Sunday, 15 December 2013

2nd day with N6 - in London

Went to a church group social first in a Oxford. Noticed that when I'm on the programme without the noise reducer, can hear sound of people talking further away, but whether they are near or far, I cannot make sense, so carry on lip read with deaf awareness being applied and only talk to people when deaf aware and one to one. 

Then headed to London, I stayed on programme 3 without noise reducer, and I love the environmental sounds of London and the London Underground etc. Could hear a tannoy on the platform but no idea what it said. I then met up with a good hearing friend who can sign BSL to do some light trails photography in Piccadilly Circus which was amazing and good fun. Good to hear the traffic and to hear sirens coming from further away. After our meal later, we then parted to go home. I decided to switch to programme 1, the one with the noise reducer and noooooo I hated it!!! It cut out the sound of my beloved tube trains and beloved London. Kept trying it til I got to Paddington to get my train home. Nope, my environmental sounds I love and enjoy weren't there. It tried to make me hear voices of people near me which were dead quiet and absolutely meaningless!! So strapped that... back to programme 3 without the noise reducer - ahhh that's better - hello environmental sounds of my beloved London!!!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Cochlear N6 Upgrade!!!

Hi all, today was the big day!!  I got my cochlear implant upgrade from the Cochlear Freedom to the Cochlear N6 their latest model.

So off I went to the CI centre at the hospital with all the bits and pieces that I received when I got my Cochlear Freedom implant on 3rd March 2008!!  It was weird walking in there with the kit bag.

I arrived into the room to receive my new CI and I saw black suitcase on the table next to my chair where I sit for the tuning.  When my CI tuner told me that it was my new box of bits for my new CI, I couldn't believe it!!  Well last time I did get a big cardboard box of bits but this time we get a suitcase of bits which was bigger than the box from last time!!!

Today my upgrade brought back alot of memories of my switch on, but this time I came along with experience!!

My CI tuner had already loaded my existing map (which was one of the best maps that I have had with my Cochlear Freedom) onto my new N6 CI.  then she handed it to me so that I could check it when it was still connected to the computer in case I needed any further tuning.  She switched it on and to me it sounded fine.

Then my CI tuner explained to me all the controls and the programmes on the new processor and how to use the remote and explained all the different accessories that were in the box.  Apparently, I can go swimming with this CI!!! but not in the sea!!

It was on programme 1 when I left the hospital which has the background noise reducer.  It cut out the sound of traffic and made music in a car sound like as though it was increasing and decreasing its volume which I didn't like very much so when I got home I tried programme 3 which has the background noise reducer switched OFF!!  On my Freedom CI, I always had the auto sensitivity (background noise reducer) switched off as I hated it!!

I was born profoundly Deaf and have worn for the majority of my life the highest powered Phonak Superfront analogue hearing aids which everything was really turned up to try and give me some sound as I couldnt hear much.  Modern day digital hearing aid / cochlear implant technology have this feature that reduces background noise.  I absolutely detest the background noise being reduced cos that the very thing we like our hearing aids or cochlear implants for as we don't understand speech comprehension as we could never access it earlier in our lives. I, therefore switched to programme 3.

And yes, there was some new developments when I got home...

My new CI is BETTER than my Freedom cos, with my Freedom, I could never hear sounds in the next room.  So I had gained new sounds already in the 1st hour of being home!!  They were.. hearing the kettle boiling from upstairs, hearing the clock ticking in the kitchen from inside my living room and i could hear a phone ringing at the recipent's end when my interpreter was making a call on her iphone with it held to her head!!!  Also with my Freedom, I was very sensitive to sound, alot of sound used to give me that nail scratching down the blackboard effect, but this has stopped with my N6!!  As lots of my born Deaf BSL using friends who were cochlear implanted in the last few years as adults could hear sounds in the next room and I couldn't and no one had that nail scratching down the blackboard effect except me.  It did made me wonder whether the problem I had with my Freedom CI a week after I was switched on was never fixed properly / resolved?????  I did suffer alot of discomfort (tingling in arms, made my heart feel like as though it was beating faster etc) with my Freedom CI that I couldn't wear it all the time.  Hopefully as the N6 is better, I will be able to wear it more and with comfort!!

I went out earlier this evening to get a couple of things in the city centre and I noticed new sounds which were doors shutting, but I still struggled with the speech side of things even with lip-reading that I had to ask people to write down what they are saying.  As being deaf from birth, it's the environmental sounds and music that's ok with CI and will be focusing on those.  The speech side of things is pointless!!

Tonight I returned home, I have been in my study and I have been playing my Christmas music on my ipod touch and yes, it sounds so much better, clearer and sharper!!  Can these developments carry on.. watch this space.................

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Cochlear N6 upgrade

Hi all,

So sorry, I havent posted here for a long while.  Life has been crazy!!!! I have been to the USA in the summer on a FANTASTIC roadtrip holiday with plenty of music whilst driving through Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California!!!  I have become an Auntie and I have gone back to University and NOW I am about to get my CI upgrade from the Cochlear Freedom CI to the Cochlear N6!! So Guys, watch this space.................................

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Cotswolds - St Davids Day 2012

Was it really 2010 the last time I blogged? Ooh dear, I had better keep more up to date.
2011 went with a blur. The highlights of the year were skiing in the Swiss Alps at Wengen beneath the Jungfrau in Winter 2010 / 2011 and going to the USA last summer where I went with a friend to New York City and Washington, DC. Separate blogs will be written for those.
Anyway, my CI journey seem to be more settled. I have stopped wearing it in the places where my CI does not work and where I was 'pressurised' to be 'hearing' when I cannot be as I am profoundly deaf from birth and then get picked on / left out cos I cannot achieve that 'hearing' status which is to understand speech. I only wear my CI in the places and environments where it is ok to still be deaf with CI and where the inability to understand speech does not matter and/or where the person I am with is extremely deaf aware and with lip-reading and CI, I can follow what they say and have opportunity to ask them to repeat where necessary.
Anyway, I am typing today as I had the day off from work (booked annual leave) and with beautiful weather (after fog had lifted), I took an opportunity to explore the Cotswolds!! Despite the fact that I often travel / drive through and they are right on my doorstep, I had not properly stopped there to have a proper look round for many years. I decided to explore by travelling by bus.
My first stop was Northleach, a quaint beautiful old wool and market town in the Cotswolds. Here I had half an hour to change buses. There was not alot to see, as the town was so small, I stayed in the Market Place area close to the bus stop.
The Market Square was surrounded by very traditional shops and old inns, all in that golden coloured brick of the Cotswolds. There was a butchers, a grocers, a post office, a chemist and a bakers. It wasn't market day today so Market Place was used as a car park.
I watched the life that goes on in this quaint little town.
Most of the people who walked about were of the retired type. There was one or two Mothers with a kid in a pushchair but it was mainly older people who were taking their time in the stroll in the Market Square or sat on the bench next to the main road to admire the daffodils that were about to come to life.
It seemed like everyone knew everyone. The body language showed how people always addressed each other or have a joke. I stood there also admiring the 'sounds' of this quaint town. This I had never experienced before and was amazed at how far some sound could travel when there is less urbanised hustle and bustle noise going on. The sounds I picked up was possibly a blackbird as it was a high pitched melodic type, but I could not locate where he was. There was the noise of the odd car passing by or manuoevring in the car park. The old church chimed on the half hour and footsteps of people on the other side of the Market Square could be heard!! Then there was two couples (one couple with a dog) suddenley greeting each other in the car park. They stood there for a good 15 minutes and one thing I noticed was how loud they could be heard. I didnt have to 'strain' my ear or turn up any volume to hear their chatter in the car park within Market Place. Their talking seemed loud and seemed to be amplified by bouncing off the walls of the shops that surround Market Place. There were no other sounds. Their talking was so loud and clear. I could not understand what they were saying but thats due to me having no pathway to understand speech. Had I been able to understand speech, I am sure I would have picked out what they were saying. But I couldnt anyway.
Following Northleach, I visited Bourton on the Water. No CI moment there, and not even heard the ducks... perhaps they were quiet today? However I could hear their flying and flapping their wings in the water though. Following these I went on to Stow on the Wold and Moreton in Marsh. No more CI moments there.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Sunday 24th October 2010 - Evening Church Service

Today, I stayed at home most of the day and only went out to go to church at my Methodist Church where I am a member of, in the city centre. My experience with following church services at my church with my CI has improved more recently although I still need some support. They have had some deaf awareness training.

Deaf awareness training truely makes a MASSIVE difference!

The Minister, my friends and some of the stewards at the church are brilliant in meeting my needs. They are extremely deaf aware and integrate me into church's life. At church, I use my FM system as that gives me more power of sound than the loop system. My Minister is excellent with wearing the transmitter, and he is aware that I still have limitations with following, that he gives me his notes which are a great help. Another great help is that my friends also help with writing down whats being said of the bits I cannot follow. I have also noticed that more and more stuff in the church service are on powerpoint, that helps alot too. I have problem joining in with the hymns, so I sign them in British Sign Language. Everyone's used to that now :-) and they help me follow the hymns. Also, when we have Communion and we are kneeling at the altar, when our Minister says the prayer before we return to our seats, I look up to lip-read him and hes very good at making sure that I can see to lip-read him.

Deaf awareness really does make a difference.

