Monday, 29 December 2008

Music and Me Stage One

Everybody know me for being passion about music and that I listen to the new sound as much as possible. Music is something that I could relax to, a little help to get some sleep. I was told that when I was a little baby before I have lost my hearing, I cried every time the music finished and had to restart all over again until I was fully asleep. I guess this created who I am today.

When I was 13 years old and was getting into music properly, my brother was playing Queen at the time. Not the Queen Elizabeth I'm afraid. The Band called the Queen. The rock and roll Band. The legend of Freddy Mercury. I was amazed by the sound of it and play the songs over and over until it drove my family nuts. Not just Queen but there are other music that I was playing over and over again. The only reason why I do this is because I was learning the different range of tones. Understanding the tones from bass, drum, singer's voices. The passion of music then have grew from there.

I attended to many concerts around the country in Uk, places like London, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Carlise, Glasgow and many more. Met so many people and are still friends with them to this day thanks to the facebook for keeping in touch. One of them is special to me. A girl called Sam Conley, she was my pen pal at the time - after we met at one of the concerts. We used to write to each others about music. I may have some hearing loss and have a lot to understand about music, but Sam is that person who taught me during my teens. She taught me how to be like a hearing teenager who love music, meeting new people all over the Uk. The confidence in me have grew from there. I will never forget the time where we had the sleep over and how we talk all night without any sleep. Poor Mam couldn't forget it as our voices are still ringing inside her head! Dear Sam, thanks for the lovely memories and I hope to see you again.

From there, I startled to go to the bars and clubs, even on my own just to meet new people as well listening to new sounds. I met loads of good friends this way. I was getting invites to go to the rave, festivals and many others place. Do any deaf people get to do this? I am not sure but I would love to meet any people who have. Deaf and music in technically don't mix. So how would I enjoy music with the hearing loss? well basically, with my hearing aids I only hear the the low pitch and I self taught my brain to listen all the time. I knew there was some high pitch in some music but every time the high pitch come, it just go silent then the music come back. This mean I tend to avoid listen to any female singers! Some of the Queen's songs have high pitch in them but it doesn't last too long for me to miss out.

Now that I have the implant and on the second week since my switch on, I asked for T setting so I could listen to music as much as possible. When I heard it, I was shocked. I couldn't make out any words, just the drum beats and small amount of the bass. I kept listening to music through my implant a whole day. I even tried listening to the band that I first listen to when I was young. Nothing sound the way that I heard before. I was so low and wanted to cry. I remind myself that its only in the early stage and soon will come back. The more that I listen the better it will come.

My next tuning is tomoz and I can't wait as I have not able to hear very much since Xmas eve. The high pitch have calmed down now and its time to increase the volume and frequencies.

These are the new sound I have heard so far :
Clock ticking, Countdown timer from the oven, water running, footstep, cat purring ( I heard the purring before but I had to pressed my ear against my cat at the time, now I heard it in distance) plastic bag, fingers clicks, scratching, ice tinging inside the glass, ice cream van's music, door creak,Traffic noises from inside the car. a click from the seatbelt. (Gran tried to puts on the seatbelt but it won't accept it in. kept clicking but not fully click. this usually mean she tried to put it on the wrong pad. No worry Gran, I'll put your seatbelt on for you!)

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Second Tuning

I thought to myself that I might just hear something more when I go for a walk on the way to the C.I Center and see if I could pick up anything while the implant is ever so quiet. I walked through the city center, passed by the busy shopping center, only muffled sound, quiet footsteps, no sound coming out of peoples mouths. I knew I was not hearing things too great. Good thing that I did not had to wait so long for the second tuning. Most of you called it Mapping. I dunno why but maybe it more like network in the brain to re tune itself to learn new sound in a different way. Tuning or re program would be suitable for me.

As I walked along, hoping I would hear something else. I was a little disappointed to be honest. i couldn't hear a thing apart from the motorbike going vvroom and that was all I could hear. I then managed to get to the C.I center. I was a little early . I guess I just want to hear again. Sound is so important. I must not lose a day without it. Everything is so Precious.

Jackie finally got me in the room and hook me up to the computer. I think she was a bit surprised how much I need to tune up. The sound I used to hear to the computer was like a heartbeat which by now starting to sound like a simple beep. Its all good. A big step to hear more. Although she was hoping to get the high pitch to be in the same level as the low pitch but by the judge of my face, I think it was a little too loud for me to handle the high pitch at this stage. I would be ready to hear more high pitch in 2 weeks time.

Now we went to another room to do some listening test. My first test with the implant after 3 days. I did pretty well. I had to do the beep test. If you look at the sample graph here that I got here. Please note its not mine. I took it from somewhere on google. Anyway, what you can see here is frequency (Hz) across the graph is the level we hear from low to high pitch. Then you see the hearing level range (DBs) downward the graph, this is the level we would hear in our hearing. At the average hearing level is from -20 to 0 DBs. At the 1000Hz is the high pitch where I usually would be at the 110db level... with the implant = at 35DBS. At 2000hz I would normally down at 110 or 120dbs now at 40dbs finally at 4000hz I would not normally hear this at all now with the implant at 55dbs I still have a lot of work to do to get that high pitch up more. It would take some time to relearn the high pitch that I have never heard of after 25 years since I was found that I was profoundly deaf at the age of 2 half or 3 years old.

I had to do the test on the computer. I get three choices of answer and I have to hear what was said and match it to one of the answers. I only got one wrong out of 12! Thats a good start!

I feel really pleased with myself after having the implant for three days and I have managed to do well with the tests. It was unexpected. I am amazed. I thought it would take some time to adapt to the new sound as I am not hearing the way I am used to and still able to work out some environment sound in most robotic way. If you get what I mean.

