Thursday, 9 September 2010

Phone and Music with CI nearly 2years on

Well, its have been a while since I have written any post about my cochlear implant experience.

This year, 2010, have been like a rollercoaster but where do I start my story?
Some of you know about my problem with my implant a year ago which could be the fact that I have fried my brain that I was no longer hearing the low frequencies and had to relearn them again. Its took me at least 4 months to get it back. I have heard other bionic users had similar problem and they have to relearn the sound all over again in a different way. Listening to music again, getting the confidence back to use the mobile phone again and to hold a conversation without lipreading was all too much in one go. So this was why its took me 4 months to get it all back. If this happen to you, you may be lucky to get it back in few weeks or few months. There are some people never get it back. Its sound scary but then we are not a bionic for nothing.

My advise is to keep training yourself but not all at once!

January 2010, I received a call from me mam. The sound of her voice was breaking as she sobs away. I could hear her struggling to get a word out to tell me what was the matter. But I knew what it was. A sadness hit me. I was feeling all such emotions through a phone call. This had never happened to me before. I was still learning to use the phone to understand words and context to enable me to understand the conversation. At this point, I was understanding the way people say the words to express their feeling. This was all new to me. As I listened to me mam, telling me what had happened to Gran and the plan to set up a funeral. Yes, she died.
I found myself crying and struggled to speak. I had to control my emotion so I could concentrate. It was hard but I realised that I was helping mam to comfort her. She had told me that she wanted to let me know the bad news but a txt or an email is never a good way to break the news. A written word can not express the feeling on it own. That's what I had learned.

A sad start but an interesting way for me to learn.

My confidence grew and I am on the phone nearly everyday. I am still nervous around group of people but thats kinda normal for most people who are quite shy. Trouble is I don't come across shy anymore as I used to be. I think its because of my experience of not able to follow what was being say so it may be easier to appear "shy". My implant have change my life in a big way. In a group, I am no longer afraid to ask what I had missed, or if I misunderstood something. There were some moments where I may not be following the conversation and this could be because the topics was boring and I do not wanted to be part of it, or I had something on my mind or simply wanted to switch off for a moment. I am allowed to do this. Just because I have implant, it doesn't mean I have to follow everything all the time. Hearing people do this too. I am a human being.

Recently, I have been clubbing with my friends. This was my first time going clubbing with my implant. I was worried that I would not be able to follow the music because the club are loud and in stereo. I have one implant so therefore hear in mono. I have been listening to lots of music at home, ipod and radio. I had hearing friends who threw me some songs for me to learn. I can't thank them enough coz I am really enjoy learning new songs and finding out what I was missing out. (please keep them coming. Indie rock pop will do me)

So I said that I have been clubbing in Indie rock n roll place. We went there, grab few shots and spirit then head down to the dance floor. I wasn't ready to go on the dancefloor. I need few drinks to get me going. I watched people dancing. I realised these people were students. They looked so young. I soon found out while I was in the loo, chatting to a young girl about the club. I asked out her out of the blue on what she thought my age was. She said that I look about 20. 20! Could you believe that? That made my day! "You just took ten years off me" I told her. Her face was classic. She was shocked. So I went back to the dancefloor with a huge smile and listen to music.

"OOhh Jackson 5 is playing" I said to my mates. They were amazed that I got it right. Few more songs that I recognized was playing. Florance and the machine, Blur, Muse, The killers and many more. I was over the moon. I was finally able to join in with others. Dancing and singing along to the songs.

All that training I did was paying off.

I have my 9th month tuning coming up. 9th month you said? Yep. I did lost 4 months of hearing, didn't I? Well I'm going back to be tuned up. Its not easy being a bionic! :P

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Hearing Aids Care

Sometimes we forget about other people who are still wearing hearing aids or they are just getting used to wearing hearing aids. It is always useful to find some tips online on how to looking after their device properly. Or so we should(!). Recently, I have been in contacted with someone who have asked to be my guest to write their article on my blog. I am more happy to help out as long we give out information on our devices, whether they are hearing aids or cochlear implant. So here it is:-

For people with a hearing impairment, modern technology offers plenty of means to improve their hearing. The means and their use vary from one country to the other and is often based on the level of hearing loss. Cochlear implants are more common in developing countries and are often recommended to people with profound deafness, while digital hearing aids are more widely available and are prescribed to people with mild or moderate hearing loss. The UK alone has over 9 million hard of hearing, many of which wear a digital hearing aid on a daily basis. The aim of this article is to provide those who wear digital hearing aids with helpful care tips to keep the aid in good condition for many years of use. With prices average at around £1500 on the high street, these tips are more important than ever.