Saturday 23rd October 2010 - Cambridge and BSL CIusers

Had a wonderful day today in Cambridge where I met two Deaf friends who also have Cochlear Implant (CI). Like me, they were both born profoundly deaf and brought up with British Sign Language (BSL) and in the Deaf World. They too, like me, objected to CI in the past as we saw them as a threat to the Deaf Community and our Deaf identities. Having seen more members of the Deaf Community who use BSL and have strong Deaf identities like me getting Cochlear Implants, our views are changing. We realised that with being cochlear implanted as adults, we don't change and there is no threat to BSL. We are still Deaf and although we can now hear environmental sounds and music, we still cannot follow speech except lip-reading 1 to 1 with a very Deaf aware hearing person. Due to the lack of our auditory experience growing up and being too deaf at the time our brains develop these auditory pathways for the comprehension of speech, despite the said benefits with environmental sounds and music, we still have alot more limitations with speech comprehension than those who were implanted very young or was hearing who became deafened and got cochlear implant. I must stress to you and remind you that the environmental sounds are not always identifable and due to being implanted and only hearing from one side only, the location of the sound source is impossible.

As BSL and the Deaf identity has not been threatened by born Deaf adults getting implanted, more and more BSL users Deafies are getting cochlear implants. I am amazed by how fast cochlear implants are spreading within the Deaf World and also how cochlear implants are becoming more and more accepted.

It was brilliant to meet my Deaf friends in Cambridge today as we have extremely similar experiences with our hearing experiences with the CI and dealing with similar attitude and expectations of hearing people. One of my friends had her implant for 6 months and she was concerned about her lack of progress and when I told her what I went through, she felt much better as I went through the same and that it was normal for us. The other friend only had his CI op last week, but meeting us and listening to our experiences will help him what to expect and what not to expect.

What a great time that I didnt get home until 2am!!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Apple's delight

And...following my last blog date in March this year - I can glady say that I have just upgraded my mobile to Apple's iPhone 4. What a Godsend!!! All the information I need on my fingertips and no need for the text relay service. The iPhone along with my Nokia Communicators is the best mobile and most accessible mobile I have had. I got rid of my BlackBerry the day after I got the iPhone :-)

Long time no hear!

Hello, sorry to have been so long. I have been having a very rocky journey with my CI, that I have actually began to wear it less and less. The problem that causes this is the attitude and high expectations of some hearing people. Life has also been pretty stressful with the fact that I have had to deal with so many things go wrong at home by problems caused by other people making careless mistakes. One of which was that I could not see out of my right eye for 5 months leading me to really struggle and was told by the opticians "there is nothing more we can do about it!" Being profoundly deaf and relying on British Sign Language to communicate, this was an absolutely horrific thing to say. Luckily, I discovered exactly where the error was! It wasnt my eye, it was the stupid optician. He had given me the WRONG prescription and didnt even bother to check that when I went back to try and sort it out. I was given a + prescription for my right eye was it was supposed to be a - prescription. I then went to a different optician near my work in May and he confirmed that I was right and that the other optician was wrong. I have now had the correct prescription since May and my right eye has been perfect vision again since!

I had pulled out of table table club cos they excluded me from conversations as they expected my CI to tell me what they are saying. No matter how I tried to explain to them, they didnt listen and they destroyed my confidence in me making a real effort to try to integrate in hearing world without sign language interpreters. I have been to afraid to try to meet groups of hearing people without sign language interpreters since. I really want to join the local Badminton club but am so nervous that I would have the same bad experience again. I thought the whole point of CI was to improve my chances of taking part in hearing world socially without interpreters. That's not working - I still need people to be Deaf aware or use British Sign Language. I might try join the Badminton Club, but I am NOT going to wearing CI. Luckily for me, my social life is already in the Deafworld where I have been since my early teens, where I can communicate freely and at ease using BSL. I am delighted to hear that there is a Deaf tennis club which I am quite interested in going along to.

I still have massive ups and downs with CI. I have accepted the limitations with it, and I dont expect miracles from it anymore. The hearing people who expect miracles need to be told that this is never going to happen and need to accept my deafness limitations as it is..

I now dont wear my CI all the time as it is not worth wearing it in the situations where I have the wrong people around me (non deaf aware), in hearing groups where people dont adapt to ensure I'm following conversation live (why should I have to accept a summary at the end? I might have something useful to say or have a good idea to contribute too! by the time I have a chance - it's too late!! grrr!!), at my house on my own (cos any strange noise, I will NOT have a clue where from, what it is and no one to advise me - it would just freak me out). Sometimes this is so stressful, and makes me so angry that many times I have felt like quitting that implant, or throwing it in the wheelie bin and never to wear it again. I daren't due to the expense of it. Then I realise, yes the CI is only an aid, I have been warned by the CI cedntre that it would never give me normal hearing and I would never develop the pathways that enable you to comprehend speech auditorally. So with my lack of auditory experience, there is a limit that the implant can do. I now realise that the love hate relationship that I have with my implant is greatly determined by the awareness and understanding of cochlear implant limitations from people around me and the efforts they make to make sure that I am integrated. I cannot do anymore than that.

Currently my hearing aid is broken - not that I hear much out of it in the first place!- so am back to CI alone. What strikes me is that the quietest sounds I now hear with CI is 40dB! Last year when I didnt wear hearing aid in other ear where just wore implant alone, my quietest hearing levels went up to 15dB! That doesnt mean I can understand speech, I can never understand speech - all mumbo jumbo!! I have noticed alot of sounds are missing - hearing water starting to boil in a pan in the kitchen, the click from my oven when the required cooking temperature has been reached!! I didnt realised! Now going back to CI centre on 1st Nov in time for bonfire night. I am also needing to consider again whether its worth wearing hearing aid again -I have the most powerful one you can ever get - Phonak Naida.

Listening through a CI is such hard work especially when you are so used to silence for 33 years, that I still need CI free days, to enable my brain to take a rest. This can occur on any day of the week and anywhere. Thanks goodness for British Sign Language!!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

New 32GB Ipod touch

Today, I also bought a brand new Apple ipod touch (2nd generation) and 32GB. It is amazing gadget and how now I really wish I have an iphone and not my current BlackBerry!! Roll on October to my mobile upgrade date!!

Currently now uploading the lyrics onto itunes for all of my songs in my itunes library so that it can be synced to my ipod and at least I finally have the words!!!! With my CI, music is amazing, and now with sound and words available via the written lyrics showing up on my ipod, I have alot of learning to do!!!

Conference speaking!!

Today, I spoke at the CI conference in London "Advancing technologies" and spoke to hearing and audiology professionals about the BSL user perspectives of their experience of having a CI. As I am a proud BSL user from a Deaf background, I decided to use BSL to present my presentation and used the interpreters to voice over for me. It was brilliant despite my nerves when I was sat there on the Northern Line tube train (which deliberately decided to have delays) especially when I wanted my presentation over and done with. I kept thinking "Oh I'm gonna forget to mention this and that etc"! But despite the delays on the Northern Line, I still got there on time as I made sure I allowed for delays!!

However, as soon I had got up to speak in front of 150+ people, introduced myself, my nerves vanished, I became more relaxed, I remembered my words without looking at the script and just used my powerpoint bullet points as triggers and away I went and I had fun.

It went down extremely well with people. It was a real eye opener for people to be aware of the cultural issues that arise (grown up with Deaf Culture in Deaf World and trying now to understand "hearing culture"). Also that CIs for us are no "quick fix" and that we still rely on BSL for access although one to one is easier PROVIDING the speaker is deaf aware!

However I got challenged at the end.... there was an older man who was obviously born hearing, grown up hearing culture who was deafened later in life. He was asking me "Why did you use BSL when presenting and not use your voice?" I explained that BSL is my natural language and I have a Deaf identity and belong to Deaf World and so I should portray this as that is part of me and where I am from. My voice is not exactly that clear, kinda monotoned and whilst speaking across a hall of 150+ people, I'm not sure if all will understand me nor hear me? How do I know if I am projecting my voice loud and clear enough?

I am pleased to be able to get out there and raise awareness of the experiences of CI with born Deaf, Culturally Deaf BSL users.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Don't Panic!!! I'm still here!!

Hey all,

Sorry long time no speak! Life has been mega hectic and busy, not helped by a problematic laptop. Now I have a new laptop that is much much faster and reliable and therefore more free time available so can update my blog - hopefully more regularly.

What have the going ons been since October?

My implant has continued to be a massive rollercoaster. Environmental sounds and music are very very good through my implant so I am really happy with it there for those things. However, I really hate my implant for voices in groups situations and hearing voices as background noise as they all sound like a shed of chickens that makes no sense at all, even when just trying to follow something being said between two people, especially when no Deaf awareness is applied. Voice through an implant sounds best through an FM system or in quiet rooms where there is NO other sound, but I still need to lip-read and still need the person to be Deaf Aware. I am still unable to understand what is being said on a radio, so those are still out of my life. As for music, cinema and TV, providing I have the lyrics and subtitles in front of me, am able to follow along and with the pace of it quite well. Had a great time seeing Avatar 3D with subtitles recently and it was great to get the full picture thanks to the subtitles.

As a result of having been able to identify the places where I get benefit from my implant and the places / situations where I dont get benefit from my implant, it makes it easier when to call in the interpreter at work. Where I can lipread the person then my interpreters know to let me lip-read and they monitor closely the communication situation and they seem to know immediately when I am lost or start to be lost and they step in to my rescue at the right time. I know the situations (e.g. groups) and the people who I cannot follow, so I automatically go back my old way and use BSL and interpreter 100% for that.

