Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sounds everywhere!

This world sure is full of sounds!

One evening, I took my dog out, and there was a bird in a tree. I was watching the bird, and listening to it chirp. Kind of neat.

We had a thunder storm one night, and I heard thunder a couple of different times with just the implant alone. Whoooaaa! 

On Saturday, after I drove a friend home and was ready to return to drive to a grocery store, I realize the rain drops I was hearing on my car was pretty loud (I still had my hearing aid on at this point). So I turned off my hearing aid, and I could still hear the rain drops with the implant. That was pretty exciting.

Today, while I was on my way to work, I saw a fire truck pull out of the station with its lights flashing. I stopped as it got onto the street and heard the sirens going, with just the implant alone. It wasn't very loud, but I was able to hear it. Cool!

One night, I decided to try out the Neptune in the shower. As soon as I got under the shower water, the water was hitting the Aquamic and it was loud. But it was fun! And another day, I took a bath with the Neptune. Submerged my head under the water, that was interesting.  Hey, had to try out the Neptune in wet settings, I mean why not!

Also, today, I decided to take my ipod to work with me. So I swapped out the ear hooks on the Harmony so I could use the direct connect.  Ended up snaking the direct connect cable under my shirt just so it wouldn't randomly get caught on something. I started off listening to Hanson's "Middle of Nowhere" album, as I am most familiar with that album. Music sounds extremely different, very odd and electronic, but for the most part I was able to make out the lyrics to most of the songs. There was one song, which happens to be one of my favorites, and it sounded terrible and I couldn't make sense of the lyrics. Wow. But it was still fun, listening and figuring out what song was playing and trying to catch the lyrics. Had more trouble listening to Hanson's "This Time Around" album, I only recognized maybe half of the album, the other sounded too different. Even listened to a little bit of Michael Jackson, which was fun.

There is this one sound that happens at work. I've been hearing it for weeks now, but I cannot figure out what it is! It sounds like the gate on my dog's kennel flopping back and forth, hitting the kennel if it's not latched in the car... Sounds exactly like that. But, there's no dog kennels at the newspaper so it's definitely not a loose gate. So what the heck is it?! I'm going to have to ask around and find out, otherwise it's going to drive me crazy.

I can hear the phone ringing. The sounds the pre-press machine makes when it's spitting out pages, ugh it's annoying. Definitely can hear the wind very easily, as it blows right into the mic on the processor.  I've just been hearing this and that, some sounds I can figure out, others have me stumped until I investigate.

This certainly is a very interesting journey with the implant so far. And I'm eager to keep on going!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tinnitus stinks!

I have been trying to go without the hearing aid for a few days, so I could just rely on the implant and get the practice in with just the implant alone. But ooohhh, the tinnitus! It's horrible! Loud, obnoxious, continuous, it never ends! The tinnitus is in the hearing aid ear, and if I don't have the hearing aid on, it kicks in. It was fine first thing this morning, but then I put the implant on..... and soon enough the tinnitus was kicking in because I hadn't put the hearing aid on. I didn't wear a hearing aid for most of the day yesterday, and for a while I was fine. But by late afternoon/early evening, there was that constant high pitched sound going on, and it didn't quit the whole night.

It pretty much goes on 24/7 with no hearing aid and the implant going. If I take the implant off, then after a while the tinnitus starts to settle down it seems.  It's kind of weird. And it doesn't help that my right ear is sore and I really don't want to stick an earmold in that ear irritating the sore, but I just can't take the tinnitus anymore.  I have not noticed any tinnitus with the left implanted ear, it's only with the right ear as always. The only way to get the tinnitus to shut up during the day is if I put the hearing aid on and make noise, but when I want to just focus on the implant alone, it gets tricky.