On the way home, I went on the bus and I was txting some friends to let them know how I got on. I kep hearing the "ding" all the time then the bus stopped. The sound came back, I was really puzzled. What is that sound I thought. I didn't had anyone with me to confirm what it was. Then suddenly it hit me. The button that the passengers use to press to inform the driver to stop the bus. Thats it! thats where it come from! I didn't even knew that before. I knew the light come on but not the sound! wow!

Now that i got my T setting on my implant and I can finally get to listen to music. Ok its not perfect but I am hearing lots of sound .... guess again..... in the most robotic way! lol Although I could follow the beats and the way its change it tones. I knew what it was going to happen but the sound I have been listening to for years......... is not the same!!!! Boo Hiss. I will keep on listening til the tones come back to me.

I hope you are enjoying reading this. It have been quite a journey for me and everyone, even you when you are reading this.... all txting me, msn me, email me, facebook and anything you could think of..... all dying to hear from me! You guys make me smile. I'm keeping you guys keen! lol
Well Thank you for being patience with me. I will do my best to update any new sound that I will be hearing or anything out of interests.

Let me know if you think I am waffling too much! :)

The Switch On

When I first got the email from the C.I Centre with the appointment dates. The first one stated it would be on the 15th December 2008. Now I was like a happy kid with a massive grin on my face. "Could your smile get any bigger?" says Giles, who saw me reading this email while on the webcam. (Told you I would mentioned you :P ) I had to reply to Jackie, my audiology, just to confirm that the switch on is actually the 15th December 2008. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a reply that its deffo the day that I would be switched on. After 2 weeks and 4 days (not that I was counting! :P) I finally get to have my switch on! whoo whoo. Normally people would get their switch on after 3 or 4 weeks from their operation, but I guess because its xmas, they might as well get it done and give me an early xmas present. By this point, I had to txt me mam telling her that she WILL go to Manchester on her Birthday! no excuse! She will be there and will be the first voice that I will learn. She was meant to be working on that day. She managed to get off work and celebrated her birthday with me.

I bet that was a lovely birthday present for her. Seeing her own daughter to hear some sound through the implant. Knowing the fact that the implant is actually working was a huge relief. She was quite emotional. Even told me to calm down as I was getting too excited and was unsure what I was hearing. I was attached to the computer to get the settings that I would be able to hear. When my audiolgy, Jackie, was speaking...... I was like... eh.... this is not normal. What happened to the voice? It doesn't sound like a woman speaking in low tone anymore. no low or high tone. just one flat tone in robotic way. Jackie and mam was laughing by my expressions on my face. I just didn't know what to make out of it. Its all very strange. Jackie asked me if I heard this and that different levels from low and high pitch. I did found this hard to know the real answer without any set of tones at all. I guess I was overexcited and that I just want to hear as much as I could on my switch on. She set the levels to what I heard was loud but not uncomfortable so I could go and try out what I could hear with it.

I was told that I have to take it easy and go home relax and listen to quiet stuff. Did I bother? nooooo I went to Trafford Centre, (The shopping centre) and supermarket. Blimey! it was all very strange! I wasn't hearing anything loud or make any sense out of it. it was such a blur sound. Yea I am mad to even think about going to the trafford center and tried to hear as much as I could. 5 hours later I had a massive headache and I had to take out the implant to have a rest. I was shattered. I didn't know how much work it would take just to listen! I wasn't the only one was shattered. Poor mam worn out from listening to a chatterbox (thats me by the way) that she fell asleep on her birthday! We were meant to go out for a meal! To Mam...... Happy Birthday! Thanks for sharing this moment with me!

Second day - We went to Sheffield to see my brother to spend a day with him. We had a lovely quailty time. Just the three of us. Mam, my brother and myself. Just the way we usually have. My brother was so curious about how the implant work. He thoughts it was screwed into my head and I will never ever be able to go swimming again. Now that would be an awful shame if I couldn't go for a swim! I let him have a play with my implant and try to attach the magnet to my head. I think he was a little freak out by that! lol Before the implant, he used to showed me his iphone to see if i heard the sound and I couldn't. He was shaking the phone around and I didn't know what he was doing. Thought he was being daft or something. Now with the implant, he showed me again. What a difference!!! I heard the beep, ding, wooo, dingling and music on his iphone. He saw it on my face, looking like a big kid. I must admit he was excited too and kept showing me more sound from his phone. awesome.

By the third day, everything went so quiet. I couldn't hear a thing apart from the high pitch only. This mean I was due for re-tuning but I had to wait another day. Blah.

These are the sound that I have heard so far:-
Car indicate, wind wiper, sat nav telling directions, keys jingling, footstep with heels, packet been touch or rubbed. people chewing food, computer mouse clicking, keyboard clicking, fan whirling, car engine, motorbike vvroom, knife touching the plate, scratching on sofa sound from iPhone and clapping.

Think I have done well within the first three days haven't I? I am trying not to put my hope up so high. I know right now, I am hating the way it sound and that is because its all in one flat tone in robotic way just like Dr Who's robot. I still can't hear words clearly yet. Early day!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Communication Technology

Keeping in touch with people is a big deal for everyone. In the oldest days, everyone write a letter to their love ones no matter where they are. The postman was invented during the war to encourage the soldiers spirit up while they fight for their country. Then Morse code & Telegram came along which was the newer technology to get the urgent information faster. As I think about the past, information were pretty much pass on via word by mouth. How do a deaf person pick up all these information quickly as possible? I won't have a clue.  Were people back then speak more freely than we do these days?

I am glad I was not born in the oldest day. I must admit I love my gadgets. I need them for staying in touch with people, friends, family and business alike.