The current biggest battle I am facing at the moment is the attitude of some hearing people outside of work. My work colleagues are excellent in meeting and understanding my needs. However, I am having some real struggles with communication and the attitude of some hearing people outside of work. Some people who known me since before my CI who were Deaf aware before have ditched their deaf awareness since I got my CI and now I find it impossible or extremely hard work tyo communicate with them. I find that quite upsettting and very frustrating. There are also the attitude of some hearing people out there who have discriminated me cos they have expected me to understand what they are saying cos I have implant my speech is good. I feel like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall sometimes and I am so exhausted and fed up with having to remind people that it is not a quick fix and that due to my history of deafness since birth, speech comprehension is very very unlikely and that they STILL need to face me and be DEAF AWARE when they talk to me. Also, I have alot of CONFUSION re hearing culture, and am finding that quite difficult to adapt to. Due to this so much hard work, I don't wear my implant everyday - it takes alot out of me. I wear it most days in the week, but there are a couple of switch off days where I can go back to my old ways.

However, I am delighted to be invited to speak at two forthcoming conferences on CIs where I will be speaking about the born Deaf BSL user perspective on the experience of hearing with a CI.

Thursday, 8 October 2009 long last!!! Thursday 8th October 2009

Hey Guys, sorry long time no type.. it has been such a manic summer, and it has just flown by!! Anyway, now 18 months into having my CI, I still have ups and downs as I deal with new situations. The good stuff is that music and environment sounds is so plentiful and clearer. Speech is still hard to understand and I find background noise a real hindrance!!

Background noise at work is unbearable that I find that I have to take the CI off in order to concentrate as background noise is louder than what I want to hear and I dont have any control over that!! and there is one particular sound at work that has an effect on me same as nails stratching down a blackboard!! eugh!! When its quiet in the office then CI is great and clear. When there's noise then everything gets distorted and loud :-(

Newest sounds are: hearing the sauce bubbling in the casserole dish as I took it out of the oven last night.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Sunday 27th September 2009 - St Aubin, Jersey

Today was the first day of my holiday in Jersey and I went with one of my good CI friends. We had a great time.

On the first day we went and had a cup of tea in our B&B garden which was in the sun and had excellent sea views. There was a church nearby and suddenley the bells chimed and it made me jump out of my skin!! I didnt know what it was! Then Abi told me that it was the church bells! Also I have never heard so much screeching, siren like sounds before by the sea side and it was the sea gulls!! Gosh how you hearing people put up with that?? When we went for a walk on the beach later we could hear the waves on the beach and also the sand crunching beneath our feet.. I was amazed :-)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Wednesday 2nd September 2009 - Fizz!

Tonight a friend came round for pizza. I was pouring the coke out of the bottle into a glass and then there was this fisssssssss noise. I had no idea what that was and then it turned out to be the fizz at the top of the coke in the glass. I had no idea they made sounds like that!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Friday 14th August 2009 - U2 concert, Wembley Stadium, London

I had an amazing experience tonight when I went to see my favourite band U2 play live in concert at Wembley. U2 has been my fav band for 19 years and this was the first time I have seen them play live in concert. Also when I was at school, I used to play some of their songs on the electric guitar and in a group, so I know their songs and the chords really well. Anyway, tonight I could hear them really well with my cochlear implant and they were so clear and I could hear all the details except identify what the words were to the songs but I knew them anyway. I also had my hearing aid in the other ear which is the most powerful hearing aid (digital) that is available as I am so profoundly deaf. Anyway, during one of the songs I decided to compare what I could hear of the concert with each ear. I removed the magnet of the CI and lo and behold - the music just went!!! I could not hear the music with my hearing aid!! and it was over 80 dB in the stadium!! That just shows how much I am getting with my CI and how little I get with my hearing aid and what I had to put up with over the years!! Then I put my CI back on and the music came back loud and clear. I switched off the hearing aid and it made no difference to what I was hearing overall as really I was only hearing through my CI. It was a fantastic evening :-)

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Thursday 18th June 2009 - Alarms!!

Tonight I was sitting at home at my house with my lap top in the living room. Sudden there was this alarm sounding. I thought perhaps it was inside my house like the smoke alarm or my burglar alarm and as I went to investigate it wasnt that. So I went outside to try and locate the sound. With being able to hear that sound with one ear, it is impossible to locate the sound. Then my neighbour came out too to see what the sound was. They listened for me to try and locate the sound and it turned out to be the burglar alarm of a neighbour's house 2 houses away!! I couldnt believe I could hear that!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Thursday 21st May 2009 - Cochlear Information Evening

Tonight I went to an information evening and this was good as it was present by my cochlear implant manufacture and they gave us more information about our cochlear implant. I met Charlotte and Sarah there and we had a great time. I learnt alittle more about my CI and good to meet other people.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Monday 11th May 2009 - Routine Tuning

Went back to the CI centre today for routine tuning and also to try and solve why I get clicks or crackles sometimes instead of normal beeps during tuning. One of the tech staff from Cochlear was there and we solved the problem... it was cos my skin is too thin and so the distance between the internal and external are too close. I now have an extra piece on my magnet which has solved this problem :-)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Sunday 10th May 2009 - new sound

Went into the city centre today with a friend and I noticed a new sound - church bells - I had never noticed that before in the city centre.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Friday 8th May 2009 - tuning

I have been having problems with my CI that one of the electrodes keeps turning itself up every two weeks then causing me pain :-( I have been going back and forth to the CI centre to have this electrode turned down. Today we have switched that electrode off and so I have 21 on instead of the full 22.

My God - what a difference it made.....much more comfortable and also the sounds sounded better. Today went to the pub at lunchtime with work and providing my colleagues in the group spoke one at a time and looked at me, I was able to follow the conversation for the FIRST time!!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Sunday 26th April 2009 - More animals!!

Today I went to Bristol on the train and met a long standing friend there who is also born profoundly deaf and use BSL and was implanted with a cochlear implant 2 years ago.

We went to visit Bristol zoo and we had a great time and it was interesting to hear the lions roar and the noise of the birds, and flamingos. I also heard the penguins make a funny noise and the seals roar. It was a good experience...even though it will take me a while to remember each of those sounds. Afterwards we walked abit around the Clifton Suspension Bridge and I am amazed by there being quite a few birds there.

When I got my connection train, the tannoy went on that one too, but it was squawk sqauawk squawk....goodness knows what it said!! Also I am completely unable to understand them on station platforms!!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Friday 24th April 2009 - The BSL CIsers are growing!

Tonight after work, I met the newest person who was born profoundly deaf and use BSL who was implanted at my CI centre. She was feeling low and disappointed with her CI so it was good that she met me, as I have been through exactly the same. She felt much better after meeting me and so was glad that I could help.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Sunday 19th April 2009 - The Cliff Railway

Today whilst still at Aberystwyth, after a great hearty Welsh breakfast with sea view, I then went and explored the sea front before I met my cousin again at lunchtime. As I walked along the sea front towards Consitution Hill where the cliff railway was, I noticed the sound of the sea and the birds there. I walked along the beach and noticed the sounds of the waves and water brushing pass the rocks on the beach. It was very interesting. Next I headed onto the cliff railway and I could hear the mechanism on the cable on the track and the electrical humming as it is pulled up the hill, and could also hear the rattling of the wheels of the passing funicular car that was making it way downhill. Magnificant sounds at the top but the only sounds that I was aware off were those of the wind.

When I headed downhill again on the funicular railway, half way down, I noticed this distinctive sound and realised that it was a blackbird. As I cannot locate the sound, I had to look for this blackbird and found it perched on top of a telegraph pole as I was passing it. I watched its beak as it sang and realised that the beak movements matched the sound - so amazing!!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Saturday 18th April 2009 - Aberystwyth, Wales

I caught the train this morning to go to Aberystwyth to visit my cousin who is at Uni there. I had to change trains at Birmingham International. I not notice any new sounds though. I arrived at Aberystwyth and my cousin met me. We got to my B&B which is well recommended (Yr Hafod) and I met the manager there. He was a lovely man, very Welsh with a good sense of humour.. but.. I struggled to understand him due to his Welsh accent!! He was vewry patience.

That afternoon my cousin and I went to visit this animaliaruim at Borth. That was a good experience for to hear the animals and the birds. My cousin helped me to identify any new sounds. They included - laughing kookeburra, peacock and goat.

In the evening we had a fantastic bbq on the beach. New sounds for me here were the sea gulls, the waves on the beach and the crunching of the sand / pebbles beneath my feet on the beach.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Monday 13th April 2009 - Beep beep beep

I was still at my parents house today as today was the last day of my Easter holidays. Anyway, I've noticed more new sounds at my parents house today which I have never noticed before despite still not being able to follow the family conversation.

The new sounds I heard today were: beeping in the kitchen when I was making coffee (initially I thought it was the phone ringing, then I realised no one was coming to the phone and so I couldnt think what else it could be except the dishwasher and so it was), microwave beeps on my parents microwave at regular intervals for about a minute after finishing and being able to hear the blackbird sing outside from inside the conservatory.

I havent had new sounds for a while, so its good that I have new batch of them coming in again.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Sunday - Sunday 12th April 2009 - Sirens and bees and localisation of sounds

Today at lunchtime we had nice drinks outside in the garden. I noticed that I could hear a siren. I asked my Mum where it was. She said going pass the Cricket Ground which was a mile away. I thought wow, I can hear a siren from a mile away!! But as I only have one implant, and hear nothing in the other ear, I cannot tell where a sound is coming from. When I hear the traffic from the main road at the front of the house from my parents garden, I ask them which way is it going? My mum told me, and I said how do you know. She said its all down to having two ears working to be able to tell direction. grrr...wish I can do that. Would save me alot of confusion!! Also I noticed that the noise of that siren was one second louder and then the next it was quieter then louder again. My mum explained that it was because the sound is carried in the wind!! But hey I can hear sirens a mile away and also I heard the bumble bee buzz for the first time - eurghh!!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Friday 10th April 2009 - The Blackbird sings!!