I did email Allison about all this, and she replied saying to keep the hearing aid on (after activation, she said to try to take the hearing aid off for at least a couple of hours a day, which I've managed to do until recently with all this tinnitus activity). Still wear the implant too, but have the hearing aid on, don't worry about isolating the implant at this time. Ok, I can do that. But I will turn off the hearing aid when I do auditory rehab on the laptop. I don't typically do the rehab for more than 15 minutes at a time typically, and I only do the rehab maybe twice a week if that. Sometimes I'm too tired when I get home I don't even want to bother with the rehab.

Now, if the sore in my right ear would just disappear already so I can wear the hearing aid more comfortably again... Neosporin, do your job! I usually get this type of sore (my primary doctor once said it looked like swimmer's ear when he checked my ear once quite a while back for this same issue) at least once a month or less. Gets kind of annoying. Would be nice to get rid of the hearing aid and just implant the right ear too. Then no more earmolds, and be done with the annoying hearing aid feedbacking, no more sore/itchy ear as a result of the earmolds.... yeah. Maybe someday I'll go bilateral (more than likely I will if it gets to the point where a powerful hearing aid just isn't cutting it for the right ear anymore).

I am still making slow progress with the implant alone. As long as I can lipread/have visual support, I can usually keep up with just the implant alone. Sometimes I'll ask the person to repeat if necessary, but I can usually kind of figure out what was being said.  Yesterday, I did hear a bird chirping in the tree while I was out with my dog. I found the bird in a tree, so I was watching it and every time it open its mouth, I heard a sound. Definitely was the bird!  And the other day, I'm fairly certain I heard some loud thunder with just the implant on.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Some progress

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I went over to my mom and stepdad's house to spend time with my momma! A couple of different times, I turned off my hearing aid so I could use the implant alone for practice. Mom and I talked on the bench swing in the backyard, and as long as I could lipread her, I was able to make sense of what she was saying (although she did have to repeat here and there). My sister, her husband and their son came over too. At one point my sister and mom got to talking of making some pepper poppers, and I clearly heard my mom say (while she was several feet away by the grill) "let's make some!" and I clearly heard my sister say "I'll help!". I didn't even look at my sister when she said that, but I knew what she said. That was pretty exciting!

Everything still sounds electronic at this point.  But I am hearing voices, they just sound electronicish. My bro-in-law asked if he sounded like a robot, and I said yeah, kind of. He thought that was pretty cool.  I don't really exactly know what robots sound like, but hey ok! But yeah, electronic voices, electronic everything.

I also ordered "Sound and Way Beyond" from Cochlear (it's $25 from their webstore, plus shipping/handling), so I have another resource for auditory training. It arrived in my mailbox last Thursday, and I wasn't expecting to see it until sometime this week. But hey! I played with it a bit on my laptop. The tones portion, that one was really tricky. Some tones I couldn't even hear at all, and at times they all sounded too similar I couldn't tell which one was the different sounding one.  But the environmental sounds, and the difference between male/female voice, I didn't do too bad with. That's all I've done so far with Sound and Way Beyond, but I'll work with it some more. I don't use my laptop for auditory rehab on a daily basis, it depends on my mood and how mentally tired I am.

I've been very slowly making progress with the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland audiobook. Before the mapping on April 23, I made it to Chapter 5. But when I would try to follow along with Chapter 5 (I was also reading along with the Kindle app on my laptop), boy oh boy I just kept getting lost so quickly and easily. Over and over and over, I'd try again, changing the volume and the speed of the speaker's voice, and just couldn't do it.  But last week I gave it another try, and I was able to get through Chapter 5! At a few spots I kind of got lost, but was able to pick up again with the next sentence. Will have to keep going and get through the whole book before my audiobook rental expires again.

Am up to Program 3 on the Harmony right now, so soon enough I'll switch over to the Neptune and work my way through the 3 programs on that. When I get to Program 2 on the Neptune, then I will FedEx the Harmony to the audie and she'll load up more programs on it for me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CI activation video

Here's my cochlear implant activation video. It is half an hour long since I didn't edit it or anything.