Most of us know we need our Mobile which provide SMS, online msn or facebook. or even youtube. we couldn't live without it. Why not use the land line? Its far too complicated. We don't just pick the phone up and dial the number. We can't hear it without special equipment. The much volume was needed. I have a text phone although I do not know anyone who have a textphone and have never used it for over 6 years. Its like an alien to me. There is some kind of service who tell the caller what we typed and type back what the caller have said. This is called TypeTalk. Although the service have not been good as far as I am aware of, its just not a best way to stay in touch with someone who are relative via typetalk and talk for hours. won't it be awkward having someone reading our private information? Nah this doesn't sound good.

Recently, I have been using Skype which its another way of communication. Similar to Msn but better video and great sound. I may have got out of the hospital over a week ago and I still have one hearing aid on. Sound may seem odd but I think my brain have focus all on my left ear to adapt the balance so I could understand what people are saying. I have my friend on Skype. put the webcam on and then we talk to each others without typing the messages. There were few times I had to lipsread what my friend were saying but I think I have managed very well. If there any doubt he would message me what was that I have missed out. Funny though, he didn't have to message me very much. He was chatty, all smiling, such a charmer he is. (He will be reading this! hello!:) )

I only know the basic Signs language but never needed to use it unless there are other deaf people who need it the most. I will do my best to pick up some signs language if you help me out. Anyway, there was no signs language needed while on the webcam. just talking. Isn't that a nice feeling. W must have been talking over 4 hrs! How on earth did we get to talk for 4hrs about everything, light to photography, focus imaging, music, website and many more.

This is not possible for any deaf person. There is no possible reason how I have managed to communicate with him. I mean I have one hearing aid and i'm waiting for the switch on next week... how did i managed? I reckon using my skills that I have learned while growing up to lipsread and figure out what a person would said next. It take a lot of practices . As soon as I will get my switch on... I'm gonna practice talking to people via skype with video on and listen as much as possible. Can't wait!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Side Effect Week one

For people who are curious what sort of side effect that I went through in Week one.

Thursday 27th Nov :  The day of the operation.  talking too much was a sign of being nervous and trying to make people laugh.  Coming out the operation I was deffo sound very merry as I mentioned about having a nice dream. This could be the drug making me happy and relaxed.  5mins later  was demanding food and water.  The first 4 hours into the recovery, I had bad taste in my mouth (This is very common side effect) This soon come back after eating and drinking a lot.  The drug do make me feel so dry that I wanted to drink all day. This gave me excuse to keep going to the little room and I found out that my balance were all over the place. The nurse was so good to me and helped me walk across the room.  I am for one, hate asking for help but since I was in the hospital... I wasn't afraid to ask for help.. NURSE!!!!!    My balance went back to normal. Thanks goodness for that.  The worse bit of today was the tinnitus.  It was so loud I couldn't find a way to calm it down. No hearing aid for that ear since it was patched up in thick bandage. :(      No sleep at all due to discomfort.... I was so glad to bring my ipod with me so I could fall asleep.

28th Nov Friday..... Tinnitus did not calm down.  The air pressure was really tight.  Few odd dizzy spells whenever I got up too quick or looking down....  
 (what ever you do  Don't     Look    Down!!!)      

Bandage came off today and the doctor came to tell me that the operation went very well and need the xray to make sure its in the right place.    Surely enough it was. I then could go home with a little help from my friend, Simon, who lets me lend on him as we walk back home as long we pop by to the McDonald as I was very hungry. Always thinking of food! mmm    Think I got about 6hrs sleep sleeping on the wrong side.   it was very difficult to sleep on the side where I am not used to.  The drug would knock me out.  

29th Nov Sat :  Happy birthday to me!!!!!!   Tinnitus still not calm down. air pressure still very tight. took some pain killer to calm it down.  Since its my birthday and I am suppose to be resting, Danny came by to treat me a movie night while he munching my birthday cake....  charming! lol     After he left, I felt more tired so were pretty much sleeping all evening.   

30th Nov Sunday    Tinnitus starting to calm down a bit. Hair feel grogging. dry blood everywhere. good thing I'm not blond!   Nothing much happened this day.... How very boring. I was expected guests but they said they would come tomoz.

1st Dec Monday....   moping around wondering what to do.  My brother was supposed to come round. I was running around the flat looking for something to do. I would do my work but I could not focus properly.  get easily tired.   My brother and his family came round at last!  Something to do.  I was a bit concerned about climbing these stairs. I couldn't move my head very much due to the tape behind my ear.   My nephew certainly made me smile watching him doing some silly cute things.   I noticed that my brother was getting tired and wanted to go home.  I took this chance to get him to give me a lift to the nearer train station so I could go to Mam's. In Scotland!   "You are mad" my brother says.  "you can't go out there with your thingy exposed to the air! "   Forgive me for I have sin, for being bored at home but I don't care. I'm going out and no one can stop me.  

I managed to get to Scotland with no problem. Pretty much slept most of the journey.  Mam thoughts I was crazy to do it.  Well I am crazy anyway.    

2nd Dec  I slept well this time with no pain and my hair was still unwashed, all dry blood.  What can i do?  If I wash it too soon, there is a risk of infection?  There have been some theory about the hair oil have something in them that keep the ozone neutral and less chance of getting infection.  Best to leave it unwashed for few more days then.  no pain killer was taken 

3rd Dec Had enough of my hair looking a right mess.  I looked like a tramp. I can't be Audrey Hepburn with the hair like this, could I?  No This is no good.  I can't stop touching my ear.  its so numb it can't feel anything. I flicked my fingers to my ear to bring it back alive.  I did this all day!  :S   funny enough it did came back! :)     Mam agreed she would helps me to wash my hair.  well mostly on the left side (not implant area)   she was scared to touch let alone see it! poor mam!  she did well to get some washed.   Tinnitus have gone quiet although I can still hear it.   No pain at all

4th Dec   Couldn't sleep at all. could this be caused by washing my hair?   this could be the case! mmm    some odd dizzy spells  nothing else.  

