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! :)