitate the beat and tone that it sounds like. And then I put the song on for her, and she was surprised, because my imitation was very close! I’ve never been able to do that. I think this will help me tremendously with my piano playing and any other instrument that I decide to play.

While we were talking and eating dinner, I heard this sound coming from the other room. I asked mom, what’s that sound? She wasn’t sure, so I was tapping in rhythm with the sound, and it turns out it was the dog drinking water from her bowl! I couldn’t hear that with my hearing aids either! *lap lap lap lap lap* Mom looked so happy and like she was about to cry!

I’m listening to music again, with my favorite songs (250+) on shuffle. I was able to get 3 out of 5 random songs (in a row) correctly identified by artist and title! Some of the songs I was able to identify by the words (Jimmy Buffett’s “Apocalypso”)! Others I was able to identify by the beat and some of the melodies that I can hear. I was a little disappointed when I couldn’t recognize Groove Armada’s “But I Feel Good (Audio Bullys Dr. Feelgood Mix)” (mp3) because that’s one of my most favorite songs.

My other favorite sound discovery for today is the sound that toilet paper makes when you wipe yourself. I didn’t know the paper rustled that much!

Other than that, Jen is in trouble with me because she is on a mission to collect and find magnets that will stick to my head. She’s obsessed with the thoughts of magnets (other than my CI magnet) having the potential to stick to my head. ^.^ I didn’t even think about that till she brought it up! :-p

I’m amused and grateful that my friends are taking such an interest in this whole thing. Not only that, they are willing to help me in whatever way they can. I can’t even REMEMBER the last time that I’ve had hearing friends actually take the initiative to learn more about it on their own, without me having to explain it all to them.

And I got the best email from Dad today about this whole thing, which made me cry. Dad, I love you very much and thank you for what you said.

It wasn’t till 10:09 pm that I finally identified “Get Ready 4 This” correctly! I knew it as soon as it came on!

The Discovered Sounds List
Aug 7, 06 – Mom + Dad’s Voice
Aug 8, 06 – Benny’s (cat) Loud Mrrreeow/”talking”
Aug 9, 06 – Glass Clinking On Counter
Aug 9, 06 – Clock Chiming at Hour in Office
Aug 9, 06 – Phone Ringing
Aug 9, 06 – Keyboard clacking/Mouse clicking
Aug 9, 06 – Elizabeth lapping water in her bowl (from the other room!)
Aug 9, 06 – Hearing myself whistle
Aug 9, 06 – Starting to recognize some favorite songs
Aug 9, 06 – The sound toilet paper makes when you wipe yourself

Songs That I Recognized Today (When I First Started Making The List)
* the first 3 were out of 5 in a row
* All-4-One – “The Bomb”
* Green Day – “Burnout”
* Everclear – “I Will Buy You A New Life” (words)
Jimmy Buffett – “Apocalypso” (words)
S Club 7 – “It’s A Feel Good Thing”
Rage Against The Machine – “Bulls On Parade” (the trigger point for me loving the CI due to the intricacies in some of the notes)
Bowling For Soup – “The Bitch Song”
Van Halen – “Jump”
Sublime – “What I Got”
The Bloodhound Gang – “I Hope You Die”
Vengaboys – “We Like To Party”
Rick Astley – “Never Gonna Give You Up”
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – “Zoot Suit Riot” (words)
KC And The Sunshine Band – “Get Down Tonight”
The Prodigy – “Firestarter”
Smashmouth – “All Star”
Lenny Kravitz – “Black Velveteen”
Queens Of The Stone Age – “Feel Good Hit Of The Summer”
Boz Scaggs – “Love Me Tomorrow”
Foo Fighters – “Everlong”
*NSYNC – “Bye Bye Bye”
Vitamin C – “The Itch”
The Refreshments – “Down Together”
Jewel – “Who Will Save Your Soul?” (words)
Lou Bega – “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of…)

 

Activation Day and Pictures! Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Activation Day (Aug 7) was interesting. Dad met us at the doctor’s office, and the waiting room was the busiest I had ever seen it. My appointment was at 11:30 but we didn’t get called back until about 11:45. I noticed two people in the waiting room with ankle casts on (and I was reminded that I broke my ankle not more than a year and a half ago) so I felt their pain!

