LPI and Cochlear Implants

One of the final steps towards becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer is passing the LPI with an Intermediate Low.  We had a mock LPI a couple of weeks before the actual exam.  I think only 2 PCTs passed the mock LPI (I was not one of those 2–most of us got “survivor skills”) and both PCTs weren’t fluent in ASL.  It was difficult trying to switch from ASL to KSL.  If you use ASL signs, it lowers your score.  It’s kind of hard to try to keep those languages separate.

My signing skills have been criticized since I was a small child because I’m not culturally Deaf and SEE2 was my first language.  For that reason being evaluated on my signing skills for 10 weeks bought back a lot of negative memories and reminded me why I am sometimes slow to make the first step when it comes to communicating with someone (am working on that).

I was extremely nervous about this exam.  So nervous that I actually stopped wearing my CIs to training sessions because I wanted to focus on signing only.  Mind you, it was a difficult decision to make.  I knew I would take many, many, many steps backwards going without my CIs (and am paying the price big time for that right now) for a few weeks.  Again, I could not give them up entirely.  I usually got an hour or two to myself in the evenings after dinner with my host family and the first thing I always did was put my CIs back on and listen to music.

I tend to sign more English, I tend to rely on lip-reading, and I get distracted by sounds with my CIs.  I noticed a difference in my ability to pick up KSL in a noisy world vs a silent world.

This is still a decision I’m still trying to accept because I so badly want to improve my lip-reading abilities and I so badly want to get used to new sounds here in Kenya.  It’s not a decision I’m proud of at all, I’m embarrassed about it.  I am paying the price right now by having to slowly adjust to wearing my CIs for longer periods at a time during the day.

Again, I did not go without my CIs 100%….music…was bliss at the end of the day.

I had heard a few horror stories about how some previous PCTs failed the LPI twice (you get two tries) and were sent home.  If you fail once you’re on prohibition.

I knew hearing was affecting my ability to pick up KSL.

It was probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make in a long time.  I’m trying to make up for it by doing some aural rehab on my netbook and by listening to audio books as I read along on my Kindle.  I’m so glad I didn’t go without my CIs 100% and am glad I did try to find a balance through listening to music in the evenings.

It was very conflicting.  I had to choose between 2 ultimate life-long goals.  Goal #1:  Getting used to being bilateral and improving my lip-reading ability.  Goal #2:  Becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer

I kept trying to tell myself I wasn’t necessarily choosing one over the other (but it sure felt like it and that was hard to deal with)…rather I was focusing on one goal for a short period of time and that I would eventually return to focusing on both goals.

Oh, by the way…I scored an “advanced” on my LPI!  Only a few of us got above Intermediate….I was one of those few!  🙂

1 thought on “LPI and Cochlear Implants

  1. Wow, congratulations! I’m sure that was a tough decision, but it looks to have paid off in your excellent test score! I’m sure you’ll be able to pick back up your lip-reading soon. Good talking to you today?

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