TMI: Too Much Information

I learned the other day that I can sometimes tell when someone flushed the toilet (on the same floor or upstairs) when I’m at someone’s house (if it’s quiet enough to be able to pick that sound out).

I also learned that I can sometimes figure out if someone washed their hands after going to the bathroom. I can’t really pick out the sink water over the toilet flushing but I can tell based up on how long it takes for them to exit the bathroom after flushing.

I’m sorry, but this is…..just a tad bit too much information for me. 😉 I’m not too sure I want to know every single time someone goes to the bathroom and when they don’t wash their hands, lol.

On another note. I’m starting to really realize how much of a difference it makes when people point out sounds. I don’t always register that I’m hearing something. Usually someone will ask if I’m hearing something and it takes me a few seconds to realize I’m hearing something. Then they will tell me what I’m hearing. For example, last night, someone pointed out they could hear a friend’s large dog breathing/panting from a few feet away. I didn’t even realize I was hearing this until they pointed it out…then the sound became crystal clear.

Do I Want to be a Hearing Person?

Do I want to be a hearing person? I got that question often as a kid. I would often answer with a “yes” even though it wasn’t really what I wanted.

I always felt like I was SUPPOSED to want to hear. I felt like society expected me to want to hear and it was wrong to be okay with being deaf. I do want to point out that I spent a good half of my childhood being the only deaf person I knew which played a huge role in how I viewed my deafness. It was a good growing experience for me and has taught me so many things.

I did have those moments when I would become extremely frustrated and wished I could hear for 30 minutes just so I could understand 100% what was going on without having to work so hard in certain situations. Whereas I felt like I could never admit those “I want to hear” moments to deaf friends. I always felt like I was SUPPOSED to want to be deaf and that the deaf community would look down on me if I wanted to be able to hear.

A bit confusing.

Some people may make the assumption that I want to be a hearing person because I decided to get a CI. Not true. I want to be a deaf person who can utilize some “hearing” to help communication within the world I chose to live in. I have mentioned this before but one of the many reasons it took me 5 years to decide if I wanted a CI or not….was I wanted to be sure I was comfortable being deaf before getting a CI. I wanted to be sure I was getting a CI for what I believed to be the correct reasons.

Even though I have one foot in the deaf world and the other foot in the hearing world…I have more or less chosen the hearing world even though I will always be a part of the deaf world (I need both worlds). My whole family is hearing, most of my friends growing up were hearing, I chose a career within the hearing world, and as many culturally Deaf people put it…I grew up “hearing minded.”

So, why did I get a CI if I do not want to be a hearing person? I see my CI as a tool. To me, it’s kind of like when you decide to live in another country and you learn their language. Even though you’ll always be more comfortable with your native language and you may never be fluent in that particular country’s language…..learning a bit of that country’s language will help you in daily situations. I have chosen to work within the hearing world and I have many loved ones within the hearing world….hence….I want to learn their language.

Basically, I am a deaf person who wants to be deaf and “hear”…however…I don’t want to be a hearing person. Sometimes I do feel selfish for wanting both. Am I asking for too much? Or does it surprise people that instead of choosing being hearing over deaf…I want both?

My answer to “Do I want to be a hearing person?” has changed over the years and I’m sure it will continue to change. My answer right now is that I want to be a deaf person who can “hear” some.

So You Think You Can Dance?!

I’ve always enjoyed watching hip-hop and breakdancing. I come from a somewhat musical family (a bit ironic eh? lol) and most of my cousins grew up dancing. I did want to get into dancing as a child but it was required that I take ballet also. There was no way I was going to get into a pink tutu so I decided to stick with gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance but I just don’t seem to have a natural rhythm which I do NOT blame on my deafness. I think even if I could hear I wouldn’t have a good rhythm.

I did go to some dances with some extended family members when I was younger and did have to learn gymnastic routines with music. Being from Kansas I learned some line dances and square dancing in elementary school PE (how Midwestern is that?!).

Anyways I had a couple of roommates in NY who grew up dancing (ballet) and they got me hooked on SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance?).

I’m surprised I haven’t seen a deaf person on this show yet even during the try outs. There are many deaf people who enjoy dancing and are good at it. There are even deaf dance teams. I’m starting to wonder if I just missed it because surely by now a deaf person would have tried out. Anyone know?

Anyone else enjoy watching SYTYCD?

Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress…Oh My!

After refusing to twitter for months I have finally jumped onto the bandwagon. I figured I updated facebook and my blog more than enough…but either I apparently don’t or I just have Internet obsessed friends :-p

CyborgGenetics is my twitter name. I know it’s a bit lame but I’m not great at coming up with usernames. I’ll probably focus mostly on daily CI experiences and genetics stuff. It will be a challenge to keep it under 140 characters. I’m going to give it a try for a couple of weeks and see how it goes. I know there are a few of you who twitter so let me know how I can add you. I love reading other people’s thoughts.

