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