5th Dec  Went home to Manchester to be ready for the Xmas lunch party tomoz  with Steve and the Bionic Manchester group. I'm looking forward to it.  slept on the train back. Think I have touched the part that, hurt a little.  Serve me right for sleeping on the implant area. oops
Thats pretty much of the week really!   All I can said is that the side effect do calm down quite quickly and make sure I was active as much as possible as well with plenty of rest, laughter, play with cats, treat Mam out for dinner, visited family. keep the mind off the pain.  Noone can believe how well I look.  I act as if it wasn't a week ago that I had the operation.  It certainly doesn't feel like a week.   

Next topic will be about the air pressure. Watch this space.

A little distraction

Hey Guys,
Its have been a week since I came out of the hospital and I thought I better let you know how I was getting on.   Well you know most people always said that if we have the operation, we really should be resting and stay in bed til we recovered, right?

Well, I got news for you.... I got bored of sitting around and watching daytime tv which I haven't seen for a long time and its rubbish. How do people find it entertaining?   My friends were all working. My brother and his little family had to go to Scotland for weekend as he had some wedding video to do.  Me Mam happens to lives in Scotland and would let my brother stay over while she could enjoyed her time getting to know her grandson.

So thats my family away and my friends all disappeared..... I got to the stage that I will not be sitting around doing nothing.  After 4 days since I came back from the hospital I did my best to get as much rest as I needed then I contacted me mam that I will be taking the train to Scotland to stay for few days.    I didn't mind the fact that she would be working while I would stay at her house for few days. At least I have some company.    

Guess who is this little cutie!    


This is Mitizi.  She is so much fun to be with. As soon as I came in, I picked her up, she climbed to my back then rubs her head against mine.  She was happy to see me but never left me alone.
This sort of treatment is perfect for someone who need a little distraction from any pain. Pet do their job to make you smile.

 Mitizi certainly done that for me. :D

Saturday, 29 November 2008

A day after the operation

Hello World!

The Bionic Manda is here at last. I am relief to be back home now the hardest bit is over. I never thought I would have gone through this, but first I must tell you how its went.

The day of the operation:- I went in to the hospital an hour half early. This would give you a clue of how much I actually get any sleep which was actually none whatsoever. I was so scared and were walking around the room trying to find a way to get some sleep but the operation was playing on my mind. My flatmate, Simon, didn't even get any sleep and were all worried. We then left the house at 5.30am and we had to be at the hospital. We pretty much walked most of the way. We got there an hour later, showed to the bed at the ward then were waiting to find out when I would be going under.

I was supposed to be second on the list but the person who was to go first did not arrived on time and were not nil by mouth longer. I was nil by mouth since 7pm the night before. I could carry on eating or drinking til midnight if I want to but thought it would be wise not to eat or drink anything after 9pm

So I was first to go and they prep me up. By this time I was shaking like a leaf. I was so scared but I knew I would be in their safe hand. I went in at 8.45am and were out into the recovery room at 11.15am. The nurse woke me up half an hour later and i was telling her that I had a lovely dream about the Coldplay gig. She was laughing. A girl who has gone for cochlear implant and she dreamed about music. That might sound a bit odd to her, I guess.

Anyway, 5 mins later I was back in the ward and I was demanding for food, drinks everything. I was so dry I could drink out of the horse buckle. I wanted anything and everything. The doctor came by and told me how it went. It was perfect he says. Excellent news. He told me that I would get some dizzy spells and some bad taste in the mouth. Some people get this for a while and there was no knowing how long it would last. I had them in the first 4 hrs and after that I was fine. The taste disappeared and that was because I was eating and drinking so much. The more I eat the better it taste. For the dizzy spells, well what can I say....I had to ask for the nurse to help me walk to the little girl room as my balance were all over the place. The more I visited the better my balance would be. I would advice everyone to do this when they go for the operation. Keep your body active as much as possible.

This is me, happy to be out of the operation and very much proud of my new hair style! My friends and family all thought I looked quite trendy and very cheeky. I do what I do best is entertaining other people including the people in the ward and the nurses. I could not sit in my bed too long as I was not used to sitting in one place. That just to show you how active I am! Anyway the ward was very cold at night and I couldn't sleep at all. Well I have managed to get at least 3hrs sleep with a little help from my ipod using my other ear. It was the discomfort of my head being so heavy from the bandage and the pressure i feel in my ear. It feel like as if I was on the plane and the air pressure was so tight I had felt like blowing my nose to pop it but I would imagine it would hurt. I would avoid this if I were you. There is some kind of white noise that I hear inside my head and its very annoying. I don't normally get them . This is what we called it the tinnitus. It make ringing type of nosie. a bit like marigine without the flashing yellow light. Before the operation and whenever that I don't wear the hearing aids and I'm fully awake, I would get a little tinnitus. Only very quiet but not annoying. This is usually mean that the brain is looking for it feed. A feed to hear. Once I have put on the hearing aids it would disappeared. Without the device the tinnitus would get worse. I would imagine I will have this until my switch on date. I can't wait.

Reading this back, I must admit that I am glad to be home before my birthday. Glad to have it all over and done with. Glad to know that I have many friends who have been very supportive. Thank you guys. My phone haven't stopped buzzing during my stay!

For those who are curious about the size of the scar or how much hair I have lost... well... it was massive! They have shaved everything! I am kidding! Nah its only small. They have shaved a little just behind the ear and the scar is around the same length at my ear. Just think of it, 8 years ago people had their operation and they had lost half their hair and now, its quite small. I'm really pleased!

To Simon, my flatmate, thanks for being there for me all the way and sorry if I have worn you out for being worried. Now thats over, we can begin the journey of the Bionic World. Here I come!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A Day before the ops

This is it, guys. 

