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.