Good-Bye Static

I had my one year follow-up mapping yesterday afternoon.
Turns out the “pattern” of my mapping is about the same which wasn’t surprising because it hasn’t changed that much since the first few mappings except the “volume” (or thresholds).
We did solve one big problem that has been an issue for the past few months. Basically back in December or January, I started noticing the sound quality would get really crappy at random moments. At first, I thought maybe it was the audio cable since I seemed to notice it whenever I was listening to music on my iTouch. I messed around with the cable and it seemed to go away for a couple of weeks.
Then I started noticing it would occur once every couple of weeks but didn’t think much of it since it was so random and brief. By February, it would happen once every couple of days. It would kind of go in and out. The volume level would seem fine one minute then the next minute it would become quiet.
Something just sounded off. I couldn’t quite describe it, I just don’t have the vocabulary to always describe what I’m hearing. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be hearing or what it’s supposed to sound like.
By the end of Feb/beginning of March…it got really bad. I also started to get concerned because it was happening with my backup processor too. I contacted my audiologist via e-mail and she suggested a few things I could do. I tried them all, but nothing seemed to work.
I decided to hold off going in because I had a upcoming appointment which was supposed to be last Monday but rescheduled (my grandfather passed away) for yesterday. I was almost at my wit’s end a couple of weeks ago. I was constantly turning the volume up on my laptop, the TV, my iTouch, etc. Things just didn’t sound clear or crisp.
Last weekend, I went to the Deadly Medicine exhibit with 10-12 friends and found myself trying to listen for the audio on the various TV clips they had even though they were all captioned. I couldn’t even pick up the audio at all until the last film when I was struggling really hard to try and pick it out…even then I wasn’t sure if it was just a hmming of an air condition or something or if it was actually the film audio. I went to BW3 later that night with some friends who wanted to watch the UFC fights….while another CI user was complaining about how loud it was, I was silently complaining to myself about how quiet it was to me.
It was that bad. I was f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.e.d.
It did make me realize how I’ve sub-consciously started to seek for a sound whenever I watch TV or there are people talking around me. When I can’t find the sound, I get frustrated because I want that sound, lol.
Hence the reason I was really looking forward to this mapping appointment. Turns out the microphone on BOTH (which is odd) processor are messed up. The audiologist was able to listen to my processor and described it as sounding robotic and static.
I would describe it as not sounding natural and not clear at all.
She had me try one of their loaners and I could tell a difference immediately after the first word she spoke.
*sighs* Whew….I’m just glad we solved that problem and it was just with the external processor….nothing interior.
Things are SOOOOOOOOOOOO much better. Now I just need to take a couple of days to readjust to hearing “normally” after things sounding so jumbled up and quiet for a while. I’m supposed to get my replacement parts in a couple of days. In the meantime, I’m using a loaner microphone (the beige part) and I have a tri-colored CI processor for a few days….oy! 😉
I have another appointment in a month after I have had a chance to get used to my “normal sounding” CI for a sound booth test.
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One Year!

It has been exactly one year since I was activated.

The first 2-3 weeks were difficult for me. I actually referred to my CI as my own personal torture device. I have no residual hearing in the high frequency area and all of the sudden I was hearing all these high frequency noises I had never ever heard in my life. It was slowly driving me insane. I suppose it would be something similar to listening to nails on a chalkboard alllll day long!
Nothing made sense whatsoever. It was just this constant high frequency sound. I couldn’t tell the difference between a person talking and a train.
I don’t have a lot of time to blog right now even though I have a lot on my mind. Maybe sometime later today or this week I’ll have more time.
In all, I just want to say that I went from hating my CI to loving it. Sure, I still have my ups and downs but everyone has their ups and downs.
I’m not sure why I chose to stick with the CI especially since I had a rough time with it in the beginning but something told me to….and…..I am very glad I did.
I would do it again if I had to.

Headbands and Glasses

I occasionally wear elastic headbands when working out or when my hair is constantly falling into my face.