Its a day before the operation and I'm freaky scared.  People have been so unbelievable supportive.  I never seen anything like this before.  I have thought I would be going through this on my own and I've end up having all my friends, new, old, family and close friends, all gathering up just to be with me. Its amazing. 

Mam finally made peace with me about a week ago. I am so glad about that. I didn't want to regret anything that was being said or done before the ops.  Just let it go and move on.  Tomoz is the day that my life will change.  I will be letting her know whats happening throughout my stay at the hospital. 

This month have been amazing. I have been to Perth in Aus to see my father, Ian as I called him, spent some time relaxing, laughing around. Didn't have a care in the world. Came back feeling like a new woman ready to battle with everyday life and  went to visited my old friends in Blackpool to catch up with them. When I have told them the news about having the implant, they were so excited that they want to see the result.  
I even got to see my lovely nephew, Jim Jam, my brother and his girlfriend, Shelly. (Thanks you for your support.) Jim jam has deffo took everything off my mind. He is quite a character and I am looking forward to hear him to say some  new words.

Meanwhile, I have made new friends, Katie and her boyfriend, Richard and Abi through the Ciug Group for people who have or thinking about getting Cochlear implant. These lovely people came over to my place over the weekend to celebrate my birthday even though my birthday is on the 29th November. Due to the fact that the operation is 2 days before my birthday, I might as well have it a week before.    The time went by so fast and I have enjoyed every minutes being with them. How they make me laugh, cried and most important is ..... .....its being supportive.   Thank you for being there.

Right now, sitting here at my desk,  I am getting some kind of flashback. A flashback from when i was a little girl.  Just starting primary school in a public main school with a small unit for the deaf.  I remember having to wear a massive box that sit by my chest with wires to go into my ears. It was not an ordinary hearing aids that we know of today but the box I had to wear... I made every efforts to hide them, covering it with thick jumper and make me look like i had a pillow underneath it. The funny bit was the fact it was during the spring/summer time.  I guess I was so ashamed of it. I was just a little girl. Just wanted to be an ordinary looking girl. The years goes by and thankfully the box have disappeared. I was able to wear the hearing aids behind the ears hiding them with my long hair.    I still do this and will probably carry on for the rest of my life.  People tell me to have my hair up and show them.  I couldn't do it.  I just happen to think that the ears shape are not very attractive to look at.  

I remember when I used my deafness to get what I wanted.  For example, I went to see Scissor Sisters concert and I had a ticket  with seat that goes way back, way from the stage. Unable to make out what was happening or what the singer was singing. I was thinking how much the ticket actually cost me just to enjoy something that i can't make out what was happening.  I decided to do something about it. I saw the staff and explained that I am "deaf"  (I quoted deaf coz its the only way people understand, but I define myself "hard of hearing") . I said to him "I am deaf and I can't hear what is going on. I need to lipsread them to follow".  so what did the staff do?   He let me go right at the front row just by the vip area. :)   I was able to follow everything that was being said. It was awesome.    

Looking back, I think I have done well with what I have used with my hearing aids.  Make the best  out  of it and trained the brain to listen whatever possible.  

The most important lesson is..............  Never give up. 

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A little more

A little more of this and that... a guide to when things going tough.... no I'm not talking about Boyzone's song When get going gets tough     Mind you its a good sample song to uplift your spirit but please..... this song is cheesy!   

When things are tough and your almost coming to end of the waiting list from getting the cochlear implant....   You will deffo need your family and friends to help to distract you as much as possible.  Thinking about it all the time will just drive you insane.  24/7  thinking what will happen, will anything go wrong? and many questions that will stay in the head until  you just have to say to yourself....... "get a grip"      

Now that I am over this phrase I think I will be fine......     tell me if I am not or better.. just slap my face lol

I have recently joined (actually September 2008)  the group called yahoo ciug   which its like email the forum about the helps and supports about cochlear implant who have been through the similar experiences.  This is great way to meet new people who I have never came across anyone like me before. Growing up with hearings aid, speaks but never use signs language.     I was a bit surprised that there are so many.     

I have yet to meet these people from the group which I will be meeting them in Manchester next Saturday and they are all staying at my place......   I think I need to get lot of vibrating alarm clocks do i?    

When things get going tough and you need someone who could snap you out of it, get your close friend to do the slapping.  lol  I am joking.    The best thing you can do is talk to someone let it out of your system.  You may not be sleeping well and you are constantly worry..... you are  gonna  make yourself ill and will not be fit for the ops...  you won't want to wait another month do you?    so go on, make yourself a nice proper meal, bake cakes, play games, go out and  visit family, do crazy things as you can.... and before you know it......... its time.  A new start!  

so come on.... let party.  

Friday, 7 November 2008

Time is going so fast

The time is going so fast that I can not believe it. Its almost time for the operation!   Yea, its in three weeks time. 27th November 2008. I don't think I will ever forget the date for the rest of my life because its so close to my birthday. yea 2 days before my birthday.  geez  Happy birthday Manda!  Enjoy your hangover lol  Geez thanks doc!  Not that I'm gonna complain but at least I would be able to have my switch on before new year eve (I hope)  I wanna start my new year with a bang.  Learning to hear and building up my business at the same time ... who is going to stop me?  Noone!  This is me feeling a little confidence now as I have been away to Perth, Aus.  Believe me, I needed that kind of break away from everyone.  Not quite everyone but maybe my family who wasn't really supportive to me and break me down to tears that I needed to talk to someone advising me what to do even though noone know the real answer.  

Me mam is just stubborn who won't open her eyes to see the way I am seeing. I didn't want cochlear implant a year ago  but I startled to meet people who have one and quite often noone believe them that they have the implant coz their speech were so good. This what make me curious.  Keen to have good speech and with patience people would respect you like any other person.  I have suffered from bully but after a while I have told these people that I needed support to get through school to help me what I was missing out.  Sooner or later, the bully stopped.  They just need some little education to understand why someone like me with hearing loss may not pronounce properly or even get extra support.  Funny enough, I remember these people became my friends!    Show you how much I stand up for myself!