Here are a selection of useful tips for the new and experienced hearing aid wearer:

1. Handle your hearing aid with great care. The micro-engineered device which uses electrical components to enhance extremal sounds needs plenty of care when handled. This means no shaking it around, no pulling on the tube or microphone when removing it and never sit on the device while searching for the TV remote.

2. Removing the aid when not in use will ensure that the device does not incur unnecessary wear and tear while could often shorten its lifespan. If you don't use it for a long period of time, consider removing the battery completely.

3. When the hearing aid is not warn it should be placed in a safe place away from pets (and children). When ever possible, store the aid in an environment which is not affected by extreme temperatures. Consider using a type of dry safe device which safely stores the aid while at the same time drying any ear wax and removes germs.

4. In some cases moisture could reach the electrical components resulting in a breakdown. The hearing aid should not be warn when showering, swimming and when using a hair dryer, hair spray or other types of spray.

5. Basic maintenance will greatly prolong the hearing aid lifespan. It is important to clean the receiver and vent or tubing openings with an appropriate wax removal cleaner. Removing ear wax will prevent temporary malfunction or permanent damage if it has accumulated over time.

6. Replacing the batteries at the right time will ensure you are never without a working hearing aid when you need it the most. Nowadays many hearing instruments have audible low-battery warning signals be sure to consult the instruction booklet for what these will sound like.

If you have any tips to offer on how to better care for your hearing aid please let us know and leave your comment below.

Hearing aids care tips by the team at Hearing Direct which offers a wide range of products for the hard of hearing and the deaf including assistive listening devices and digital hearing aids.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

New year New sound

After meeting a lady last night who were asking me all sort of questions about getting cochlear implant and what sort of sound she would hear. I couldn't help but chuckling to myself. I remember what I was hearing through the hearing aids and boy, am I glad that I am not going to hear it again. I would probably struggle to hear again after what I have learnt through the cochlear implant. The whole sound - its just not something we want it taken away. Its like... its my treasure and noone will take it away.

We sat in the restaurant in Pizza Express and we were comparing what we were hearing around us while we sat and eat our meal (wine was on the table too :) ) Her reaction of being surprised by my face whenever I heard some shattered sound of the plates being dropped or not place it on the table gently just make me jump all the time. Any sound of the high frequencies of knife & forks, glasses, plates or the sound of the chairs making jerking noise just as a person trying to get up.

None of these sound bother me before and this is what this lady was hearing. It was just a noise to her. Nothing was clear and she would have to lipreads all the time in order that she could follows what was being said. She had a hearing dog with her and I was surprised to be allowed to have dog in the restaurant but the manager was cool about it as long it have a coat that said "Hearing dog".
Of course, the manager came over from behind this lady asking if he could get anything for the dog. In a way, he was in the wrong because she couldn't see him to hear him. Lucky I was there to repeat what was being said. Pretty soon, she will have the operation with Advanced Bionic (Yay!! ) and she will be able to hear what people saying without the need to lipread people all the time.

Speaking of lipreading, I have noticed that I lost the abilities to lipread people. When wearing my implant, I look at people face around the eyes but not much at looking at their lips (like most hearing people do to get a picture of what a person is saying. Dunno how to explain this at the moment) Without the implant, I used to be able to lipread brilliant but now I would just struggle. Interesting eh?

Thinking back of all the sounds that I was hearing for 26 years through the hearing aids and now I have cochlear implant. How things have change within a year and I must admit that I quite like hearing what I am hearing through cochlear implant.

My 2010 new year resolution is take all phone calls as much as possible and so far I'm doing well so if any of you wanna call me for chat. Call me! :)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

New Manda

I have learned my mistakes and I willing to move on to a better life. I am sorting out few bits and bobs. If I have lost some friends along the way then I am sorry for whatever the reason that may be. It have been a tough year. A very confusing year I must say.

I'm glad that I got to travel and meet new people. A chance to improve my photography and a way to promote myself to others who may be interesting. I'm glad that I got to meet somewhat a family that I did not know exist. They have welcome me into their family and they have invited me to come along for Xmas.

Here me, after my trip in New Zealand, I have calmed down and thinking things more. I am gonna choose things very carefully on what I will do next.

Whatever you choose, choose life. Seek the challenge and never give up.

New Manda is back in town and she will fight back!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Last 4 months - nightmare with cochlear implant

I find myself annoyed of what had happened in the last four months and after I have thought about it further, I realised there isn;t much that I could have done. All the stress, moving around UK, breaking up relationship and in new relationship within 4 months. I must be going crazy at the time. Believe you me, I wasn't exact the best person to discuss about life changing, new plan and all that. I was questioning myself what's the hell am I doing?