No one bothered to mention to me that an implant could possibly cause a mild sense of discomfort when wearing glasses and headbands. My glasses and headbands always seem to hit right at the bottom edge of the implant and rub against it.
I constantly lose these headbands and finally lost my last one the other day (I swear it mysteriously disappeared into thin air). I decided to try a different type of headband.
MUCHHHH BETTTTER!!!
These headbands are a bit wider and they stay in place better…so they don’t rub against the implant as much.
As for glasses. I don’t wear my glasses often because the Rx is really old and I tend to wear them only at nighttime. I recently got scolded by my optometrist for not taking enough breaks from wearing contacts. That means I need to go shopping for a new frame.
A new frame that doesn’t bother me after an hour of wearing them.
Pre-contacts and pre-CI days…..I did wear glasses with hearing aids and I was usually able to position the HAs in a way that it usually didn’t bother me too much with stuff hanging off of my ears.
However, I can’t exactly move the implant. 😉 There’s not much room between the back of my ear and the implant. It might be a bit challenging to find a frame that fits well, I like, and is in my price range.
Just thought I would blog about this. Just a couple of things no one really thinks to mention. It’s not really a bit deal…more of a mild annoyance than anything.
P.S. Back to the glasses thing. Did any of you glass-wearers find it impossible to pick out glass frames without contacts? I remember the first few frames I owned (before I had contacts), I couldn’t see how they looked on me until I already bought them and had the correct Rx lenses. It’s sooo much easier shopping for glass frames while wearing contacts…because then you can actually SEE the frames! 😉

Photos!

Just felt like posting a few photos….

Dylan James

Brayden James (a week older than Dylan)

Band Hero

At the plaza after an HLAA get together

Dodgeball Team! Next sport: Kickball and possibly flag football

Pets as Ice Breakers, Hearing Aids/CIs, and Speech Therapists

Anyone who knows me well knows I love dogs. I haven’t owned a dog in my lifetime….yet….

One day I will and that dog will be spoiled! 🙂 I definitely want a medium-large sized dog with lots of energy.
One of my early childhood memory was when I was 4. I was at my cousin’s 6th birthday party. He used to get one “big” gift every year. To find that gift, he had to solve clues (scavenger hunt). I remember following him all over the yard until he found his last clue which led him to his father’s pick-up truck. In the back of the truck was this adorable puppy who I immediately loved.
My cousin named her Blondie.
I learned I enjoyed being around animals. I quickly learned, as a deaf person, that you didn’t have to hear to understand what they wanted.
I wanted to be a veterinarian for quite a bit. I think a few people were surprised I didn’t end up in that field. I remember in the 2nd grade writing a report about how I wanted to work with sharks. In 4th grade, I made a dog-shaped book with a story about dogs. One of my favorite memories as a kid was catching frogs and putting them into my mini pool for Barbie dolls. Anyways, you get the idea I was slightly obsessed with dogs and animals for a while. 🙂
Every time I visited people who had pets I would immediately make a beeline for that animal and just constantly tag after them (poor animals, lol). It was my way of escaping awkward situations that would often arise when I was around hearing people. Me feeling left out because I didn’t understand what was going on, people becoming impatient because I couldn’t lipread everything, me not being sure of myself, etc. I could communicate with animals in an entirely different way and could understand them. They understood me.
Animals never judged me. They never questioned how much I could understand. They never left me out. They didn’t care if I wore hearing aids or not. They didn’t care if I couldn’t hear.
As an adult, I still find myself making a beeline for other people’s pets. One perfect example was at the annual picnic/bbq party at my graduate program director’s house a few years ago….she had a couple of dogs. They were lifesavers for me. In situations where people are constantly mingling and I’m the only deaf person there….I will oftentimes find things to ensure I don’t feel 100% left out. I will play with kids, try to get people involved in playing games (e.g. ping pong, frisbee, throwing a ball around, etc.), or play with pets. A big part of that tendency is also my personality. I am active. I like to get out there and move around. However, I think being deaf does amplify that.
People’s pets are also great conversation starters. Oftentimes when I play with a person’s pet…I will either ask about their pet or they will start telling me about their pets. It’s SO easy to lipread stories about animals. So many of the words are predictable and so are the stories. I’ve also found sometimes people become more animated while telling a story. This makes it so much easier to follow along while lipreading. It’s a great ice breaker.
Another example of how I find company with pets at events was at a recent birthday party for an aunt. While several of my relatives do go to great degrees to communicate with me….it is difficult at gatherings with several different conversations going on all at once and when it’s not 1 on 1. My reaction upon arriving was to hang out with my dad’s cousin’s dog who was a sweetie. It helped get rid of that “feeling alone/left out” moment and gave my parents/relatives a break from trying to interpret what was going on. It also helped a couple of people who are sometimes uncomfortable talking to me in fear I won’t understand them….become more comfortable. They wanted to tell me about a family member they loved (their cute dog).
When visiting people with pets I end up relying more on the pet than my hearing aids/CI. They react so much to sounds and I’m so used to reading body language. Those 2 characteristics together means I am more aware of what is going on around me.
I’ve always been shy using my voice because it’s not clear and would oftentimes avoid using it with people I wasn’t familiar with. Many times I would find myself talking to pets or giving verbal command. They didn’t care what I sounded like. They didn’t correct my speech. If they didn’t reply to a verbal command, I would simply pronounce it over and over in different ways until they reacted correctly to the command I was giving. In a way, they were my speech therapists for simple verbal commands. 😉

