Thursday, February 10, 2005

Part of the hearing world again... little by little

it is has been 3 days since my initial activation and one day since my 2nd mapping session and things are sooo much better... or better yet, things SOUND so much better. my biggest complaint by far is the tinnitus i keep hearing. it's a constant buzzing sound inside my head that will *not* go away. what's even worse is that it actually becomes louder when i turn my processor off. UGH. i am told that in time the tinnitus will go away, but who knows... it's still pretty annoying.

before i get into any of the fun details of what my CI has enabled me to hear, i wanted to clarify a few things. putting up an online journal has it's advantages and disadvantages -- it's great being able to share my thoughts and feelings with everyone because the support has been tremendous; on the other hand, i feel silly when i find out that i've "messed up" with the details in my previous postings.

first, i found out that "Sally" is actually Sara and that she isn't in training. she is a seasoned audiologist, just like Judy (who works with me) and Kathleen are. all 3 of them have been extremely helpful during my hook-up and mapping sessions and i am grateful for their guidance. second, when my C-levels (comfort) are set, i'm not supposed to push myself to see 'how loud i could handle the beeping.' i'm supposed to let the beeps be loud, but comfortable... not 'barely tolerable.' i realized this "mistake" after my second mapping -- louder sounds lost their shrill, squeaky quality. it definitely makes a difference. third, i forgot to mention the run-through test of my implant before it gets turned on -- after the C and T levels are set, Judy does a check of all the electrodes by "sweeping" through them. this way, i can tell her if the loudness is the same for each one or if any need to be adjusted.

now, back to my CI..... even though everyone says 'it will get better... just give it time... wait and see...' it's hard to imagine your hearing *changing* on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. now that some time has passed since i was first hooked-up and i'm already trying out a 4th program on my SPrint bwp (body worn processor), i am absolutely AMAZED at how different everything is.

i have noticed sounds i NEVER heard before with my HA's (hearing aids). everything is much clearer, crisper, and more distinct. even the simplest sounds have taken on new characteristics. certain noises even shock me after i realize what they are or where they're coming from. my husband is having a great time with it because he's around to witness my "CI moments" every day.

because i LOVE writing (as people can see after reading my posts), i have been keeping a journal of all my hearing experiences. since i am just plain tuckered out and do not have much in me to compose another lengthy novel, i figured i would keep things simple (yeah, right) by making a list of my CI moments.

i have listed the sounds pretty much in the order that i *first* heard/noticed/became aware of them:


  • my shoes went clickety-clack against the tile floor -- they were LOUD and annoying
  • when i went to pee, it was the cutest sound ever -- like tinkling bells or giggling fairies... very adorable!
  • toilet flushing was AWFUL -- howling hyenas
  • i decided to be brave/stupid by calling my brother on my cell phone... and i understood (almost) everything he said... he did have to repeat himself and slow down quite a bit, but i did comprehend what he was saying to me -- THIS was very surprising, obviously
  • my husband scratching his leg in the car -- he was wearing jeans and i actually heard the scratching sound his nails made against the denim
  • the brakes squeaking on our car -- no wonder hubby wants to get them fixed!
  • clinking of metal utensils on a glass plate -- a very pretty tinkling sound
  • while driving home IN THE DARK, without reading my husband's lips, i was able to pick up a *lot* of what he was telling me... including his giggling because he was so excited
  • overheard a friend's boyfriend say "egg drop soup" when he was reading a Chinese take-out menu... normally, this would not be a big deal, but i wasn't looking at him AND i was sitting on the other side of the room!
  • the blinking of the turn signal, while driving in traffic... i used to hear this with my HA's, but not *while* driving (the roar of the road was too loud)
  • my keyboard clacking really loudly as i typed at my computer - WOW
  • the fan inside my computer was blowing at full blast... sounded like it was going to explode!

2nd DAY

  • paper and plastic bags sound really, really, really loud and obnoxious... even the rustling of a TISSUE gets to me -- it's incredible
  • while driving to work the morning after my hook-up, i heard a very quiet "click... click... click-click... click" sound -- when i finally figured out what it was, i almost died -- i actually heard my KEYCHAIN dangling from the ignition, making a clutter-y sound
  • i can hear myself breathing -- this is just plain WEIRD
  • the fan in the bathroom at work sounds *ominously* loud -- i have to turn off my processor when i go in there because it hurts my ear
  • the "swoop-swoop-swoop" sound of my printer cartridge going back and forth when my printer is spitting out a document -- this sound is distracting
  • when eating a granola bar for breakfast (Special K - yum!) i heard myself chewing -- this is unusual, too because i am *not* used to it


  • the water faucet produces an unusual "shreeeeechy" sound -- not pleasant at ALL
  • when a co-worker of mine laughed, i swear i heard the Crypt Keeper cackling (from HBO's "Tales from the Crypt") -- what a frightening sound
  • i heard my co-workers talking to each other while i was working at the opposite end of the office -- even though i did not understand what they were saying, i heard them talking and that is just so cool!
  • when another co-worker of mine was shaking a paper packet of instant oatmeal, i thought i heard someone sawing a piece of wood -- very odd
  • i noticed my male boss was talking to me a little strangely (he sounds like a woman, from what i remember with my HA's) -- well, he was actually whispering for fear of talking too loud and i could tell, so i told him to talk normally because that will help me
  • the key-pad on the copy machine at work actually BEEPS!
  • while watching TV during my lunch break, i noticed that female voices sound raspy/whispery - sort of like "bedroom talk" - while male voices sound robotic and a bit "Mickey-Mouse-ish" still
  • the cleaning crew came to our work and had to use the vacuum cleaner... this is BY FAR the most *horrendous* and *painful* sound ever!!!
  • the Recycle Bin on my desktop on my home computer actually makes a "WHOOSH!" sound... like garbage emptying -- this is really neat
  • when hubby came home from work, i heard him ring the door bell... i jumped up and down when i could tell he was home

DAY THREE -- after 2nd mapping session

(i experienced a lot of the same sounds, but with more distinction and clarity... voices were especially less mechanical and tinny... this was a relief)

  • heard my dress-pants make a "swish swish swish" sound when i was walking
  • the space-heater at my work makes a really neat whirring sound, but gets distracting after a while (just like the printer)
  • at the drug store -- while talking to the pharmacist, her back was turned (so i couldn't read her lips), but i heard her say, 'I'll be right with you...' -- WOW!
  • when grocery shopping, heard the Self-Check-Out machine say, "Don't forget to take your receipt." -- i almost started giggling right there in the store!
  • i finally heard my microwave and oven timer beeping... no burned dinner, yay!
  • while i was in the kitchen, talking to my hubby, he was in the bedroom -- i heard his responses, but he didn't hear mine and had to actually come out and ask me to repeat myself -- we were both SOOO thrilled about this
  • talked to both of my parents on mycell phone and understood almost everything they said!


(a lot of this stuff gets repeated, so i'll just list the last few really interesting sounds i heard)

  • the battery-warning beep on my speech processor -- now i know it takes about 4 days for the two AA batteries to die... not bad, i guess?
  • while driving home from work, my car went over a manhole cover and i heard it go "clunkety-clunk" -- what a funny sound
  • my own voice sounds much better, as do others' voices -- men are more "macho" and women less squeaky, but still whispery

i'm sure a lot of these sounds will change as i become more accustomed to the new programs in my processor. i will try coming back here to update every so often when things get interesting. in the meantime, this is pretty much the way it's been the last few days... and I AM LOVING IT!!!


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