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.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Sunday 19th October 2008 - My CI centre support group

This afternoon we met up in the CI centre for our get together. All the staff were there including my CI surgeon who had retired this Summer. It was great for all of us together and to catch up and meet new people and chat in a informal setting. The staff and the leader of our group has provided drinks and cakes for us. Whilst I was there, I was shocked to see one of my Deaf friends there who I know quite well for a few years. I hadn't seen him for a while, but I know last time we met, I was still undergoing my CI assessment and he had been assessed and was suitable but wanted to put it on one side for a while. So I was wondering why he was at our social. My friend saw me and we both said Hi (he is a BSL user too and we were the only BSL users there) and embraced each other in front of our retired CI surgeon and our CI audiologist. Our retired surgeon and our CI audiologist were watching us as we greeted each other and asked each other why we were both there. We both turned to show each other our cochlear implants, I was shocked that he has one and he was shocked that I had one. We both didn't know that each other had actually gone for the op. Our CI audiologist and retired CI surgeon (who operated on both of us) asked us if we knew each other and we both said yes, we know each other quite well. Then my friend and I started talking to our CI audiologist and comparing notes of our experience at switch on. Our CI audiologist had switched us both on, and we both compared notes of our switch on experience and our experience since. It was a very interesting chat and we had similar experiences. My friend like me, is also profoundly deaf from birth hence our similar experiences in our cochlear implant journeys. Our CI audiologist found this very interesting to hear.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Saturday 11th October 2008 - Theme parks

Today was a mad day. I was meeting a friend at Chessington World of Adventures, but before that, I had to dashed to my opticians in Hagley before going there for 11am. I managed it. This was the first time I went back on the theme park rides. I am a great fan of theme park rides. I go on all the big rollercoasters and certainly love Alton Towers. Since I had my CI, I haven't been back on the theme park rides is the first day back on them. I was alittle apprehensive of going back onto the big rollercoaster type rides that I love as I was worried about dislodging the internal parts of the CI. I went ahead anyway as I have heard of loads of CI users go on fast rollercoasters. I went on Vampire and this is the fastest and my favourite ride at Chessington and when the harness thing came down I realise that if gravity is suddenly forced my head to the right, I would hit my implant area on the harness, so I stuck my head out of the harness during the ride and it was fine. I took the external part off though. And boy I enjoyed the ride. When I came off, I quickly put the processor back on and was relieved that it was all ok. I went back on Vampire again and went on at the back which was alot more thrilling - YAY!! When I was standing in the queue for some of these rides, I could hear the rides going past me and hear all the people screaming. The sound of the screaming was interesting, they were at different levels, and different sounds - I never noticed that before. I went on loads of other rides at the theme park and we had a brilliant day and it was great to be back on the rollercoasters again and enjoy them just as much as before.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Friday 10th October 2008 - first Autumn sounds

Today I went out on a walk in the countryside and have noticed more new sounds. The sounds of birds were still there, and whilst walking through this field, I could hear the bells chiming on the hour from the church spire of the nearby village. I could also hear the trains rattling on the tracks on a railway line in the distance. I couldn't believe it!! My CI has certainly making more and more of a difference to my experience of the countryside. Later on, we were walking along a footpath towards the village and I noticed another new sound. It was the crispy autumn leaves crunching under my feet!! WOW - I had never experienced that before :-)

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Sunday 28th September 2008 - buying a ski helmet

I am now skiing on a regular basis at the Milton Keynes snowdome. They provide me with a BSL interpreter for my ski lessons and I am really picking up fast how to ski. As a result of having a cochlear implant, the British Cochlear Implant Group recommends wearing a ski helmet when skiing to protect the cochlear implant and the implanted area. So that evening before I went skiing, I went into Ellis Brighams which is the ski and snowboard shop next door to sort out a helmet for myself. I prefer makes like Salomon or Scott. They had a Salomon helmet but it didn't fit me, so I have bought another good make called Protec ski helmet and that one fits me perfectly on my head and fits comfortably over my cochlear implant and my hearing aid. The magnet stays on!! I look cool with the helmet on and it does not interfere with my cochlear implant at all.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Saturday 20th September 2008 - Mum's birthday

I went home this weekend as it was Mum's birthday. My sister also managed to get home too. We went to a lovely restaurant by the river in Worcester which was also quite a posh restaurant. I still struggled to follow the conversation around the table so my Mum helped me out as usual.

