Thursday, July 21, 2011

The First Major Adjustment

I had my first adjustment on July 12th and I like this new hearing better than my first one.  I did a much better job deciphering the loudness level on my tests this time around, so my hearing is more normal than before.  Still different than with my hearing aid, but more like what a normal person hears.  Sounds are not quite so confusing.  Speech is a little more recognizable.  I can work with this.

I am noticing that conversations are tough for me right now.  There's so much going on all at once.  I am lip reading, learning to listen to what I am hearing and digesting what has been said all at once.  My brain doesn't always catch up.  I get so lost.  Sometimes a whole conversation will have passed before I had a chance to absorb the first sentence.  Sometimes a conversation will turn into a runaway train and I just want it to stop, just stop so I can jump off.   It doesn't help that I don't speak up and tell people when I'm lost.  I am extremely self conscious about my inability to hear and I don't like to draw attention to it.  I know that I need to be patient with myself and give myself a chance to grow into a better listener.  Most people I know would want to know when I am struggling, but I still find it hard to admit.

Earlier this week, I spent a couple of hours listening to a lot of my old tunes.  Some U2, some Journey, the Boss, some 80's - mostly rock and pop types.  Throw in a little blues and punk and that was my night.  The music feature of my device is definitely better now but music still sounds very different.  Symphony and instrumentals aren't working for me now.  I haven't figured out why.  The music I did enjoy seems to have more echo or resonance than it did before.  Before this adjustment, voices didn't stand out from the instruments but this time I can distinguish the singing from the instruments.  I can't really make out the lyrics though.  I'm singing along mostly by memory.  I am happy with this though - this is a good start.

I watched a show the other day called "It Might get Loud".  It starred guitarists Edge from U2, Jack White of the White Stripes and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and The Yardbirds fame.  They were sharing stories and guitar techniques.  It was fascinating to hear how they came into playing the guitar and who or what inspired them.  They played some pieces together and WOW.  Just listening to those electric guitars.  I am in love with the electric guitar.  The electric guitar sings.  I can feel the reverberation, the echo of the strings and the lingering chords.  No wonder ears embrace this sound.  How do I describe this?  I feel like it somehow reaches into my ear and gets all the electrodes on the implant humming, then sends those chords directly to the brain.  A caressing wave of sound that gently fades away into oblivian and the last lingering tone bids a soft good bye on the soul.  It makes me want to go out and get myself an electric guitar.  Set me up with whatever it takes to achieve that sound.  I would probably never make any music worth listening to, but I would settle for hitting those chords.

July 20th marked a big day in a couple of ways.  My sister had her cochlear "activation" that day.  She's where I was a month before that.  She had four weeks of silence, so I'm sure that she is glad to be hearing something now.  It's a bit of a disappointing start though.  July 20th is big for me because I called my mom on the phone and talked to her for about 15 minutes.  This is the first time I had a conversation with anyone on the phone since before the implant surgery.  I had called Jamie right after the 12th, but I wasn't ready for the phone yet.  My mom had to talk kind of slow, but we actually had a conversation where I could hear what she said and I could respond to her.  It wasn't easy, I really had to focus on listening.  I did have to ask her to repeat a couple of sentences but overall, we were both pleased at how well I did.  She kept saying how she was so happy to hear my voice.  We had kept in touch through email and facebook chats.  With a little practice on the phone, it should get better as time goes on.  I'm not ready to talk to the world yet though, I'll just practice with my mom and my daughter for now. 

The beautiful thing about today's world is that there is so much technology to take advantage of.  I've chatted on facebook, videoconferenced on Skype, sent texts on the cell phone, typed up emails as well as share my story on this blog.  I haven't lost touch with people but there's nothing like hearing someone's voice.  A voice expresses love, warmth and happiness.  A voice has hope.  Words on a page are just words sometimes.

No comments:

Post a Comment