Bounced into the examining room and onto the chair, waiting for the doc to come in. Was chatting with Kim for a bit while Megan finished her lunch and the doctor was seeing another patient. Finally it was MY turn! Checked out the incision which is healing well, and looked in my ear, and I still have blood in my ear, which is normal. And then I got the magical words…“Are you ready?”

I just remember everybody (mom, dad, Dr. M, Megan, and Kim) looking at me to see what my reaction was to the news and I was like “I don’t want to! I guess I’m ready but I’m scared too!” We headed into the audiology “room” and it was a nice tight fit. They’ve had more people than that in there before, and they’ve had to stick the overflow into the sound booth.

Started off with testing the electrodes to see how they were doing, all were just fine. Then we did the testing with the beeps to see if I could hear anything. For like 20 minutes, I was sitting there just feeling it pulsing on my head, and I was starting to get the strong waves again, and I got scared. Then I started to cry because the last time was horrible with the waves. Dr. M came back to see what was going on, and they were all trying to figure out what was going on, and made some adjustments. The whole thing was just so weird and unfamiliar and I was worried that the implant wasn’t going to work because of everything that I had gone through the last time with the NRI testing and having such a strong reaction to it all.

And then the moment we had been waiting for…a real live BEEP sound! We kept going with the beeps for each electrode, till I found one that was set for my comfort level. We kept switching back and forth between the beep-testing and live speech, to see how it sounded. You know, in audiology school, they must train the audiologists to say “can you hear me now? how about now? how does it sound?” as they are fiddling with the settings, it never fails!

Megan had to turn it off to do some editing in the computer and I was talking and then all of a sudden the sound disappeared, and I was like “HEY! Where did the sound go? Bring it back!” And Kim was teasing me because at first I couldn’t hear anything and was like whatever, which soon changed into hearing stuff and then I wanted it on and was disappointed when it was off! Mom and Kim kept laughing and teasing me/Megan throughout the session. Even Dr. M was amused when he popped in now and then to see how everything was going.

When we got to a point where the speech seemed to be set, Megan and Kim decided to try and test me with words to see how they sounded. We started off with days of the week, but that was a bit difficult. We switched to the months instead, and did January-June. After listening to Megan say it several times, and thinking I had the hang of it, she tested me but without being able to read her lips. I was able to understand some of it and get it correct, so there was a bit of yay/amazement there.

The funny part was when I caught Megan saying it incorrectly, and Mom and Kim were just laughing and teasing Megan “…ooo, you got BUSTED!”. That was really cool, being able to know if somebody was saying a word incorrectly, because I was looking at her with a funny look after I heard it, and I was like “that’s not a word!” and she was a little red in the face! I’m glad I was able to provide comic relief for the office and my mom!

After everything was all programmed, Megan brought out this gigantic tote bag, and the big “shoebox” full of the accessories for my implant. We went over everything and I learned how to put it together, put it on my head, use it, and about the different parts and all the accessories. There are a lot of accessories, so it’s really cool. I can’t wait to start using some of them, but first I have to HEAR!

I left the appointment with a map that was the equivalent to a 3rd Mapping session (about ~1 month), and it was up quite high. Megan told me that I could come back tomorrow if I had to, just had to call in the morning. (they know that I’m very picky with sound and wanting to get it just right…Mandy can attest to that! 5 weeks of tinkering with the new hearing aid stretched out into 10 weeks!). The real world was much more intense than the sound booth, so I was enjoying it for awhile, and then it started to become really really painful and overwhelming.

Things I Need To Remember:
1. Kim noticed that when I get stressed (my shoulders bunch up) I stop “listening” and start thinking too much and then I can’t hear anything. When I’m calm/relaxed, I’m able to understand/hear things. This is going to be an important thing for me to remember through my audiological training.
2. INTUITION IS EVERYTHING. I need to stop “thinking” and just LISTEN to what it sounds like. The reason why I think is because with the hearing aids, I’ve had to train my brain to “fill in” the gaps with what I think the sound is. With the CI, I will be able to hear all the sounds, but I need to let my head put it together automatically without thinking. No more guessing…I just have to say what I heard back, not go “i think it sounded like…”

 

Dad, me, and Mom waiting for the doctor to come in and give me a checkup and his “OK” for activation.

 

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