Today I have returned to my parents house for the Easter break. We were working in the garden today as a family, clearing the garden and tidying it up for the summer. Whilst we were out there, I noticed that there were lots of bird sounds and I noticed a new one that I hadn't heard before that was more melodic. I asked my Mum which bird was that more melodic one and she explained that it was the blackbird. Finally I have heard the blackbird. That was the bird my parents tried to get me to hear last summer but it never happened cos the blackbird wasn't singing when I was at home cos it was always raining.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Saturday 4th April 2009 - Deaf Day

Today I went to City Lit in London for Deaf Day. This was brilliant as I met up with alot of my Deaf friends and had brilliant chats with them in BSL all day. There were several Deaf people there with Cochlear Implants. I had no problem with the attitude of Deaf people there cos I have an implant and another one of my Deaf friends who is also a strong BSL user whom I havent seen for 6 years was very interested in it :-) Most of the Deaf people at the Deaf Day, we all met up in a pub in Holborn afterwards and ruled the pub. It was great to catch up with everyone and then afterwards a group of us went for a lovely meal in Piccadilly Circus :-) I stayed overnight with my Sister as I was helping her sort out her new wireless broadband network.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Friday 3rd April 2009 - I was the surprise!

Tonight after work, I was invite to join a group of deaf friends by a deaf friend to have a light tea and go and see a show in a theatre near my friend's house. However I was the surprise for one of her friends. One of my friend's friends who is also deaf used to be the Head of the Deaf Unit at my secondary school. She remembered me and said that she had a shock and a lovely surprise at seeing me again, so now we are meeting up on a more regular basis. We haven't seen each other for 19 years!! So it's lovely to see her again and there is alot of catching up. It was a brilliant evening out as a group together too.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Tuesday 31st March 2009 - table tennis frustration

Tonight after work, had frustration as unable to follow the social chats at my table tennis match tonight. I gave up with asking people to tell me what was being said because I couldn't follow what they were saying. So in the end I chatted to few friends on MSN on my mobile. The table tennis people might think I am not being sociable, but they can think what they like. What else do they expect me to do? Be more frustrated and then start getting upset? - I've tried to join in and I can't!! I cannot follow what they were saying, so let me do something that I CAN do. However, when I played my table tennis games, I played well. I had thought about pulling out of the table tennis team next season due to communication problems and the inability to communicate with them. But then again I am playing well and enjoy my games. Difficult decision!

Monday, 30 March 2009

Monday 30th March 2009 - Joy and frustration

This morning as I entered the lift to go up to the floor where I work in our 12 storey building, I met one of the Deaf guys who work 2 floors above me that I knew. I met him before around the building and we chat in BSL as we are both professionals and profoundly deaf with the same background of deafness. He wore 2 hearing aids same as me before I got my cochlear implant. Anyway I was shocked to discover that he now ALSO has a cochlear implant. He only had his for one month. So now we are meeting up at lunchtimes to compare notes as our CI experience will be exactly the same as we are both profoundly deaf from birth. I am NOT alone now at my work as there is now TWO of us :-)

However it was a bit of a shock this morning going into my office as when I arrived, a group of colleagues started talking when I walked in and after a whole weekend of being able to communicate fluently in groups, suddenley I wasn't able to. I felt mad with my implant for not enabling me to be part of this group discussion in my office when my interpreter wasn't there as it sounded like as though they were all talking in foreign language that I cannot follow and the sound of it irritated me because I could not access it and I was too frustrated to ask what was being said. I waited until my interpreter arrived and then joined in. My boss realised and then started to make sure I was included and helped me catch up. He understood my experience completely. The implant works great for environment sounds, music and for one to one providing I can lip-read..but background noise and in groups of hearing people talking when I haven't got interpreter it doesn't work at all there, so therefore I find it very difficult to socialise in the hearing world unless I have a sign language interpreter there, or the hearing people I am with are deaf aware or can sign and aware of the benefits and limitations of the cochlear implant and includes me in.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sunday 29th March 2009 - Centre Parc Cochlear Implant bike ride

After a late start and a cooked breakfast and a great chat, a group of us set off for mountain biking through Sherwood Forest Centre Parc. We went and collected the hired bikes and then went to the Country Club for lunch and a drink. We realised that the 6 of us with implants in our group that 5 of us were implanted last year (myself included). Four of us have the Nucleus Freedom implants by Cochlear (myself included) and two in our group have the Advanced Bionics Harmony implants. We also realised that three of us have implant on our right hand side and we are all right handed whilst the other three have implants on their left side and are left handed.
After lunch we had a great time on the mountain bikes for a very rough and bumpy ride through the forest. There was a few steep dips that were unexpected that some of us screamed down at speed :-) and the photo on the left shows a pic of me going down one of these jumps!!!

In the evening I then had to take the train back down South to London from Newark and boy what an interesting journey as the train was mega fast. It just sped through Peterborough and the countryside between there and London and it leaned on the corners, but it was a very smooth ride.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Saturday 28th March 2009 - Centre Parcs - FANTASTIC DAY!!

This morning after a great cooked breakfast and numerous times of trying to stop the fire alarm from going off, we attended some interesting stalls at the Conference. Phonak were there so I was able to tell my friends about the new Phonak Nadia hearing aid. Connevans were also there, and I showed my friends the FM system that I have which is recommended with cochlear implants. Also Cochlear were there and they are the manufacturers of my cochlear implant and so it was really good to see all the accessories that comes with it. I have most of it but it was good to see the other colours, and I also got some freebies with that including a boomerang, ball, pen. I also got a t-shirt. They also had the electrode on display with the internal magnet that I have inside my head... I couldnt believe how long it was. See the photograph above.

In the afternoon we had some interesting talks by the Ear Foundation, a representative from Cochlear and also one of the surgeons from Nottingham who carried out the first child implant op for multi channel implant 20 years ago and then the mother of this child and this child himself spoke now as an adult. They talked about the past, where cochlear implants and the Ear Foundation have been and how they have developed and where they are now and where they are going in the future.

After the talks a group of us all CI users born deaf implanted as adults and we all use BSL went and had a good time in the tropical fun swimming pool. One of my other friends came up from my CI centre and joined us for the whole day. The pool was great and we went on this massive flume where a max of four of us sit in this raft to go down the flume and we rocked it so hard whilst descending that we almost flipped it!! We also went down river rapids where we had to swim down a fast flowing river and the depth of it kept changing and the rapids. It was brilliant, and you go down more slides and waterfalls in this and end up dropping into more rapid river or a plunge pool!! We also went down two other water slides that you go down on your back.. one was so slow it was boring, so I prefer the other one which was faster. But you start descending the fast one in complete blackness before coming to the bits where there are colourful flashing lights. It was brilliant!! Then a group of us went and sat around in one of the spa pools and had great chat in BSL before getting out.

When we got out, we went back to the villa and had another great meal and lots of drink and a brilliant evening together and we chat chat and chat and talk about loads of stuff including our ci experiences and listening practice etc. The clocks went forward tonight and so as we were chatting so much oblivious to the time we realised that it was 4am by the time we went to bed!!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Friday 27th March 2009 - Centre Parcs here we come

Today was the big day and a day I had been looking forward to for a while. This is the start of the CI users weekend together in Centre Parcs. Six of us were renting a villa together.

I took the train up, so enroute from my house to the train station I went to audiology which is also where my CI centre is based. Reason why I went there today was to pick up a new Phonak Nadia hearing aid as they had ordered on my request a black and silver Phonak Nadia. That had arrived so I went to pick it up.

Then I got on the train for my 3 hour journey to Nottingham. At Nottingham two friends who were also implanted last year like me and have same background picked me up. We then went back to one of the friends house and then we set off from there.

When we got to centre parc we met another friend who is a CI user who we havent yet met but have chatted to loads on MSN and CIUG2004 users group. It was good to finally meet her. We unpacked our stuff and sorted the food and settled in. We had a lovely meal that evening and it was so good to be able to communicate and that we were all exactly the same with our CI experience and we are all born deaf and similar age. So we were able to support each other.

After our meal we went to the Talent show which was organised by the Ear Foundation. It was brilliant some of the talents that some of these CI implanted kids have. I was particularly impressed by the CI boy who I think was about 4 or 5 years old singing Mamma Mia with his older sister who was a few years older than him.

Afterwards we went back to the villa and had some more drink and chat.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Monday 9th March 2009 - Re-tune and one year review

I went back to the ci centre today for my tuning session and also my one year review. I also received a new hearing aid - the Phonak Nadia for my non implanted ear. The Phonak Nadia superseeds the Phonak Supero and the Nadia is the most powerful and most advanced digital hearing aid for people with profound hearing loss.

My up to date audiogram with my implant now is that I can now hear at 15dB across the board!! Also had tests with my speech and language therapist and I scored 68% with implant only and 64% with combined hearing aid in non implant ear and implant. My audiologist is very impressed. But....why can't those results show in everyday environments? I am so frustrated that I still cannot follow people's everyday speech and group situations with hearing people are IMPOSSIBLE and I am still completely reliant on BSL interpreters. However communication on a one to one basis has greatly improved and can only talk to my Mum and boss on my Blackberry :-)

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Wednesday 4th March 2009 - Grandma's funeral

I had a BSL interpreter at my Grandma's funeral, and at the end of it the Duke of Perth was played as my Grandma was very involved in Scottish dancing with my Grandad (who died in 1982). When they did Scottish dancing together they always did the last dance and now that they are back together again, my Mum and her brother thought it was appropriate. I was shocked when that music was played, it was very lively and I could hear it nice and loud and clear.