I’m also contributing to another blog that a group of us genetic counselors set up for genetics professionals. It focuses on genetics-related issues along with opinions regarding some genetic counseling issues. If you’re interested: The DNA Exchange We are still in the process of working out some kinks and revising a bit.

Silence Makes a Sound

Woo! Here I go again on another blogging kick!

I blogged a while back about how I believe that silence simply does NOT exist within the hearing world. You can actually hear silence within the hearing world.

A few weeks ago I discovered what it’s like to hear silence as a hearing person may hear it. I have it drilled into my mind that whenever I have the CI on I’ll hear something. There’s just constant noise. I’ve noticed lately that sometimes I wonder if my CI is on because I feel like I’m not hearing anything which throws me off because I know I’m supposed to be hearing something. I then take the CI off and sure enough I was hearing something. I was just tuning it out (e.g. road sounds).

To me, there are 2 different types of silence.
1) Silence according to hearing people makes a sound. It’s just that people tune them out and think they’re not hearing anything when they really are.
2) Silence that profoundly deaf people “hear” is absolutely NOTHING which can be nice sometimes.

Hearing people may think deaf people are missing out by not being able to hear. I personally think that hearing people are missing out on what true silence is.

I love and hate silence. I hate silence as defined by hearing people and I love silence as defined by deaf people. I’m more prone to turning my CI off if I’m “hearing silence” vs noisy sounds.

For instance I may get all set for some quiet time and I’ll be laying in bed reading a book. What do I hear? My clothes rubbing against my pillow and sheets. Pages turning. Every once in a while I can hear myself breathing. This is usually when I turn the CI off. Then I hear absolutely nothing and am able to relax more.

I always thought silence couldn’t make a sound but it does. Silence is one thing that hearing people will never be able to truly experience.

2 Months Update

I’m a few days overdue for my 2 months post activation update.

Lately, I have had a few people ask me about music + CI and thought I would go ahead and make a quick post.

Sounds are always changing for me but it’s really changed with music this past week.

I’m starting to enjoy music that does not have tons of beats. For the first time ever in my life I’m starting to enjoy the sounds of singing itself rather than just the instruments. I have no clue what the lyrics are but just the sound of the voice itself. That’s probably the biggest change with music so far. I’m also separating the voices from the instruments better.

When driving I usually listen to music, but with hearing aids I would usually skip through half of the CD and go straight to all the songs with tons of beats and bass. Lately I’ve found myself listening to the whole CD all way through and enjoying all the songs. Now I just need to get an iPod car adapter and I’ll be good to go.

I still cannot get over how well I can pick music out when I’m out on the highway. I rarely have to adjust the volume. I usually turned it off whenever I was with hearing people just so I wouldn’t bother them with extremely loud volume levels. It’s also nice to be able to pick out music playing in the car when riding with hearing friends which I couldn’t do with HAs since it would usually be at a volume I couldn’t pick out over the car noises.

Although there is one thing I need to work on. I used to do the same thing with hearing aids. I would grab my aids as I left the house in the morning as they’re usually the last thing I put on in the mornings. I would put them on as I jumped into the car and the first thing I would hear would be music blasting. Not the best way to start the morning off especially when I’m not a morning person at all. I still make the same mistake with my CI and I usually take the CI off and turn the CD player off…then I redo it. 😉

I’m also finding that I have to readjust my way of thinking. With hearing aids, I could hear things in a much smaller radius than with the CI. I could usually hear whatever I could see and didn’t really pick out anything I couldn’t see. I’m picking out more from a greater distance with the CI. I don’t know how many times I think someone is right behind me talking and when I turn around there’s no one there at all…they’re either down the hall or somewhere else. I’ve found that I have to hunt down sounds more often with the CI when it was easier to find the source with hearing aids.

Are Deaf People Waterproof and CIs + Keychains

Swimming pools are open. Lawn sprinklers are on. It’s lake season.

It’s also “Don’t get me wet! I have my CI/hearing aid on!” season.

All deafies know what I’m talking about. 😉

It’s when we’re hanging out by the poolside and someone decides to try and push us in. Most of the time we wouldn’t mind it except for the fact that we’re wearing something that costs a few thousand bucks and isn’t waterproof! Of course we can swim as long as the external processor/aid is off. It’s just when we have them on that we worry! 😉

Too bad CIs aren’t waterproof. I would love to know what it sounds like underwater. I know many of my friends would like to know also. I did read about how someone came up with a way for their son to swim with their CI on. That is a risk to take and is one that most people aren’t willing to take. CIs/hearing aids are just so expensive to take that risk especially when it may not work or when it may fall off.