It was also a glorious day, it was sunny and it was nice and warm. Walking home from the restaurant we all walked through Cripplegate Park which was also the park where our parents used to take us when we were kids so that we could go on the slide, swings and rocking horse. Mum and Dad walked together whilst me and my sister walked ahead. We came across the entrance to the playground and we said to each other "Let's go on the swings - we hadn't done this for years!!" So we ran into the playground and got on the swings. It was great, and we raced to see who could get the highest on the swings. This was the first time I had been on the swings with my cochlear implant. And I had noticed a difference. I could hear the swings, the metal squeaking as we changed direction. That was interesting and we had a great time.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Saturday 13th September 2008 - BBC Proms in the Park

My sister as a present to me for going through my Cochlear Implant operation and experience kindly bought us tickets to go and see BBC Proms in the Park at Hyde Park in London and my.. this was an awesome experience.

We got off the tube at Oxford Circus, got our picnic from John Lewis Waitrose on Oxford Street and then made our way to the Marble Arch entrance to Hyde Park. It was a beautiful day, there was clear sunny skies and it was quite warm. We had to wait in a long queue before we could enter the park. Finally we got in and found ourselves an area to sit in where we could see the stage. Once we had found our place, I went off and got us a joker hat and the Union Jack flag to wave for the Patriotic music like Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia.

There was a series of band including the Abba Tribute band playing, I knew some of the songs, but I didn't have the words. I found them on the internet via my mobile and then my sister mouthed the words so that I could lip-read her so that I knew where we were. I could hear the music, but I was at the stage where music was still being worked on. However.. later on a violinist came on (forgotten his name) and he played really really fast and I could hear him really well with the implant. I found the higher frequency instruments easier and clearer to hear. Aled Jones and Terry Wogan presented the show, but I couldn't understand what they were saying so my sister translated. But it was a good listening experience and the atmosphere was so amazing as we had clear skies, a beautiful sunset and it was nice and warm. It couldn't be better.

Then at the end of the evening, we had the Patriotic stuff, and I particularly enjoyed taking part in Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia as we had the words and we were waving the flag. It was so British and so good to be part of this and it sent a great feeling to be there and be part of it.

Thanks sister for a brilliant and magical night.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Sunday 24th August 2008 - Climbing Snowdon

Had an interesting experience whilst climbing Snowdon. I could hear the stream flowing down waterfalls on the mountainside and I could hear a plane above and its sound effect echoeing around mountains. I could hear the Mountain railway coming up the mountain – the engine, puffing of its steam and clinking of the wheels on the rails and the rack and pinion and from the distance. I couldn't believe how far away the sounds the CI can pick up.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Saturday 23rd August 2008 - The Slate Caverns

I felt so annoyed today. A deaf friend and I went to a very popular Slate Caverns Museum in North Wales and went on guided tours and found out they provide NO communication support for profoundly deaf people whatsoever!! Not even a written transcript of the guided tours. So we were completely unable to get information. The same goes for the deep mine tour – there was a loudspeaker explaining the scene in each chamber, but I was unable to understand the words. I had to spend £22 on books to tell me what the guides were saying – STUPID MUSEUM.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Tuesday 19th August 2008 - following a talk

During the afternoon there was a presentation to go to regarding the new head of department. I had BSL interpreter, but the new head of department was so clear, perfect pacing and easy to lip-read and with the FM, he was easy to understand. I still watched my interpreter as I couldn't pick everything that was being said, but where I did, I knew what was coming next from the interpreter. But then when other people spoke, I couldn’t follow so relied completely on my BSL interpreter.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Friday 15th August 2008 - new sounds

Two new sounds came today. One was the ringing of the till when a till becomes available at the express tills in M and S. I noticed this ‘ping’ happened at the same time the number of the next free till was displayed on the board above me. I never knew they made a sound at the same time.