Me mam did well to bought me up learning to speak properly, have manner, polite and give respect for others and most important is to stand up for myself. I have many respect for her but there are time when she doesn't listen what I have to said and why I am doing this.  She believes that I am too good for cochlear implant and hate the fact that I would be drill into my head to sort some parts inside to enable to hear better than before. I understand she is just scared and I hope she will come round once she understands its for the best. 

 I would have wait for stem cells to become available.  The time is just not ready yet. They are still working on animals but not yet test on humans then they have to go through the head offices to get approved. I know because I have a friend who studying/working in the science part.  

Anyway,  I feel disappointed that me mam is not going to support me through this process.  Thinking about this just making me angry, sad and alone. I may not be alone but alone away from family and I'm going through a very big step of my life.  A life changing for the better. 

I dunno how my brother feels about it but he got a lot on his plate so I won't want to bother him. Ian, my father, is over in down under so he would reading this (hello and  Thanks for the holiday) Mam is in Scotland who is trying to sell her house to move down to England so she could have a life with her friends she knows for 20 years or so.  I do wish her to be happy. She should be proud what she has done for me and my brother. 

So the operation is coming so soon....... I am nervous about the operation because I am not so good with hospital at all. seeing blood or needles.. thats me running away. sissy I know for someone who like to watch horror movies! I am excited about the switch on. Its the new start of my life and thats what I am looking forward to.

Even if I go to the operation on my own, I guess I will come out stronger..  In my family  we always say this" Glasspell are never weak"

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

How do we hear?

Earlier today I was chatting to this lovely young lady who had her implant six months ago and she was asking about what is the difference between the high and low frequency. I thought it was very interesting as i knew the difference of the sound from flute, volin, to the bass sound. although some hearing aids do compressed the sound to reach to our level so we could hear what most hearing people were talking about. For me things I have never hear sound are like frog in high pitch, crickets anywhere around these sound area. if there are any more sound around these high pitch, please let me know so i could check it out for the first time!

Anyway, as I was saying... its all depend on the memory whether we heard sound before we lost our hearing and how long ago. if a person were born deaf then there is no memory of sound does that person have a good chance to hear anything with the implant? you would said no. but to be honest with you, there are loads of people who have been born deaf with no memory have been implanted. They never heard sound until they have their implant. its amazing. I often wonder how much they hear with the implant. Its still a mysterious.

This young lady, I then gave her this link to see the sample of what sound would look like as well hearing it. This is a great sample where we can test of what we can hear. Please go ahead and check it out. The link is if you are hard of hearing and need caption.. remember to click on the symbol that produce caption for you to follow.

You can even get to play around with the sound too. just don't annoyed people who still have their hearing with the high pitch. Just because you can't hear the high pitch doesn't mean it won't bother anyone else! lol you have been warned!

To me i can't hear over 8hz it just sound dull or silent to me. I often wonder what sound from everyday life would produce anything with this high frequency. if you know any, please let me know. I know guitar do it.
the sound of everyday look like this

Table 2. Average Intensities of Everyday Sounds

Sound                    dB Level              My point of view
hearing threshol      0               dunno the meaning of this?
breathing           10 who would want to hear darth vadar?
rustling leaves 20 don't hear this
whispering 25 don't hear this either
library 30 library? just sound of footsteps and book falling off the shelves and lot of "shush"

refrigerator 45 my guess is humming?
average home 50 same as hearing threshold?
normal conversation 60 depend on the tone of the voices
clothes dryer 60 it make a hum noise in low frequency
washing machine 65 does it vibrate like mine does? lol
car 70 can hear the start up engine but won't know the difference if there is something wrong with it
vacuum cleaner 70 very annoying blow dryer sound
busy traffic 75 does drown out the conversation
noisy restaurant 80 also drown out the conversation
outboard motor 80 loud
inside car in city traffic 85 can hear oncoming traffic while in the car as it pass.
electric shaver 85 this goes back to 198 something I've watched pop using it. can't remember how it sound
screaming child 90 want to shut it up as soon as it scream. hurt my head
passing motorcycle 90 love the sound of a bike
convertible ride on freeway 95 noisy whistle noise to me as well wind
table saw 95 sound like scratching
hand drill 100 whirring sound
tractor 100 same as engine to me more of a hiss in between i think
diesel truck 100 dunno the difference
circular saw 100 machine whir?
jackhammer 100 a hammer? bang bang mind your thumb
gas engine mower 105 loud and very annoying
helicopter 105 if it come while i am talking to you, i pick up this over your voice no matter what
chain saw 110 not heard it yet
amplified rock concert 90–130 double echo to me distort and all that. just feel the vibration and would be fine
shout into ear at 20 cm 120 sorry can't hear you mate have to lipsread
car horn 120 was told i jumped while driving so i must have heard it.
siren 120 three different sound to this. also drown out conversation
threshold of pain 120–140 depend on the tone of the voices
gunshot 140 not heard it in real life. will movie count? nope ok
jet engine 140 hurt my ear. no hearing aids during this point
12-gauge shotgun 165 same as gunshot
rocket launching 180 should be loud right? lol
loudest audible tone 194 if it a women ... she would be silent to me.

I hope this help a great deal to people who are interested in how some deaf people hear in everyday sound but remember everyone are different. I have my hearing stable since 1983 so I have learnt to use what i got and learn new sound as much as possible. If I have never heard it before, don't act so surprised, we are willing to find out the sound as soon you tell us what it is.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Group Situation

Being in the group with hearing aids is difficult to hear what was being said. I was in the restaurant the other day and it was very posh. The ceiling were so high. I got a little worry there as I wasn't expected the ceiling to be glass and so high up. You could imagine the sound would bounced around the room so often its produced echo. This to me sound like being in the swimming pool. I used to walk around the pool to see what sound that i would be missing out before I take my hearing aids off to go swimming.