Also at the wake I discovered that one of my Aunts (my Mum's youngest brother's wife) was learning some BSL and I was really pleased to see that.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wednesday 25th February 2009 - Back to the CI centre

Today I went back to the CI centre for a retune. We managed to balance the low frequencies and the highs and now it sounds much better. I was also able to pick up a few words from the announcement at the train station but still so frustrated that I cannot get the whole thing.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Thursday 19th February 2009 - A leak

Was so annoyed to discover that when I got back to my house to discover that there has been a water leak from the back of the toilet cistern in my ensuite bathroom. I therefore had to call in an emergency plumber. He has now fixed the problem and I could hear dripping of the water in the cistern after the cistern had filled. That was a new sound for me there.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Wednesday 18th February 2009 - Back to work

Today I went back to work after my ski holiday. I also noticed that my implant was playing up - became too bassy. So I made an appointment to go back to the CI centre next week on my another week off.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Monday 16th February 2009 - last day of ski holiday

Sadly today was the last day of my ski holiday in Switzerland. My Uncle took me to this pretty steep slope the other side of the town and I went down that. It was steep I mean it. I fell a few times cos it was so steep and needed steeper turns. But I had my ski helmet on. Then on the last ski down i went down straight at the bottom bit and turned the corner to the flat and whizzed pass my Uncle doing a High 5 as I passed. He then said - "Fancy a beer?". My response was "ooh yes please". So we went to this Alpine bar near the cable car station and had a few bottles of beer and a really good chat. He became alot more cochlear implant aware during the week which was really good.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Friday 13th February 2009 - On the Pistes

What glorious weather on the top of the mountain on the Swiss Alps and what amazing views.

Several new sounds have been picked up today which Ive never heard before. You can hear the beeping from the snow bashers as they smooth out the pistes, and you hear the humming of the cable on the button drag lift and cable car and the rattle when the cable rattle on the pylon wheels.

I could also hear the skis moving in the snow - swish, swish swish!! But dont ask me about direction of sound.

I also realised at one point my Uncle was talking to one of his friends in French. I had never heard a foreign language being spoken. However I did manage to pick out "deux semaines".

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Thursday 12th February 2009 - Swiss Alps here I come!

Today I flew to Switzerland to the Alps for my 6 day ski holiday. I flew from Birmingham International Airport and although I fly on planes regularly, I hadnt flown since getting my CI so I was alittle unsure of what to expect and how the pressure inside your ears when descending to land would affect the cochlear implant.

Inside the airport, when I got to security, I was not allowed to walk through the security thing as we are a cochlear implant user and so we could trigger the alarm on this machine. I had to go round and get searched by a hand held security thing. I always carry my cochlear implant id card with me. I got through security no problem. After wandering around the duty free I then made my way to the boarding gate for my flight to Geneva. I still cannot hear the tannoy in the airport, so still was completely reliant on the flight detail screens to keep me updated about my flight departure.

Finally I got onto the plane and sat down at my seat in my usual place which is in front of the wing, next to the window and on the left hand side. Why I always sit there, I do not know. But I do LOVE the window seat as I am a town planner, I LOVE on clear days being able to look out of the window and see England below and recognising exactly where we are, by looking at the road pattern, landmarks and location. Anyway whilst still docked to the boarding gate on the ground, I kept hearing this bing bong sound on the plane. It did start to annoy me alittle. But I ignored it. Then we were ready to go. As we were taxiing along the taxi way to get to the end of the runway for take off and at a different time to the emergency instructions, I noticed some kind of talking over the tannoy system. I could not make out a single word so had no idea what this was about so took no notice of it. We had to wait for this Irish plane coming in to land and using the runway before we could use the runway for take off. The Irish plane then landed and cleared the runway and off we went. The power and my goodness the NOISE that was made as the engines forceably went into intense acceleration as we careered down the runway and then climbed steeply up into the air leaving the houses and the field and power lines and cars getting smaller and smaller as we ascended. I found the plane far too loud. Mid flight when we were cruising above mid France somewhere I took my implant off. Phew - some peace and quiet!! Also at this point I also started talking to the lady sitting next to me who was also flying to Switzerland for a skiing holiday. I mentioned about the tannoy when we were taxiing along the taxi way to the end of the runway prior to take off. She never heard this tannoy. Then I realised I was picking up the radio communications between the cockpit and the control tower!!

Anyway we came down to land and the descent and ear popping moments that are widely experienced were no different to that pre implant days. There was no problem with flying with a cochlear implant at all apart from the plane being noisy, everything felt normal. One advantage, I do not get affected by temporarily hearing loss that some people experience after landing. With a cochlear implant, my hearing levels remain the same as whats normal for me regardless whether you are trying to balance the pressure in your ears or not after a flight.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Thursday 5th February 2009 - More snow!!

Today, we had more snow. I drove to work after the rush hour had finished in the hope that the roads were more clear.

Today I hear two new sounds. Whilst walking in the snow to my hairdressers at lunchtime there was a pigeon and I noticed that it made a cooing weird is that?

Today I felt really tired and I struggled alot more to understand what people were saying even though I was picking up the environmental sounds beautifully. My boss told me that it was cos I had been retuned yesterday and that it's normal for me to feel tired, struggle to follow speech more on the first few days following tuning so told me that its ok to feel like that and not to worry about it.

And then when I got home, I went into my house via the front door. It had been snowing lots and there was some water dripping from the snow on my gutter and as I stood by my front door outside I heard this tapping noise and I felt a wet drip on my head, then I realised I was hearing the water dripping onto the patio path beneath my feet :-)

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Wednesday 4th February 2009 - ONE year ANNIVERSARY o of my CI!!

Exactly a year ago I had my CI op and funnily enough I had to be back that the hospital again this morning to be retuned.

So at lunchtime I went to the pub with my work colleagues and had a great lunchtime and we talked about how much I had advanced with the CI in the past year. I explained about the huge jump in environmental sounds but still struggle with speech and I also explained about the quietest sounds I can hear with the CI.

Today as a result of retune, heard two new sounds - traffic lights beeping tells pedestrians to cross from INSIDE my car and heard some metal clanging from a building site some 500 metres away!!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Saturday 24th January 2009 - Fleet Pond, Hampshire

This weekend I went to stay with a good friend of mine from University. He is also profoundly deaf. On the Saturday we went for a walk around Fleet Pond and at first the walk was through some woodland and some streams nearby and I heard a whole lot of new sounds.

There was quite alot of birdsong. There were different types of bird song and also there was the nasty crow sound.

I could hear the water in the nearby stream. It was interesting how the water rushing sound different depending on the obstacles in the water affecting the flow of the water. Also when further around the pond, where the water from the lake lapped at the path we were walking on, I could hear the water lapping at the edge. I had never heard that before. Then there were some ducks, and for the first time ever I heard them quack!! It took a long time coming cos in the summer I couldn't hear them quack yet. There is the railway line next to the lake and I could hear the train as they rattle by and the planes going for Heathrow.

This evening. my friend and I went out for a meal with another CI user who use BSL and her fiancee. It was brilliant that we could meet up as we had so much to talk about and we shared the same ecperiences with our cochlear implants and we both have Freedoms :-)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Wednesday 21st January 2009 - The Table Tennis Match

After work today, I had a table tennis match where I play in the local District Table Tennis League. Everyone there is hearing and I am the only Deaf person there. Last year I used to dread the matches cos I cant hear anything and I can't hear the score being called out and when we had the breaks, everyone would chat and I would not have a clue what was being said.

I noticed something new tonight during the match. I started to be able to hear the score being called out - both when I was watching and when I was playing. The only time I could hear the score being called out depended on the person being a loud and clear speaker and when it was announced at a time when there was NO other sound happening at the same time (so for example - between the moment of the ping pong ball bouncing on the table or off the bats) but then even when the conditions were perfect I didnt hear it every time. I found it kinda helps being able to hear the score sometimes when you were playing as it helped remind you where you were in the game and you could keep your eyes fixed on the ball. However when we had the coffee break I was still completely unable to follow the conversation, but thanks goodness for my new mobile phone which is a Blackberry is able to receive my personal emails as well as my text messages, so I had loads of emails in my inbox so I used that time to reply to my emails :-)

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Saturday 17th January 2009 - CI users who use BSL social meet up

Today a group of us who are profoundly deaf from birth, grown up in the Deaf World and use BSL and all implanted as adults at my cochlear implant centre met up in a coffee bar. This was the first time all of the BSL cochlear implant users (except one) met up together from our CI Centre implanted as adults. We did also have someone with us who is thinking about having a cochlear implant who also grown up in the Deaf World so our social meet up was useful for her too. It was brilliant as we all realised that we all have exactly the same experience and we were able to share and compare notes and experiences and ask each other questions.. have you experienced this or that and also compare our speech and language session exercises and we all knew what the other was talking about, how long was it before you heard that etc etc. It was so confident building and it helped all of us although we were at different stages it really helped to understand what we were going through as we were coming from the same angle -been profoundly deaf all our lives and we all grew up in Deaf World and we couldn't stop signing/talking about our experiences. We are looking forward to our next meet up as we had plenty to talk about.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Tuesday 13th January 2009 - Cats are noisy!!

This morning I went back to the hospital for tuning. We sorted the tuning out and straight away - "ah that's better!" The sounds were balanced again and it became clear again. I had listening and speech practice afterwards and we practiced saying the "z". I have never ever been able to say that letter in my life!! Now I am just starting to.

I then went to work and noticed a different in the clarify of sound again in the office environment. No new sound or recognised phrases been picked up without lip-reading though.