Also as I went to do some photocopying today, I heard for the first time the photocopier made a series of beeping noises when it had completed the copying. That’s new!!

However, during lunch time a group of colleagues were talking socially and I couldn’t follow. To save my frustration I took the implant off. This is the one area where I struggle.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Thursday 14th August 2008 - Clicking sound

New sound today – clicking from my ipod as I scrolled through the song list. Never noticed that before.

Joined the online Cochlear Implant community chat on this evening to share experiences with CI and to get some advice and tips on how to cope with groups of hearing people talking cos this is my only real area of difficulty that gets me down.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Sunday 10th August 2008 - On the ski slopes

My first skiing lesson. It went really well and I had a BSL interpreter. I noticed that the cochlear implanted helped me on the slopes. I could hear the spray of the snow beneath my skis.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Wednesday 6th August 2008 - An understanding came

I had another one of those CI negative days. I could not understand what the guy was saying to me at the Toyota garage when I took my car in to be serviced and that I had to ask him again and again to repeat for me. Also a reception desk where the staff are usually so deaf aware, didn’t look at me when they spoke to me and I didn’t understand what she was saying so had to ask her to repeat several times as she repeated whilst still looking down and then she realised she was meant to look at me and then I was then able to understand her. I felt frustrated with the hearing world today. Why does the hearing world today feel they expect me to follow everything that is being said and I don’t need to lip-read anymore. I feel as though I am banging my head against a brick wall with some people over this and the constant need to remind some people that although I am hearing quite a bit of environmental sounds, I still CANNOT follow speech still. In frustration I refused to wear the CI all morning. Then something suddenly clicked. An understanding came. I suddenly understood why I was ok in some situations (listening practice sessions and basic conversation on the phone with a good friend and my Mum) and not in others. I suddenly realised that it depends on the type of environment and whether it is a controlled environment or an uncontrolled environment! I would define a controlled environment places where communication is adapted to meet my needs as a result of my deafness, like speaking in a quiet room, one to one, using FM and the speaker being extremely Deaf aware and knows exactly how to speak to me and what words to use as well as knowing me well and I know them well. I would define an uncontrolled environment, places where I have no control over what goes on there. This would be the big wider hearing world where there are groups of 2 people or more, places where there is background noise, reverbation, people not being Deaf aware, not looking tat me and other distractions that will make communication with deafness more difficult. That was the key to my problem, to be able to recognise where exactly my problems lie and my problem lies within the uncontrolled environment of the hearing world.

I mentioned this to some of my friends and they were really good at listening to me. We then came up with a few reasons as to why I find the hearing world culture and communication so hard.

In groups in the Deaf world, communication is visual – we use facial expressions and lip-reading as well as sign language. We have to sit in a way where we can all see each other and make a point to make sure everyone could see what was going on.

In groups in the hearing world, sign language isn’t used. Nor do people think about where to position themselves to make sure their faces can be seen. So therefore I completely rely on the person looking at me so then I can read lips and facial expressions. But naturally in the hearing world, they don’t just look at one person when they talk. My problem is my communication abruptly comes to an end once someone breaks the eye contact when communication is happening and is not looking at me. This is the difficulty that I need to deal with and is an uncontrolled situation.

Also again we go back to the fact that with the CI, I am aware of people talking, but am unable to make sense of what is being said due to the reasons as stated above. I now understand the very area where my difficulty is and am now in a better situation to explain to those people with no or minimal deaf awareness to explain why I seem to communicate better in some situations and not in others. After our interesting chat, one of my friends then forced me to wear the CI for the rest of the day as I need to wear it as much as possible so that my brain can takes it time to identify the skills I need for uncontrolled environments through trial and error.

We also have more ideas for listening practices. Currently these are still on a controlled one to one basis. These need to widen to include a whole range of communication skills, tasks and games including describing things, doing quizzes, drawing things under instruction, listening for directions etc. Once I have covered a wide area of these and can communicate fluently and at ease, then we will then start to introduce the elements of an uncontrolled environment one at a time so that I can work out skills on how to deal with each of the elements. Such elements include an additional person in the group for group communication, back ground noise etc. it was suggested then after that, I should go and observe a meeting at work that is not important to me without an interpreter between 2 members of staff to see what exactly I can pick out from that meeting by trying to lip-read what is being said and make a note of the things I have actually picked up.