I tried to set my hearing aids to cut off the background but its failed to pick up what people were saying as they were so quiet. I wasn't sure if it just me or were people were speaking quiet so other tables won't hear their conversation. That was something I have picked up while working in a office. People tend to speak very quietly when they don't want anyone else to hear them... I would constantly said "sorry, but could you speak up?"

In the group situation, its never easy. I would be quite happy taking pictures than sitting at the table wondering what I have missed out. Even lipsreading doesn't work.
But in this situation, it is much easier to say nothing at all. Just incase, I would get it wrong and its too much an effort for other to explain to me what was being said. Many people like me would understand and have been through this many many time and they tend to avoid going out so they won't feel puzzled, left out while their friends or family are enjoying themselves. Or that these people tell me that they would tell me later but they do often forget to explain what was happened or only give the summary but not quite as funny as it first came out. There isn't much anyone can do about that. But I have been told by having the implant, this situation have been improved. Using the implant to enable to hear what was being said in the noisy places and be on a same page as everyone else. This is great news. This will take a lot of practices!

I am not too sure about meeting people who only just been told that I have hearing loss and they automatic go hi and then talk to someone else. Meaning they are avoiding to talk to me. Usually I meet people and never tell them that I have a hearing loss. I rather people just talk to me and figure it out themselves. It usually work. Some people are narrow mind or dunno what to do. Just treat us like human. We are no different.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Source of my new service

Thought I write a post about my service for a change since its been on my mind in the last few days.  

The last few days I have been thinking about advertising in number of places with the deaf charity , RNID, SEE Hear, Deaf News and they are all asking like lot of money to place the ads apart from see hear (emailed them 8 times but still no respond)

You may be wondering what I am doing wrong... basically I think I know why.  I grew up being in hearing world with no connection or any idea what deaf connection there were until now. I've joined the yahoo site about the cochlear implant recommend by Alison from facebook.  I thought it was interesting how people get together and talk about their experience I've never knew existed.  Its lovely to have that little connection.  

Anyway, I had few people saying that my new service with subtitles are excellent idea and only wish they had it few years ago.  Well what can I said?   I was still in Uni back then :P

How I came up with this idea is that I met a girl who used to be my best friend in primary school and had not seen her for 15 years.  She has got married a year before and were showing me her wedding album and then the DVD slideshow provided by another photographer.  
The DVD slideshow were very nice. lovely music, singing softly,  showing all the colour images  (not much effect I would say) just simple looking kind)  then half way through the DVD , it was showing the speeches. My friend, then fast forward it. 

 "Wait an minute, what are you doing?" I said
"Sorry, but I dunno what was being said. Its no point for me to watch through all that"  she says.

This got me thinking.....   She got an wedding album, a dvd slideshow with images and speeches that she will never know what was being said.    isn't that a waste of money to have speech on it if she can;t hear what was being said?   

So I went away, did some research looking for subtitles service in weddings.  nope not one.  
I believe it is time for a new change. plus  I hear there is a lack of funding for the deaf charity, deafness research. They are always looking for funding, new service, new staff, support, technology, spaces, notetakers, hospital funds.  The list just go on.  I remember growing up and i was in main stream school   and I was supposed to have a notetaker in my classes which I didn;t received.  This is coz of lack of staff and funding.  Apparently I did very well with some help from my hearing friends.  Thanks mates! :)

Subtitles test -  to be honest.... I self taught myself on how to get subtitles on the videos, movies and everything.   So now that I am ready for the challenge..... This is where I need you all to come in...

You know a lot of people who  would be interested in having subtitles on their dvd slideshow.
Please download this image which its a flyer  and you can then pass them around to people or give a link to this blogspot or to my website.  Bear in mind, that the first 100 customers will get subtitles free. So don't miss out.

I'm not doing it for me.. alright I enjoy the challenges. Thats all I want really.  
The real reason is to help people like us who will be growing up having the most available support they will be needed.  

 Together we will make the difference.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Sorry what?

Here is me sitting thinking about last night and  I feel a little glum about it.

I went to the gig taking photos of the band as requested. There were few people about, chatting sound, some young lads playing on stage making vroom , wailing sounds from their guitar and vibration loud bangs from the drums. The audience were nodding their heads as if they were agreeing with the music.   whenever the band were not playing the dj will play some music as a "break"   This is where people startled to come up to me.  

Some people never knew i had hearing loss  which in my case was nice. Some of them knew I have hearing loss but always forget as soon as they come up to me and talk to me  by my ear.  How am I suppose to lipsread that?   never mind hear! its so loud. I got echo, wailing, massive vibration going on.  what am i suppose to do? ask the sound checker and dj to turn down the volume and people would hate me.  mmm hate sound a bit harsh...     Nope ... Some of these people who knew me remember that I can only lipsread in the noises envoirnment but they couldn't hear me when I try to talk to their ear. I was "too quiet" or have "high pitch" voice.  Interesting (!)

Isn't it interesting when the background noise is so loud and my voice automatic go to quiet mode as if i was whispering,  then when the background is all clear i am loud? or normal?  whichever the case it... why is it doing this?

I was told to turn my voice  "volume up".  I don't know any difference.  especially in the noises places!

anyway, the band I took the photos for, was hoping that I would stay behind after their gigs so they could hang out with me... mind you they are bunch of 19 years old lads and I'm 27 years old.    yea go figure.  I just have a txt message that the bass player fancy me.  oooh er!   nice to have admirer! lol

As much as I love going to bars and gigs, its always difficult to hear what people says.  I switched my hearing aids to setting 2  ie cutting off the background but its doesn't always turn down the background noise enough.  My mate and I went out looking for a nice place with controllable volume background. So we found Kro bar in Manchester,  lots of people but the background noise wasn't too bad. At least I could hear my voice!!   