The last four months, I was stress enough that I lost my hearing through my cochlear implant by 70% from 20db to 90db. You would have thought after 6 months since the switch on I would be doing so well. So did I! I have lost count visiting the Cochlear implant clinic trying to fix this problem. During this time, I was breaking up with a guy who I felt like I was treating him like a friend rather than a lover. There was no argument. Just confusing. At least we are still friends as we were before we were in a relationship together.

Anyway, while I was having problem with my implant and trying to find a place to stay, I was offered to come to New Zealand to help out my cousin with photography studio. I knew New Zealand was on the card for few months but I was kinda hoping to sort out my life before going there. Never mind, its just meant to be.

So I went to New Zealand for a while. Got to do a lot of studio photography which was great, great view of Auckland while walking along the prom. I had a lot to think about to change my future.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Is there anyone who have Advanced Bionic in Auckland???

I am writing this blog wondering to myself - Is there anyone in Auckland have an Advanced Bionic cochlear implant? Am I the only one here? Ok I have been in Auckland for over a week now and have been busy setting up a photography studio for my cousin. Now that I am getting to know my cousins properly, I can't help wondering about the support that I may need incase I would have some problem with my implant.

New Zealand and Australia do have cochlear implant center but they only promote Nucleus Freedom. I find this very interesting because of our technology these days should be up to date. We have ipod, car, internet services and so on. So why not different brands?

A month ago, I had some problem with my implant. Four days after my 9th months tuning, I lost all my low frequency by 70% and could no longer understand what people were saying. I was still getting used to high frequencies which I haven't heard for 26 years so without the low frequencies I am lost.

Staff at the centre believed that I may have been stressed or ill. Of course I was stressed. I worry about lot of things. People were booking me for their wedding day and had to cancel due to losing their job. Not easy trying to find the next pay day. Another thing was moving to new location until I know where I would like to stay. I could move anywhere in the world could I?

Now that I am in New Zealand, doing some soul searching, wondering what I can do to support the cochlear implant center to improve their services and technology using my photography skill. Here me thinking..... I am an Advanced Bionic user and I can help Advanced Bionic to promote themselves to New Zealand.

My question to people out there........ do you want more than one choices on which cochlear implant brand to have? Please get in touch and I'll shall see what I can do for you.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Flying abroad - Hearing aids V Cochlear implant

This is something that most of us have been wondering what to do when going to the airport. Most of us have some frustrating time when going to the airport or the lack of entertainment on the flight. I was thinking about how I have compared hearing aids and cochlear implant. How are they any difference to each other? I decided to look back to my upbringing being a hearing user and often go abroad every now and then. I have now able to say that I have experience the journey with cochlear implant for the first time. Of course, the first time is nerve wrecking as the thought of having metal head is going to set off the security. Will it damage our programs? Will it hurt? Will we be arrested for having a microchip in our head that may hold important information to terrorist? Ok I may go over the top on the last bit but this could happen in the future!!

Anyway, I have been going through some notes to compare which device is useful in certain areas.

Checking in – to inform the cabin staff to be aware of hearing impaired abroad.

Most people know what hearing aids are and they can be visual able to other depend on amount of hair you have and how you wear them.

Cochlear implant - this is still new to some people who may not seen or heard of it. Although, the staff at the airport, have been trained to know what the cochlear implant are and what to do when there is any problem.

Security department –

Hearing aids - no need to worry about going through the security door. Some hearing aids do set off the beep

Cochlear implant – must have ID to show that you have cochlear implant. Some people have advised me to show the Id and take off the implant to show them to make them aware. But I found its best to show the card and not take off the processor, as I may need to hear what was going on. Especially when travelling alone.
Once showed the ID, you would go around the door and get body search by the staff.

In-flight entertainment – Some planes don’t provide closed caption for popular movie in English but they do provide subtitles for foreign films. I was on Emirates and I was impressed with choices!

Hearing aids - unable to use own headphone (shoe and lead to connect to in-flight headphone plug) unable to hear through the headphone. Painful ear aches due to ear mould. Had to take off the hearing aids to ease the pain. Everything sounds very loud. With no subtitles on movies, it’s easy to get bored so bring book!

Cochlear implant - able to use the headphone the plane provided, no pain in ears. Can feel the air pressure! Staff able to hear me at reasonable level. (with hearing aids I thought it was loud but I always speak quietly when it’s loud)

Long haul journey, rechargeable battery – take spare with you at all time and save power when not in use.

Its really interesting to see the difference!

By the way, I am in Dubai while waiting for the next flight to Auckland.

Happy reading while I am flying!