On The Upswing

I was recently out at a crowded bar with a group of friends. There was everything you would expect in a bar that goes against hearing anyone. Tight spaces, loud music, and even louder voices. Of course, I’m used to being in this type of environment. I had both units in my ears, my hearing aid and Cochlear sound processor. I decided to try something that I haven’t done at the bar: I turned off the hearing aid to see what the Cochlear implant could do.  It wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. I could actually hear my friend/roommate Dan talk to me without having to lean in! I would still hear all the sounds going on, but the processor helped me distinguish Dan’s voice from everything else. This also applied to talking to the rest of my friends there. It was a huge changeover for me to hear other people in this kind of surrounding. This was one of the most significant distinction I picked up since having my Cochlear turned on. The mic is also working very well for me, the hard part is getting people to hold it at a different positions than how people held my old mic but we all will get there.

Another time where I could tell a difference is when my friend noticed that she was talking to me with a softer level. She mentioned that she would always speak up when talking to me but realized that she didn’t have to anymore. My audiologist, Maegan, even noticed that I’m speaking differently with better speech. So, not only am I telling the difference, but my friends and family are! Though my Cochlear is not exactly there yet, so far I’ve experienced enough positive changes to be happy with my decision.

There have been moments where I would still get overwhelmed with certain sounds. For example, living in a city, I would occasionally hear sirens. When I had hearing aids in both ears, the sirens never bothered me. Now, whenever they drive close by, they would actually hurt my ear and I’d get irritated. Then I realize that’s the point, right? Doesn’t everyone’s ears hurt when they hear the sirens? So glad I can finally be in solidarity with all the functional ears out there. Though to tell you the truth, I would just take off my Cochlear if the fire trucks gets too close (😉).

As for music, there are certain songs that wouldn’t process well in my ear, but my brain is still adjusting. I haven’t been able to plug in music to my Cochlear like regular headphones just yet. The sound is still distance and not all of the features in a typical song is going through. Hopefully when I get more turned up next week at the audiologist, the music will be closer to my level of comfort. Maegan recommended that I may have to do some sound therapy on the Cochlear website. Stay tuned.

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Magic Magnet

I have gone through an immense amount of change since the first few days of having those overwhelming wind chimes inside my head. The wind chiming definitely went away and the relatively normal sounds came back. A lot of the new sounds I hear takes a minute for me to realize where the sound is coming from. In the first week, I would get tense from hearing cars driving by or by simply listening to certain music in the car. Though it got easier each day! I was very surprised to hear birds from inside the house. It was something I had to get used to since my initial thought was that theres a bird in the house. Another cool discovery I made is that I can hear people talk with at lower level. So while I get overwhelmed with normal level of sound I can pick up conversation through a softer voice!

I had an another adjustment done with Maegan and Sonya, on Friday the 1st, for the 2 week update. We went up one level at a time to see if I don’t get overwhelmed with the sounds in the room. It felt like a game of chicken because theres a moment of silence in my Cochlear ear before I hear the next level. We went through five or six levels before I started to cringe at the sound of my own voice. After the update I went into the testing booth to see how much more I can hear. Maegan had me do the test where if I hear a sound I would press the button. It’s difficult sometimes because there would be time that I would think that I’m hearing something but then decide it’s all in my head. Then it would turn out that it was an actual sound. Afterwards, the test result showed that I can hear up to around 30-35 decibels while regular ears can hear up to 20 db! So now it’s all about learning to understand what those new sounds convey and getting used to what people sounds like.

If you haven’t seen me yet since my Cochlear was activated, here’s one cool thing!

The magnet attached to my processor can hold stuff for me! This has been a lot of fun to play with. And you know what the best part is? It doesn’t hurt to have the magnet on my head. So cool.