I even had some guys went up to me and said   "Nice camera, can I have your number?"       geez  I get this alot

So here is me thinking......   implant....   how will i compare this to what i have just experienced..
Will this improve when i have the implant... (I know  lots of practices )   
if a person speak to my ear where the implant will be... will I hear?
so many questions  and i just can not wait to compare it.

Have patience Manda... The force is with you ..... always...

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Test yourself

At last a challenge that I would like you all to test yourself. even I test my own hearing.
I said I would challenge you, so here is it.

Few months ago I met this young lad called Steve and he is my third person who have the implant and probably the only one who have the harmony product.   I've arranged my hearing friends and Steve to come along to the pub..  now I'm getting dangerous here.  PUB =  Noise   lots of it!   

In the Pub  we normally hear lots of crashing sound coming from the kitchen or shouting,  tv, loudspeaker ----  very common for us as its drown all the speeches.  anyway... My friends were questioning Steve about what he hears from his implant and were very keen to know. Hearing people tend to find it shocking and have no idea how sound would sound like to us.  its impossible to explain.     
so this test I was saying,  imagine yourself in the pub or in a noisy place.  Close your eyes.   and get someone to say some simple word...  not "Can you hear me?" kind of crap    just random words and you will have to repeat what the person say to you.  I have tried with my hearing aids and I failed.   But steve with the implant... my goodness.... he got them all right..  my friends were very impressed..   They are keen to have me to do the test once i have the implant!  steady down my friends i said. I explained that it would take me some time to work some sound out after the implant. Steve have been implant for 8 years i think so basically he has lots of practices.

Well Done Steve.  

Let me know if any of you have tried the test and what was the outcome!  its a great test.



My view before being implanted

Hey everyone,

Thought I should start the blog  about my journey to the cochlear implant.  Some of you already know that I will be having the operation very soon. Date have not yet been confirmed.  

I wanna write about my view of sound that I do hear with my hearing aids and how i can look back to this after i had the implant switched on.  Thought its a great idea. Don't you think?  Glad you agree with me.

The sound that I can hear right now i am in my room in Manchester 2nd floor apartment. The window is open and i can hear the sound of the traffic going by all the time. mostly the sirens go off all the time. I can tell the difference between the police, ambulance and fire engine sirens.   if you don't know the difference well I could explain.  The ambulance sound like wailing  its sound goes up high and went low again in a slow pace.    fire engine is nee naw nee naw most of the time. the police was tricky one  to explian really  they have two sort of sounds.  one of them is waazz wazz and its very loud. very annoying. i had to shut my window to block it.  the other one   .... i can't remember ...  need the police siren to come back so i could tell you.   i will come back to you on this.  
my door to the hallway is behind me and i could hear my flatmate and my neighbour (both hearing) chatting in the kitchen.  don't ask me what they said coz i dunno.  i just know who is talking by the tone of their voice. thats how i can managed to hear things set by tone.

the more i am used to that tone the more i understand it.

I am very much a music lover. music is a great passion of mine. I do hear music but hearing the lyrics for the first time is very hard to understand so bascially most of my life i had to learn the lyrics over and over til i knew all the words. its may be annoying to some people hearing same song all the time but in the long run i was tuning myself in to this song.  understandly the meaning of the song and lyrics to go with it. the tone of the lead vocal singing in low and sad or high when they are reaching out that kind of message. it gave me a shiver with the hair standing up on my neck. its that powerful. 

Oh i would love to compare how this song will be like with the implant.  Most of you called CI but i rather called them implant   as in computering term word (I'm a geek, incase you dunno.  yea a cool geek:)  )    I will let you know my view after i hear some music with the implant.  can't wait
Coldplay is really cool band and i would love to go to their concert.  most of the time in the past I went to concert to see Robbie williams, Ant & Dec, Scissor sisters and many more  I used my hearing as an excuse to get to the front.  It worked and i lipsread the artist most of the way so that I could understand what they were singing or talking about.   some i missed out of course.  

I went to music festival couple of times and i have enjoyed but  i missed out quite a lot..... :(  the sound was too loud for me to adapt what was happening and had to relies on what my friends were singing a long to.  not much fun but after few drinks and it goes in to your head   what does it matter anyway? :)  

Get down to the sound   was the quote from bill and ted movie. incase u didn't know!
its also from a song in heavy metal band. awesome!  

sound i can hear are mostly background noises but if the background is loud and a person is talking to me..... forget it  i can't hear this person no chance.    i was trying to train my brain to focus on this person with my hearing but had no luck. i have 4 settings on my hearing aids.  set one normal sound. set 2  cut off background (to make it quiet)  set 3 T loop system  mainly use this to listen to my ipod cable free T-link set 4 fm  direct connect   suppose to use ipod for this but i hate being connect to anything.   unless I am in places where t loop system will cause feedback which mean i won't hear music from my ipod.
for the first time I will be using the fm setting when i go on plane to aus in a month time.  i just hope my ears will handle the air pressure on the plane for a long time as i had many bad experience in the past. the pressure to my ears was unbearable painful and discomfort.  I switched off my hearing aids while on the plane as i find the noises too much plus the batteries seem to ran out very quickly.  

must leave a note to myself here......... Manda....... remember to bring your spare batteries!!!!! 

i could write forever about sound that i hear but i won't brag about it right now....     just looking at my blog..... its quite long to read.  ah well  I hope this doesn't bored you.  Happy Reading.

Some sample of the wedding DVD Slideshow 
images by Amanda Glasspell
caption created by  Amanda Glasspell
song by All for one

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Free subtitles on your wedding DVD. Quote caption 29 - see website for details. Don't miss out. Donate will be make to Deaf charity.