One Year Since Surgery Day

Has it really been a year since I took the plunge?!?

Just for the heck of it:

After Surgery




A few days after surgery…after I was finally given the okay to wash my hair and all the gross dried blood off.


One Year Later


I love the wonderful job my surgeon did! It healed really well and I didn’t have any post-surgery complications (e.g. balance issues, facial palsy, etc). Surgery went as smoothly as it could have. 🙂

It did take a couple of weeks to get used to the idea that I had an object attached to my skull. It was weird to be able to trace the the outline of the implant just by running my fingers across it.

I can allmmooossttt pull all of my hair back in a ponytail now! 😉

Little did I know this would be the easy part of the journey. The most challenging part started on March 23rd, 2009…my activation day. The wait was tough too….not being able to wear a hearing aid in that ear and not knowing what to expect.

Does The Wind Sound Different When It’s Really Cold Outside?

Cold Wind vs Warm Wind
Kind of a silly question but here goes.
Does the wind sound different when it’s really cold outside?
I kept noticing it sounded different earlier this winter whenever I would go outside in really cold weather. I wasn’t sure if it was my imagination or if it really does sound different. I know temperature does affect sound travel.
I have also noticed how the sound of the wind changes when walking in the direction of the wind vs against the wind.


Recognizing Words

The other day, I recognized my 4th (or is it 5th?) word without lipreading. “Thank you.”

Sometimes it all sounds like gibberish and the clarity’s horrible.
Other times it sounds so crisp and clear. It’s times like these I feel like I’m SUPPOSED to be able to understand what’s being said…however….my brain just doesn’t make the connection.
Kind of like when a specific word is on the tip of your tongue but you can’t think of it.
So near, yet so far (super duper far). 😉 Not sure if the light bulb will ever come on. At this point I’m just thankful I’m finally comfortable with my CI and I’m thankful for what I get from it.
Too Quiet?
Today, I was driving and had forgotten my iTouch. I’m so used to having music on while I drive because I can turn it up and feel the beats while I listen to it. I was almost uncomfortable with how quiet it was….a bit ironic coming from a deaf person. 😉
I did find myself trying to find things to listen to without really realizing what I was doing. I eventually decided to refresh my memory by reviewing typical road sounds (e.g. wind blowing against the car, trucks passing, etc.). I found the wind blowing against/car driving against the wind sounds different whenever I change lanes and passing a semi truck vs a car. I even noticed the road sounds were different when the pavement of the road seemed to change (e.g. rougher, smoother, recently paved, etc.).
I told myself I wouldn’t forget my iTouch again when I got out later today. Sure enough, I forgot. Once again, I found it too quiet for me which was just such an odd moment for me.