Tonight after work I went to a friend's house for tea and good chat to catch up with the gossip and news. In fact the whole family are very good friends of mine and they have four daughters and two of them are profoundly deaf and have cochlear implants. Both of the deaf daughters are few years younger than me and they have had their cochlear implant for 8 years. We had a lovely meal in their kitchen and then suddenley whilst we were talking there was this noise I had never ever heard before.. it was the cat!! It miaowed!! Wow!! They can be noisy!!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Monday 12th January 2009 - Skiing at Milton Keynes

Today I had booked the day off work and went skiing at the Sno dome in Milton Keynes with a deaf friend. We were both skiing at the sno dome last night too. We had a brilliant time and I could hear the snow under my skis and when I was going up the slope on the ski lift (button lift) I was aware of music playing in the background. I hardly fall whilst skiing, but today I fell!! Ouch!! It was because there was suddenly an ice patch and then some very deep snow immediately afterwards! My cochlear implant was fine, it was under my helmet and protected. After I had lunch with a deaf friend, I then got a text from my Uncle confirming my skiing holiday to Switzerland was going ahead. I then had to dash home to book my flights. I got my flights booked.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Saturday 10th January 2009 - The Grand Cafe

Today I went and had a lovely cooked breakfast in the same cafe that I went to with my family just after my switch on of my CI. This was the first time that I had been back in this cafe and I noticed a MASSIVE difference!! I remember on switch on day (Monday 3rd March 2008) when I went into this cafe, I could not hear anything, although I was aware of a vibration when my knife and fork made contact with the plate. Today I noticed all sorts of sounds. There was the cutlery on plates, glasses clunking over at the bar, music playing in the background, general chatter and the whooshing sound coming from the coffee machine when it steams. I never heard any of that when I went in on switch on day.. made me realised how far I had come!!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Friday 9th January 2009 - Pizza Express

Tonight after work I went out for a meal with a Deaf friend (also a BSL user and has a cochlear implant). We went and ate in Pizza Express. I noticed that my CI was starting to go out of tune... some sounds were getting quieter (the low frequency ones) and the high frequency ones were getting louder. In Pizza Express sometimes the sound of clanging cutlery was soo loud. Ouch. I thought well, I am not going to worry about it, I have a tuning on Tuesday, I will manage until then.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Thursday 8th January 2009 - Dying Nokia Communicator, hello Blackberry !

Yesterday my mobile phone started playing up, it had stopped receiving text messages. So I went to my mobile phone store and spoke to them about what to do as I am heavily dependent on text messaging with being profoundly deaf. I was worried about communication to the staff there in the store. Anyway i went and explained that I am profoundly deaf and that they need to look at me when talk. They did just that and the guy was brilliant and the CI really made it easier to lip-read him. I couldnt believe that he was easy to follow as he looked at me and spoke clearly and if I didnt understand he wrote down. Anyway my mobile had stopped receiving texts for no reason and so I needed a new handset, but they dont do Nokia Communicators anymore. I told them that I rely on text messaging and I need email and internet on the move. I managed to get a really good deal and ended up getting a blackberry for the same price I have been paying monthly on my old contract. Brilliant.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Monday 5th January 2009 - noise in my car

Today I went back to work and had a VERY early start as I had to be at work by 9am and I was commuting from Worcester in the snow. I left my parents house at 6.30am to get back to the South of England.

It was a snowy and icy start. But the roads were clear. I noticed something that started as I turned out of my parents drive. Everytime I steered right there was this "clinking" sound. I could not work out what it was and I was worried that there might be something wrong with the car. I headed down the motorways for my 2 hour journey and there was no clink sound as I was driving straight. Just as I came off the motorway for the last leg of the journey to work (20mins drive on A road) and clink started again and I ran out of screen wash and I really needed to refill it. So I stopped at a garage to refill the screen wash and then I saw the very thing that was causing the clink sound every time I steered right. On the floor of the passenger side were two de-icer cans side by side. Ah that's it.. as I turned right gravity forced them together hence the clinking sound. I moved one of the cans and the sound did not come back again. Phew! Wasn't the car then.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year 2009

We had a fairly quiet day at home as we all had a very late night last night. No new sounds today that I am aware of except the TV and the hi fi are very loud.

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Year's Eve 2008

Last day of this great year!!

I went for coffee with my teacher of the Deaf who was my teacher from when I was 2 years old until 11 years old and since then we have kept in touch as good friends. At lunchtime we went to the pub and had a lovely meal.

This evening I went to my local Deaf Club and it was nice to see my friends there again. We had to wear fancy dress and over the last few days I had been making my fancy dress costume as a clockwork mouse. I didn't win though. But we had a great evening and I spent the first few moments of 2009 stamping on balloons bursting them as we cheered the New Year in. There was another man who is a regular member at the Deaf Club whom I have seen there for years who has a cochlear implant and he had his for 12 years. I had never really spoken to him before and now that I have been implanted we both had a really good chat tonight in BSL comparing our cochlear implant experiences and with his cochlear implant, he remains very active in the Deaf World and Deaf Community like me. Got home at 3am!!

I have a few notes to say about 2008:

2008 - Wow!! What a year of change!! May the positive journey with the CI continue long into 2009.

I find it funny commenting on 2008. I remember Christmas Eve 2007 was when I had received the news that my CI op was going ahead and scheduled for 4th February was confirmed. I remember spending last Christmas and New Year being excited about the fact that I was getting cochlear implanted whilst at the same I was alittle nervous about the operation as I don't like hosptials (because I am very squeamish) and I can't stand being out of action. I have been able to relax this Christmas as everything is going well with the CI.

As I said before in my post of 13th December 2008, I mentioned that, apart from the brilliant support of my Cochlear implant centre, my Mum and my hearing friends and my Deaf friends, I had sort of been on my own from March to July trying to adjust to the cochlear implant with limited support of other adult cochlear implant users (implanted as adults). It was only in July that I started meeting other cochlear implanted adults (implanted as adults) on a regular basis. I met another Deaf CI user who grew up in the Deaf World and used BSL with whom I have regular contact. She gives me good support and continues to support me now and we have become really good friends and we now meet up on a regular basis as we live quite near. Since November, I have met many more Deaf people (BSL users as well as non BSL users) who have grown up with deafness and then implanted as adults whom I have become good friends with too and these are developing all the time. Before July I had to rely solely on the support from my CI centre, my colleagues and hearing friends who help me with the listening practices and my Mum and all of my Deaf and hearing friends with the struggles of adjusting to the world of sound when coming from silent world. They still continue to support me now.

There seems to be (maybe I am wrong) but there seem to be lots of resources and support for Deaf children with cochlear implants. I have noticed that the needs of some deafened people seem to differ to those who are born deaf / grown up deaf in making sense of speech with cochlear implants. Those with more memory of speech and had the ability to comprehend speech pre implant seem to comprehend speech better and alot quicker with their cochlear implants than people like me who were born deaf and never been able to comprehend speech without lip-reading.

I have been made more aware of hearing culture. For those of us who use British Sign Language (BSL) like myself and coming from the Deaf World, we have absorbed and grown up with Deaf Culture and it was for me quite hard work trying to make sense of the hearing world and its hearing culture. From a cultural perspective, meeting more people who have grown up as Deaf BSL users in the Deaf Community implanted as adults and who are still just as involved in the Deaf World who has come through that adjustment or who are still adjusting has really helped my confidence and helped me to understand the processes and the changes I am going through and know that everything I am going through with the CI bad and good are perfectly normal for our group of CI users. It is also good to compare and share our experiences with those who have grown up deaf in the hearing world. It is confidence boosting as we are all in the same boat, share similar experiences, we are not alone and can support each other along the way. Having a cochlear implant does not change who I am, it is just to make life easier for me in the hearing world where I work and my career progression, communicating with my family, communicating with the public and to improve my health and safety in the outdoors and my enjoyment of music. Afterall, its like an extra powerful hearing aid and therefore does not change my preferred method of communication which is BSL and my Deaf Identity. I like to make the most of both worlds - the Deaf World and the hearing world.

I am amazed that there is suddenly a big group of us who have grown up with deafness (BSL users and non BSL users) who have been implanted during the last year and lots of prospective ones too. I am also not the only BSL user who has been deaf from birth who has been implanted as an adult either - and I am amazed here that there are more and more of us BSL users in the Deaf Community considering cochlear implants and being implanted as some of us used to be against cochlear implants full stop (me included). A greater awareness of the needs and cochlear implant experience of all those who have grown up as D/deaf who have been cochlear implanted as adults is now starting to develop as cochlear implantation also seem to be spreading amongst the Deaf Community and it is good that their Deaf identity and use of BSL has been retained. I have several signing Deaf friends (adults) who are now thinking of having cochlear implants and have been asking me loads of questions on what is it like to have a cochlear implant. I shall refer them to my blog.

The staff at my cochlear implant centre and those at the Ear Foundation are fantastic and they really listen to you when you need advice and they give you really good advice or put you in the right direction to get the support you need. Whenever I have problems with my Cochlear Implant and its processor and accessories like batteries, my cochlear implant centre are brilliant at getting me seen very quickly to help sort out problems out very quickly and I am so thankful for everything that they have done for me including all the medical stuff (operation), technical (tuning and CI processor accessories) and for the speech and language side of things as well as support and guidance. And I am also really thankful to my friends who help me with listening practice in the evenings and am really thankful for the support and encouragement that all my friends give as well as my Mother when the going was tough. My Mum told me to explain to people who don't know why I have difficulty comprehending speech is to tell them that what I hear of people speaking sounds like a foreign language that one doesn't understand.

