I started running around the time I got my CI. I don’t describe myself as a serious runner, I just run every now and then. Anyways, I had also ran a bit with my HA before my CI surgery. I was quite surprised at the difference between running with a HA and a CI.
When I ran with my hearing aids, I couldn’t listen to music. I gave up on trying to wear headphones with hearing aids a long time ago because I was always getting feedback. Even on maximum volume I couldn’t always hear the music well and that volume usually bothered hearing people around me. I could occasionally hear my feet hitting the pavement but barely. I could sometimes hear a car but only if it was within 5-10 feet of me.
Oftentimes, I would just run without my hearing aids. Some people run to escape or to have some quiet time to themselves. Well, running without hearing aids was the perfect opportunity to get some quiet time to myself.
After getting my CI, I decided to give running with my CI a try. I was amazed at how loud it was while running. I was then baffled at why people ran to get quiet time! I could hear dogs barking, cars a couple of blocks away, my noisy breathing, and my feet hitting the pavement with each step. I kept getting distracted while running.
I decided to try listening to music while I ran. It didn’t go over too well the first few times I tried even though I loved being able to plug my CI directly into my iTouch. I kept hearing my feet hitting the pavement over the music which bothered me. It helped once I got the music:outside environment ratio adjusted (I think it’s approximately 70:30 now, meaning I hear more of the music than environment noises).
Then I got annoyed because I couldn’t figure out a way to get my CI to stay on my head while running! I tried headbands but it kept flying off my head. I tried tightening the magnet but would forget to loosen it up and would get a sore spot on my head a few days later. I have heard people use wig tape which is something I’m going to try next!
I have ran/walked a few 5Ks. I have done them without my CI. I have walked with my CI while listening to music since the processor doesn’t bounce around as much while walking….it stays on! I have tried running only to find that the noise caused by the CI bouncing around drove me bonkers and I would eventually take it off that is if it even stayed on long enough.
This last race, I decided I really wanted to listen to music. I knew with my knee issue there was a good chance I might be walking which would give me some time to enjoy music. I forgot to hook my iTouch up to my CI prior to starting the race. Then I realized I had never really heard the sounds of a race and since I would be running slower/walking….this would be a great chance to listen to what a 5K sounds like.
I could hear the announcer make announcements even though I couldn’t understand what was being said. I could hear the countdown which was awesome and got me all pumped up. Dennis had to alert me that they were singing the National Anthem but I quickly realized it was the crowd who was singing and not a solo person based on how it sounded. 🙂
As we started running, I could hear people talking around me with their runner buddies. There were volunteers at some points throughout the race who would shout and cheer us on. Sometimes I would hear them before I could see them. I kept wondering what they were saying but still thought it was cool I could pick that out. At one point, I saw the head of a volunteer (but couldn’t see the rest of her due to a big group of runners in front of me) and heard clapping. I thought it sounded like more than just one person clapping. I was confused until a minute later when I saw a second volunteer with one of those clapper noisemakers.
That was one of the very few moments in my life where I felt motivated by hearing cheers and clapping. When you’re deaf, you are your own motivator and you cheer yourself on because you can’t hear others cheering you on. It was an odd experience for me to actually be motivated by outside cheering. I had a brief idea of what it must be like to hear people cheering you on while competing and it made me wonder if it really makes a difference in a player’s performance. There are pros and cons of being deaf while playing sports, but that’s a topic for another post!