One of my friends suggested that I write a list of things that I can hear / do now that I couldn’t a year ago to remind me how much the CI is actually doing for me. Just as I was feeling so low at the CI, when I got home I received a lovely card from my CI surgeon thanking me for my card and for coming to his retirement party and he was pleased to hear that I was making good progress. That lifted me up again.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Tuesday 5th August 2008 - Hedgehogs!!

Last night (Monday 4th August) when I went outside into my back yard to water my tomato plants and I heard this strange grunting noise. I had no idea what it was and where from, but I knew it had to be a creature of some sort. Today at work I told people about it and several people have told me that I might have heard a hedgehog!! I didn’t know that hedgehogs made noises!!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Sunday 3rd August 2008 - Upton on Severn

Went to Clive’s Farm near Upton on Severn and whilst picking raspberries with my Mother, my Mum helped me to identify the sound of the crockerel on the farm and I could pick it up!!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Monday 28th July 2008 - A series of bad thunderstorms

From 6pm today was the start of a series of very dramatic thunderstorms with spectacular lightning displays and very very intensive rain. We had four thunderstorms tonight (each lasting about 45 minutes) from 6pm until the last one about 1am). I could finally hear the thunder for the first time and the rain on the conservatory roof of my parents house and could hear the intenseness of the rain. I am not used to the noise and so at times it was alittle scary, but I had my parents with me so I was ok.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Sunday 27th July 2008 - The Malvern Hills

Today I cycled on the Malvern Hills. Whilst waiting on the platform at Worcester Foregate Street station to catch a train to Great Malvern, I noticed two new sounds. A bell ringing which I was very surprised about and also the noise of the seagulls on the platform roof which confused me at first as I thought it was a siren from the street below. The tannoy on the station platform is still beyond me.

I then arrived at Great Malvern and it was uphill cycle ride all the way up. It got steeper and steeper. I headed towards St Ann's Well and hoped that there would be a decent path up to the ridge of the Malverns that led you to the Worcestershire Beacon. I found a path and it was a very pebbly one! And it was incredibly steep, so steep and rocky that I had to push the bike up. In blazing sunshine and temperatures of about 32 degrees celcius I got myself to the ridge. Then it was a fairly flat ride until I got this path started to ascend steeply again up to the Beacon. I made it to the top and stayed up there for about an hour to enjoy the views all around. The only new sounds were the wind and birds and people talking at the Beacon, but I don't understand what they are saying though. Then I rode down to the Wyche Cutting and then cycled all the way through Malvern back to Worcester via the villages of Bransford and Rushwick (stopping at my old house where I first lived) on the way.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Sunday 20th July 2008 - My CI surgeon retirement party

I dashed down the motorways from Chester back down to the South of England to arrive in time for my CI Surgeon's surprise retirement party. He has done a really good job in my CI op and so I really wanted to be at the party to send him Best Wishes for retirement and to say Thanks. It was a great party and whilst there, I met another CI user who was implanted as an adult who has grown up in the Deaf World and use BSL. That was a relief for me as she was the first one I met since my CI op. We got talking very quickly and became good friends. I told her about my ups and downs with the CI and she was happy to give me guidance on how to cope with the adjustments as she has been there before. We then made arrangements to meet up for a Chinese meal. Whilst at the party I got asked if I would like to say anything to our CI surgeon about how the CI has helped me on video. I agreed and on the video I thanked our surgeon and told him about the new sounds that I can now hear.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Saturday 19th July 2008 - Liverpool

I was staying at a friends house in Chester whom I know very well from my University days in Liverpool. We spent the morning going into Liverpool and my friend showed me the changes at my old University Campus and also in the City Centre. I was shocked at the changes, but I also had a new experience - sound!!! Whilst at my old University campus we walked through the grounds of the hall where I used to live and therefore frequently used to walk the path there. When I walked through the same path today, I noticed a difference - there was sound - there was birdsong!! And there was lots of it. I had never noticed that before - well of course I didn't. I was amazed.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Friday 18th July 2008 - Open Day at The Ear Foundation

I went to the Ear Foundation in Nottingham for the first time. I went along to find out more about what it was about and to find out about more support for maximising the use of the cochlear implant and how to deal with difficult situations.