As a result I am feeling so much happier and positive with my CI, and as I have been switched on now for 10 months, it is REALLY improving now since November. I know exactly where I stand now with my CI, music is so much better its beyond belief and I hear so many environmental sounds and its so nice to know about some of the sounds in the environment although I still get confused with some of them and I still can't hear everything as this is all still developing. I still cannot follow speech in groups and still need to lipread when communicating on a one to one basis in an everyday environment. However although communication with lipreading on a one to one basis has improved, groups chats and communicating in noisy environments are still impossible so I keep my expectations low here as these are alot harder.

Roll on 2009 for further improvements and another successful year.

Happy New Year to you all!!

p.s. No photos to show you this Christmas I'm afraid - my camera broke 2 weeks before Christmas - too late to ask Father Christmas for a new one!!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Monday 29th December 2008 - a quiet day

We had a quiet day staying at my parents house. I spent most of the day on my lap top catching up with my blogs, emails and chatting to my friends on MSN in the kitchen.

A few new things I have noticed: The TV in my parents' living room is really really loud and I am in the kitchen which is 2 rooms away!! I couldn't believe it. I asked my mum, is it me or the TV? Mum said its the TV as Dad is going deaf and has the volume right up to near the end. It was funny me commenting on the volume of the TV as I would never have noticed before. I said to Mum that Dad needs to get a hearing aid rather than deafen the rest of the family!! Also later on in the day, my Dad was on the phone and he was really talking loudly down that - I couldn't believe it!! I can also hear new sounds in the house - the central heating tapping the pipes :-)

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Sunday 28th December 2008 - Meeting my Dad's brother

Today we met my Dad's brother and his wife and we went for a really nice meal. It was lovely to see them again, and although I could not follow conversation in the group, it was easier to follow on a one to one. I notice that my Uncle has a pretty strong South Wales accent.

Later that evening I went to one of my friends houses and we played games all evening and had a great time.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Boxing Day 2008 - On the Malverns

It was a jolly chilly day, but we had a lovely walk on the south end of the Malvern Hills from Castlemorton up to the oblelisk past Gullet Quarry. I could hear a few birds that were around and people talking as we past them (not the words) and could hear the crunching sound from the leaves and stones and twigs as we walked on them. My sister and my mum played a game like rounders using a twig and a stone and from 15 metres away I could hear the stone being hit by the twig.

Afterwards we went to a local pub for a drink and for some chips. They had a log fire going and i could hear the snapping of the wood in the fire.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Christmas Day 2008 - With the family

Christmas Day this year was just the four of us at my parents in Worcester. We had a great day with opening presents, eating, drinking with quiet music in the background. I could hear the music in the background quite well. And although I still can't communicate as a group, one to one communication was easier.

I have been quite lucky with presents this year, I got loads of stuff including a pair of Salomon ski boots, books on the London Underground, some CDs I wanted, the Super Mario Bros Ninetendo game etc.

A great day but I didnt hear the bells on the Cathedral though??

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas Eve 2008 - Home and Worcester Cathedral

After work today, some friends and I from work played Bop it after the pub. One of my friends and I have been playing Bop it in the evenings as part of listening practice with the cochlear implant as it was recommended by another friend who also has her cochlear implant at about the same time as me. I was planning to buy Bop it a few years back but didn't as i realised I wouldn't be able to hear it. After practising, I can now tell when the voice command says Bop it, pull it and spin it... but I cannot get the rest and get incredibly confused with flick it and twist it and pass it and bop it, so still need my hearing friends to help point at which one of those the voice command is saying.

Tonight I drove to my parents to Worcester for the Christmas holidays. I was quite looking forward to it as this would be the first time that we are all at home as a foursome (my sister came to Worcester too) since improvements has occured with the cochlear implant. I was interested to see how much more would I be able to pick up from communication.

We had a nice meal together and mulled wine before going to the Cathedral for the Midnight service. I still can't follow the family chat, but I had noticed that they were relaying and helping me out more as they found it easier to talk to me one to one.

We went to the Cathedral and I was looking forward to this too, as this is a family tradition and we have been doing this for years. I only started asking the Cathedral to book me a sign language interpreter for these services 3 years ago after years of just sitting there not being able to follow the service and therefore not being able to take part. The cathedral has booked me the same sign language interpreter again and it was a lovely service and I was able to take part fully. I was also interested to find what new sounds there would be tonight.

And there were... although I still relied on the BSL interpreter to interpret all the spoken stuff as I still can't make sense of those with the implant. However, I could hear the organ and was very interested to hear how complex it sounded with all the different frequencies playing at the same time. Also it was interesing to hear the choir and to hear the treble and the bass and the harmony going on between the two at the same time - I had never noticed that before either. It was also certainly alot easier to sign along to the carols with being able to hear the carols. Two of the carols that was sung were "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "It came upon the Midnight Clear" and that along with "Little Donkey" (which wasnt sung at the Cathedral of course) are my fav Christmas carols this year.

An interesting experience.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Tuesday 23rd December 2008 - A sad day apart from the brass band

Found out today that one of my close friends who I went to North Wales with died yesterday from breast cancer. I was so sad and shocked as I saw her last on Friday night (19th December) and she was fine and it was rather sudden downhill decline.

On a brighter note, tonight after work, I went to Tesco again and with tomorrow being Christmas Eve, I had to park my car a fair distance from the store entrance. From my car I noticed that I could hear a brass instrument and a brass band playing some Christmas carols and it sounded like "While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night". I could not work out where the band was as I could not see them. Anyway I walked closer to the store and found the brass band playing in the porch at the store's entrance.. I could not believe that I heard the brass band from the other side of the car park!! Wow!!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Friday 19th December 2008 - Peter Rabbit puts on his Christmas bells badge

I have this adorable toy rabbit called Peter Rabbit who is a puppet and he goes nearly everywhere with me and is well loved by myself, some members of my family (my Mum and my Sister) and alot of my friends.

Every year since Christmas 2006 one of my friends put this badge of Christmas bells on his blue jacket and he did the same again this year. I have never heard the bells. This year I heard the bells for the first time and it is pretty noisy. I now have to tell Peter Rabbit to be quiet.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Sunday 14th December 2008 - Family Christmas Party

Every year my Mum's side of the family host a family Christmas Party where we all get together, catch up with news, eat, drink, play games and exchange presents. Today we had another one of these.

As communication for me is so difficult I usually stay with my Mum as she helps translates for me. Today was different. This is the first time I was there with my Cochlear Implant. People were interested to hear how I was getting on. Then we had to play some games and we had to team up with someone who we didn't come in the same car as. I went with my Mum's older brother. And to my amazement, I found that I could communicate with him no problem with lip-read of course. I couldn't believe it, I could never talk to him in as much detail before and this was the first time I could have really good deep conversations with him. As communication was good, we paired up really well in the Christmas games. This has increased my confidence, and I found myself as the party went on, talking to other members of the family on a one to one basis alot more independently and without relying on my Mum. I could not believe it. Everyone was really pleased.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Saturday 13th December 2008 - The Ear Foundation Christmas Party

I went along to the Ear Foundation Christmas Party and had a brilliant time. I met some of my friends who I speak to regularly on MSN, met some of the Ear Foundation Staff and made some more new friends. I find it very interesting to see a large number of born deaf, grown up deaf suddenly be implanted this year including myself and most of us are in our 20s and 30s. We all find that we have similar experience with our cochlear implants as most of us have similar backgrounds and its so good to support one another and compare notes. Apart from the brilliant support of my CI centre, my Mum, my hearing friends and my Deaf friends, I had been sort of on my own from March to July as I didn't really know another Cochlear Implant user with a similar background as me (born deaf and implanted as an adult) who I could meet up with and speak to on a regular basis to compare notes apart from one person who I am becoming friends with who was implanted at my CI centre the week before me and another friend who is the husband of a work friend.

We had a great time together at the party, great to see some of the staff too and enjoyed the quiz and trying to sign Twelve days of Christmas. Well done and thanks to Abi, Katie and Dave who organised it.

There was a new sound coming back to Worcester on the train from Birmingham New Street. I had to change trains at Birmingham New Street. Whilst walking above the platforms to change trains I notice a beep beep sound kept happening all over the place. I have never noticed it before. Then after a while I realised it was text messages arriving in people's mobile phones!! I couldn't believe it. Then once I got on the Worcester train, I sat at a table seat where there was a group of three women who had been shopping together. Anyway they were talking away. I thought I'd use this as an opportunity for group talk practice where it didn't matter if I couldn't follow. I tried to lip-read the woman sitting directly opposite me and I managed to get a few words. But I couldn't get what the other two woman were saying, but I picked up that the woman opposite me was talking about a school using a clip from the Blackadder comedy programme to illustrate something as part of a history lesson and said that it was a good idea to use it.

That night when I got home, my Mum's middle brother and his wife was there and we had a lovely meal together. I still couldn't follow the conversation so still relied on my Mum to translate for me. I noticed my Dad started to help me out too!!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Thursday 11th December 2008 - What's that noise?

This evening I was at home sorting things out getting ready for going to my parents at the weekend. Earlier in the evening I went up to my bedroom and noticed this really nice electronic high frequency melody sound. I couldn't work out what it was? I thought it was next door's young daughter playing an electronic musical instrument and practising. I wasn't bothered by it so I ignored it. I noticed that I could only hear that sound in my bedroom and not downstairs.

About half an hour I went back to my bedroom to collect something and the sound was still there, but again I ignored it and went back downstairs.