There is an unspoken golden rule among deaf people to check for hearing aids/CIs before pushing each other into the pool/lake. Although we don’t always remember this rule and we have had a few close calls. 😉 Hearing people do need to be aware of this rule.

I’m still waiting for the day where I just jump into a pool with my CI on. I was a lot more aware that I had something on my ears with hearing aids than with the CI due to wearing earmolds with aids. I’m just glad I haven’t accidentally jumped into the shower with the CI yet (probably because it usually goes flying off my head when putting/taking on/off clothes). *knocks on wood*

Looking back, it had to make my parents so nervous knowing that their 8-year-old kid was responsible for something that cost thousands of dollars and when their 2-year-old kid was walking around wearing something so expensive!

I do find it interesting that even though we (myself and friends) may seem to forget we have our CIs/hearing aids on we don’t always forget. It’s usually the first thing we yell out when someone is getting ready to get us wet. It’s not like we walk around constantly thinking “I have my CI/hearing aid” on. It’s sub-conscious and it is interesting to see how that works.

CIs/hearing aids are like keys. They’re easy to misplace and you go into that panicky mode you get when you can’t find your keys. Now that it’s summer time and I take my CI off whenever I hang out by the lake/pool. If I can’t find it afterwards in my bag….I’ve learned that the first area to look in is wherever my keys are. My CI magnet finds my key chain attractive. 😉 Of course, I’m a bit stuck if I can’t find my keys either.

On another note my “hearing” is now 2 months old. Hair in the small area that was shaved is slowly growing back and already covers almost half of the incision….yay!

As a friend pointed out… is odd when your “hearing” is only 2 months old and you’re an adult.

Phantom Hearing

Whenever I’ve worn hearing aids I’ve always worn two (pre-CI). I actually didn’t benefit much from one hearing aid in one ear…I had to wear hearing aids in both ears to benefit from them. Wearing just one was almost pointless for me. Every few months one hearing aid seemed to break down and I would have to send it in for repairs. Sometimes I wasn’t able to get a loaner and I was stuck with just one aid. I hated wearing just one hearing aid so much that sometimes I wouldn’t wear it at all. The difference between wearing one aid vs two aids was just huge.

There are times where I’m surprised at how much I can “hear” out of one ear with just one CI. I know how much of a difference there is when wearing hearing aids in one ear vs both ears. I can see why some people go bilateral with CIs.

Anyways, I’ve noticed that sometimes I feel like I’m hearing out of both ears. Maybe it’s because my brain is still used to all those years of hearing out of both ears. Has anyone had this? I suspect it’ll go away over time but it is weird. 😉

Got It! Got It!

Some friends and I were goofing off in the backyard today. We were playing a game of volleyball. At one point I heard a friend of mine say something as she ran after the volleyball.

It took a minute for me to realize what she was saying.

She was saying “got it! got it!”

Without lipreading her I was able to figure out what she had said.

Did I really understand what she had said only and only with the CI? No.

This is how I usually operate when lipreading: I think about the situation I’m in. I’m aware of my surroundings. I read the person’s body language. If I know the person, I think about their personality. Do I know the topic of the conversation?

This is how I was able to understand what my friend was saying without lipreading:
–fact: playing volleyball
–fact: different things a person may say when running after a ball (mine! I got it! got it, got it! it’s mine!, help!, it’s yours!, you! etc.)
–What I picked out with the CI: Someone yelling a 2 word phrase (that was repeated) that had a couple of those t/d/p/k sort of sounds somewhere in there.

And voila! A completed puzzle! No wonder it takes me a while to process information sometimes.

What surprised me about this was I didn’t even think about what I was doing. I didn’t make it a point to focus and listen. I just automatically did it.

Sometimes I feel communication is like a puzzle. Sometimes I get an easy puzzle and other times it’s one of those impossible 20,000 piece puzzles. At times it is frustrating but it can also be rewarding.

Silence to Sounds and Sounds to Silence

It’s such a shock to go from complete silence to a world full of sounds. I still jump a bit every time I put my CI on in the mornings. I sometimes have to clench my teeth the first few seconds while my brain adjusts to it. It’s almost painful.

Check this video clip out 0:55-1:28 is basically how I feel every time I put it on.

I’ve noticed something new the past couple of weeks. The same thing (although on a different level) is starting to happen whenever I take it off and I immediately go back to silence. It is a shock to go from a noisy world to complete silence.

*sighs* my poor brain……..not sure why I do this to myself. I do have to say that I haven’t gone a whole day without wearing my CI. I just can’t seem to do it even though I’m comfortable in a silent world. Not sure why.

Although it’s pretty cool to be able to switch my “hearing” on and off. Most people can’t do that. 😉