I was the only born signing Deaf person there who has a CI, but it was interesting to meet a few CI users who were born hearing and become deaf and now have CI as their experience is completely different to mine. It was also good to meet some of the staff and it was so good to be able to have sessions with them for advice on what to expect from the cochlear implant, how it all works, and how to deal with more difficult situations. I had a session in the morning to talk about how to deal with the implant in difficult situations like groups for example. In the afternoon then I met a the other staff and it was really good to have sessions with them too and we covered communication and listening practices and looked at what was available to help with listening practice online, technology (including what is the best way to listen to the ipod through the T-link which I hadnt tried before and the sound was quite good through that) and chatted about cochlear implants and hearing aid together and the use of FM systems with another member of staff. I had a very enjoyable day and felt so much better for gaining more support and felt more aware of what was happening with my development in using my cochlear implant.

Friday, 27 June 2008

June 2008 - Ups and downs with CI in June.

After my experience with the magnet keeps falling off when I play badminton, I have now got a stronger magnet and now have no problem with it staying on - it's perfect now.

Sound wise, it has been a month of dramatic up and downs with the cochlear implant which I feel some hearing people cannot fully understand. The cochlear implant has continued to develop brilliantly for music and for environment sounds which is fantastic. But… it has seemed to make group situations in real life situations worse. The cochlear implant is really helping me loads especially with the radio aid that I can follow most people with lip-reading most of the time on a one to one basis only. And with people I know well like with some of my friends I can sometimes pick out sentences without lipreading with the FM providing I know the topic. But it is a completely different story when it comes to groups (regardless of whether I know them well or not, deaf aware or not) and people I don’t know and people who are not so deaf aware on a one to one basis!! The main frustrations that I have had are group situations and trying to pick up conversations in order to make a contribution to it. I am much more aware of people talking, but I am completely unable to follow conversation between people. And therefore I am frustrated and confused that if things are improving on a one to one basis, why is it worst in a group situations. It is because like I said before, I am more aware of people talking and therefore more aware of what I am not picking up. Now I feel trapped. Do I take off the implant and restrict myself back into my silent, Deaf and and less frustrating don’t know what im missing world or do I keep the implant in, perserve with sounds and speech that don't make sense and to keep on working at it. The CI don’t just bring language problems in the hearing world, it is showing me more of hearing culture which I am also trying now to interpret. I feel like a stranger in a foreign land where I cant understand the language and culture there when you are exposed to it.

I continue the listening practices with one of my friends. We have now developed several new listening games:

Sat navigation by following in our cars and using FM to hear directions.

Drawing pictures

Where’s Peter? – learning to hear instructions of where to go to look for Peter Rabbit in a room.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Saturday 14th June 2008 - Deaf Badminton Training weekend

I went along to a Deaf Badminton Training weekend with the Great Britain Badminton Team. I had a great time with them and there was about 30 of us there and we were all British Sign Language users. About 8 of us had cochlear implants which I thought was interesting and it was good to see other CI BSL users. But I had only met these on a one off basis.

We had a great time, and I noticed that as I was still on a weaker magnet, every time I went to hit the shuttlecock, my magnet fell off and I had to keep trying to put it back on between shots. It was a fiddle.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Saturday 31st May 2008 - Around the tin mines of Cornwall

I am staying with one of my Deaf friends in Cornwall. This morning I have been cycling along the North Cornish coastal roads that are fairly flat along the cliff tops and then extremely steep in and out of beach villages where the roads drop down to them. However, as a regular visitor to Cornwall all my life, this is a different visit. I could hear the sounds of Cornwall for the first time. The sea, and the birds were amazing. Also whilst cycling along this coastal roads, I could hear cars as they approached me so I knew to let them pass. This is so much better.