Much later about 12.30am I went back to my bedroom to get ready for bed. I note on returning to my bedroom the sound was still there!! I thought "Gosh - I would have thought she's be tired of practising by now" and thought it was strange that she could be practising at this time of night. Then I decided to glance around my bedroom to see if there was anything that could make that sort of noise and I could not think what in here would make that noise..... then I saw it!.... my hearing aid for my left ear. I had taken it out and placed it on my bedside table. I went over to it to see if it was switched on... and it was!!!! As soon as I switched it off, the sound stopped - ah that is what it was!!!!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Sunday 8th December 2008 - waiting at the bus stop

I was waiting for a bus from the town centre to get my back to my car at a car park as I had to go to a local village hall to help out at the local Deaf Children's Society Christmas Party. The bus was meant to come every 20 minutes and by now we had all been waiting for 40 minutes and the weather was so bitterly cold and we were starting to moan to each other about the unreliability of the buses. Three buses of the same number came by and not ours, so I started chatting to the woman behind me and we were both saying "There's goes another one and where's ours?" I noticed that when she spoke and as long as I could lip-read her, I understood her perfectly well - I was shocked.. I couldn't have done that a few weeks ago.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Saturday 7th December 2008 - Theatre and Christmas meal

This afternoon, I went to a theatre to watch a signed interpreted performance of Hansel and Gretel with some Deaf Children. It was a brilliant performance and I really noticed the improvements in the sound quality. The music sounded brilliant and with lip-reading I could just about lip-read 50% the words of the songs they sang, but for the bits I missed I watched the interpreter. But as for the dialogue, I could hear the voices but I still relied on the BSL interpreter even though every now and again, I might get the odd word through hearing, but that was only the odd word every 10 minutes or so.

Some of us from the South of England with cochlear implants were meant to meet up in a pub tonight for our Christmas meal. There was going to be about 5 of us, but two had to cancel due to illness. The three of us continued to meet and had a lovely evening together and thoroughly enjoyed the pub's Christmassy atmosphere and the food. We met near Henley on Thames. But driving home this night, we had to take care driving as the temperatures dropped to minus 3 degrees celcius - brrrr!!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Monday 1st December 2008 - Christmas Music - A Magical Experience!!

I couldn't wait to listen to my Christmas music CDs with my Cochlear Implant. So on Sunday 30th November I stayed up til midnight when the clocks struck for 1st December. I was in my living room on my lap top chatting to one of my CI friends on MSN. We were both doing the same thing. I then put my Christmas CD on in my hi-fi and played some of the familar songs like Mary's Boy Child, Do they Know its Christmas etc goodness, the music sounds SOOOOO different!! It was sooo much better, it was so full of body and it was so crystal clear - AMAZING!! I really love my music now through my implant and then I decided to compare the sound of the music between my CI ear and my hearing aid ear. In the middle of a song, as soon as I removed the implant, and just heard the music with my hearing aid, there was a MASSIVE difference!! A really really HUGE chunk of sound including the vocal had suddenly disappeared and I was just left with the one note - the lowest bass note that was so unclear and meant nothing!! Then I put the implant back on and the rest of the sound came back and the vocal came back. It was like with the hearing aid I only heard 5% of the music and with the implant it increases what I hear of the music up to 60% as well as giving me some clarity (not enough to distunguish the words of the vocals though). I was shocked. Made me realised - how little I heard through my hearing aids and then I wondered how on earth did I get this far in life with hearing so little from my hearing aids? I suppose I didn't know what I was missing at the time!! Now I want my other ear implanted!!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Thursday 20th November 2008 - an emergency retune

I went back to the CI centre this morning for an urgent retune. This time I was tuned from a different computer and this time we had NO problems with the tuning and we were able to do all the electrodes and had a smooth sweep of the electrodes at the end to make sure all the sound levels were ok. Ah - that was soooo much better - phew and the sounds were comfortable again at all levels (as turning down the volume and the senstivity meant the low frequencies became alot quieter too). The sound got clearer and clearer as the day went on :-)

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Wednesday 19th November 2008 - no improvement

There was still no improvement and the sound was becoming more unbearable and distorted throught the CI. I decided to ring the CI centre - they were not surprised as they know I had problems with the tuning last week. However, they had found out what had caused the problem to the tuning - the computer was faulty. Luckily they had a free appointment slot first thing tomorrow morning, so I am booked to go then.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Monday 17th November 2008 - sounds too loud

Over the weekend, I thought the CI was ok, apart from that man shouting down the phone in the pub last night. Then today at lunchtime as I was walking through the shopping centre, I notice that the sound through the CI was starting to change. Certain high frequency sounds started to become far far too loud and really hurt my ear... especially those of screaming children and plastic bags. Those sounds started to become unbearable that I had to turn the volume and the sensitivity down on my processor. I'd thought I'd give it a few days before I ring the CI centre to see if it improves.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sunday 16th November 2008 - In the pub

This evening I went to a pub in a local village with a Deaf friend. We were sitting by the fire, signing away and enjoying our drink. Then I could hear this man's voice really loud which seemed to jump down my ear. I realised that it was coming from the man on the next table as he was speaking to someone down his phone.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Friday 14th November 2008 - Table tennis CI moment

Tonight I went along to one of my Friday nights table tennis practice nights as I play in the local team. Everyone there are all hearing. Anyway, I had been playing for a while and then I had a break. Whilst I was sitting down drinking my bottled water, I noticed that two of the men were standing up and talking to each other nearby. I decided to use this as an opportunity to see how much I could pick up from their conversation. I noticed that I could hear the ping pong balls bouncing on the tables (there were 7 tables in this hall) and overriding this I could hear a man's voice talking. I couldn't understand the words though. The voice belonged to the men standing near me as they spoke in turn. I tried to lip-read them and to my surprise I found that I could pick up some words. They spoke about needing to pay £5 for something. That was the only information I was able to pick up, I couldn't get the rest of the detail though.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Tuesday 11th November 2008 - A bad Tuning session

I went for my routine tuning session this morning. This morning all the tuning for the quiet sounds went well and had the beeps for those no problem. Then we started doing the beeps for the loud sounds to work out where my maximum thresholds were. We started doing the first few electrodes and these were fine and then the ones following were incomplete or clicked instead. We thought that was bizarre so we tried again and we got the same effect again. Then when I got switched on whilst still connected to the PC, it didn't sound right at all. Everything sounded the same. We tried a different processor and we got exactly the same effect then. So we kept my processor and disconnected it from the PC and it sounded fine. So we thought we'd leave it as that as it sounded ok whilst disconnected from the computer.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Saturday 8th November 2008 - Deaf Children Society event and Firework night

This afternoon, I helped out at my local Deaf Children Society event at the local Deaf Club. I had to do some face painting which was an interesting challenge. It was the first time I helped out and I was surprised to see my CI surgeon there later. It was good to see him there. Later I was helping serving drinks and then I noticed a new sound. I heard "bang..bang..bang" from around the corner. I wondered what on earth that was. Later I realised it was balloons being popped. I couldn't believe it!!

This evening I went to the local Round Table Bonfire and Fireworks display. I don't usually go to these, but as this is the first year with the cochlear implant, I made an extra effort to go as I wanted to see what the fireworks sounded like.

I went with a family who I am very good friends with and they have a profoundly deaf daughter who has the same implant as me and uses BSL. We got as far as we could get through the crowds to be as close to the front as we could. Then we waited for the firework display to start. Then they started. There was this bang and a whoosh and a shattering sound as a firework went up into the sky and exploded into colourful displays. I was shocked to hear that they make so much noise. They make a popping sound as they come out of the ground, then a whoosh or a eeeeeeeek sound as they go up and then pop bang bang brissshhhhhh when they explode in the sky. I was so shocked. I learnt alot this evening.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Saturday 1st November 2008 - The Ear Foundation

I drove up to Nottingham again today to go to The Ear Foundation Open Day. This was a great day. There was alot more people and I made some new friends. In the morning we went to two sessions, one for advice on communication and the other was technology. I was able to talk to a member of staff there about my bad experience the day before where at work, when we went for lunchtime drinks. During that lunchtime drink I didn't have an interpreter and it was an impossible environment for me to communicate in. I felt so frustrated with not being able to pick up one single word that I decided to played a game quietly on my mobile to try and divert my focus away from my frustration of not being able to join in. That didn't work as I could then hear them all laughing as they were sharing same jokes, and tears began to fill my eyes as I was completely unable to be part of this, no matter how hard I tried, and the harder I tried to follow, the more upset I got as I just couldn't follow at all - even on a one to one basis when someone tried to tell me what the topic was. The trouble with this pub was that it was very dark and there was an awful lot of background noise and then you have the group talk which is also an impossible communicative environment for us. Us cochlear implant users cannot separate background noise from the noise we want to focus on. One of my colleagues realised I was upset, so we went away from the group and went for a walk around town. She made me feel better and began to better understand my position in the pub. Anyway as I explained my experience to this member of staff at the Ear Foundation to get some advice on how to deal with these situations, she told me that this is a VERY common experience for cochlear implant users and that they are very very hard and virtually impossible environments for us and that we still need commmunication support in these situations.

In the afternoon at the Ear Foundation we had an interesting talk from a man from Amercia called Geoff Plant. He came to talk to us about music. What I found most interesting is the differences in enjoyment of music pre and post implant for those born hearing and for those born deaf. It was noticed that the born hearing / grown up hearing CI users enjoyed music better before their implants and that music now sound not as good whereas for the born deaf / grown up deaf group, our experience of music has greatly improved and therefore is so much more enjoyable.

I made some new friends this afternoon with others with a similar background to deafness as me and we exchanged email addresses and mobile numbers so that we can talk regularly on MSN and they also told me about CIUG yahoo group which are very places of support to compare notes in our experiences and cochlear implant journeys. Tonight I then drove from Nottingham down to London to visit my sister.