How did it go with the CI?
A couple of people have asked me this question. I had expressed some concern about background noises at the conference. I had planned on blogging more about the conference itself and some of the presentations I found interesting but that will have to wait. Instead I thought I would do a quick post to answer this question.
I definitely had some high points and some low points with the CI.
Lowest point: The lowest point was my graduate school reunion held at a restaurant. I generally struggle with restaurants anyways but this one was just argh! I can sometimes tell when the person next to me starts to talk so I can look up quickly enough to start lipreading…this was not the case at the reunion. I’m not sure why it was more difficult than usual to just tell what the heck I was hearing…everything was just all jumbled and I wasn’t even able to tell if I was hearing voices or something else.
Then of course I was trying not to freak out because my interpreters hadn’t shown up (turns out they were downstairs waiting for an hour–there had been some confusion about exactly where the reunion was at). The lighting was crappy and I was operating on a grand total of 30 minutes of sleep. I was completely lost that first hour because I was just so thrown off by the fact I couldn’t find my interpreters, it was dark, I was tired (makes it harder to focus on lipreading), and it took a while for my class to show up.
I was tempted to leave since I was wayyyyyy out of my comfort zone but I decided to stick it out and do the best I could with the situation. Finally a few people I graduated with showed up and I was able to relax a bit more…they’re used to facing me when talking and they try to give me a general idea of what’s going on (they’re AWESOME about trying to include me). Then the interpreters showed up for about 45 minutes and I was on my own afterwards which was perfectly fine at that point. It did make me feel a bit better that the interpreters were really struggling to hear too. 😉 But it’s times like these that just make me feel like I’m back at square one because the CI just seems so worthless in situations like these.
Of course about 15 minutes before the reunion was over I finally started picking out when people near me were talking. Even though I don’t understand speech…just hearing a person’s voice makes a difference in terms of awareness (that’s one reason why I always wore my hearing aids too….just so I knew when someone was talking in general). In all, I’m glad I ended up staying. It was lots of fun catching up with everyone and meeting new people. A bunch of us went out afterwards….good times!
Highest point: I got up bright and early to head to the airport this morning. I was walking around trying to find somewhere to grab breakfast from….and I walked past one of those little booth stores or whatever they’re called and heard an employer say to me “morning!” without lipreading. Granted, there’s not that many possible options he could have said (morning, hello, how are you, etc.). However, I wasn’t even listening for it and I didn’t have to take the extra time to figure out what he was saying. I just automatically turned around and smiled back at him then walked down a bit before I realized that I actually heard/understood what he said without trying. This is the second time something like this has happened so it’s kinda cool but definitely throws me off because I don’t expect it….it’s so different from how I understand the world around me. It goes against everything I know about how to function in the world…for lack of better words.
Generally I always take my CI off whenever sleeping. I did the same with hearing aids too because 1) hearing aids whistles whenever I lay on it 2) I could never fall asleep hearing noises 3) it’s not comfortable laying on it. With the CI…sounds aren’t as forced and sounds are a bit more subtle so I’ve found myself dozing off with the CI on every once in a while.
I was exhausted because I only got a total of maybe 9-10 hours of sleep in 3 days and I zonked out on the airplane even with the noisy airplane. All of the sudden I woke up to a certain noise and it took me a few seconds to realize it was probably a baby screaming or crying and was a bit annoyed I woke up to that. Then after I woke up a bit more..I realized that was the first time I’ve ever really slept (and not just dozed off) with noises going on all around me and I was actually woken up by a baby…and that I was able to identify that sound half-asleep.
I have learned to never 100% depend on my CI just because I never know how or IF it will even benefit me in certain situations. I have to constantly adjust how I utilize the CI in different situations. I have to remind myself that no matter what I always have to be prepared to rely on myself…not interpreters….not the CI….not hearing aids…