Later on in the day we went and visited some disused tin mines Wheal Frances around Redruth and walking around these, I was constantly aware of bird song. I never realised Cornwall had so much birdsong.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Monday 19th May 2008 - The London Underground in listening practice

Another good day at work. I did some more listening practice this evening and I am picking up more of what one of my friends was saying. We based our listening practice on the London Underground map. We started off by my one of my friends asking me for directions to get from one station to another. And my friend then expanded by saying that he has a dog, lives in Regents Park, would like to take the dog for a walk on Hampstead Heath. I had to repeat the story line so that my friend could check that I have understood the purpose of the trip. It wasn’t too bad as we kept it simple. This was a good way to start moving away from the key word assisted listening practices. Don't forget these listening practices take place in a controlled environment without background noise. When I got of my car tonight there was so much racket from the birds from the trees near my house – unbelievable!!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Monday 12th May 2008 - different listening exercises

I took the bus to work today. Not noticed any difference in my auditory experience on my walk comparing CI and hearing aids to the bus stop. I don’t remember the birds singing this morning even though it was a beautiful day.

I got on the bus and looked for my ipod and found it and my CI personal stereo lead but couldn’t find the lead for my hearing aid direct input. Was annoyed, but anyway, plugged in the CI to the ipod alone. I did noticed that it still has some way to go with getting my music and that there were still some gaps in my music. I noticed also that some of the sounds were getting rather quiet and with the ipod and CI on full blast, I wasn’t getting a very loud sound. This then told me that perhaps it will need another tuning sooner than I thought. My next appointment isn’t until 2nd June but then thought well I am going to my parents and to Cornwall before then, the current tuning wont last until then, I will practically hear nothing before the next tuning. So when I got to work I rang the CI team and brought the appointment forward so then I get tuned just before I see my parents and also just before I go to Cornwall. Another thing I noticed that I couldn’t hear the ipod very well, cos the microphone on the CI was still active when I was on EA. I need to ask the CI team to create me a programme that uses EA only and mutes the CI microphone. I have booked the next appointment on Thursday 22nd May at 9am. Also whilst speaking to the CI team, I mentioned to them that I am purchasing an FM receiver for the CI on Wednesday and wondered if they supplied the leads for free. I got an email back from them saying “yes” they supply the lead for free – brill – that saves me £30. The hospital has now ordered a 90cm lead for me hopefully it will have arrived by my next tuning.

Work today was fine. There was a lot talking in the office which everyone was involved in so thanks goodness I have BSL interpreter there, and then one of my colleagues helped me with the group discussions. Also I have noticed some hearing people generally (not those at work) have become less deaf aware since I got my CI. I get feeling now that cos my speech is good and I have a cochlear implant, they expect me to hear what is being said – I CAN’T!! I really find this so frustrating and especially since I cannot follow a word in normal conversation with lip-reading. I know I can get some words without lipreading in listening practice with one of my friends cos when he says something to me he lets me know the topic and he speaks slowly. So why why why can I not follow group conversation nor conversation at normal speed? That really gets me down, but why didn’t it not bother me before? Perhaps cos I knew there were limitations with hearing aids and just accepted it. People have reminded me that I need to be patience with the CI, that it will get better and easier slowly. Perhaps I have high expectations of the CI? Grrr!!

Tonight we did some listening exercises on the computer. I had to listen to the sound and let one of my friends know what I think it is by pointing at the picture. This was a good exercise although sometimes I can’t tell what the sound is like the difference between a motorbike and a helicopter. Some of the animal sounds were difficult but I found the high frequency ones much easier to identify funnily enough!! A funny thing happened that a siren outside the office came onto the scene and I couldn’t tell that it was outside or from the CD and so I pointed at the fire engine picture as I thought it was from the CD when it wasn’t from the CD in the first place!! We burst out laughing.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Saturday 10th May 2008 - bike ride in the country

Today I went back cycling along a local off road cycle trail where I regularly do off road riding. This is the first time I have cycled there since at least 6 months ago. And again my experience was different. There were all sorts of bird sounds along that path that I had never been aware of before. The sounds that I can hear on my bike are the birds, the noise of my bike pedalling along and the wind as it brushes past the microphone on the CI.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Friday 9th May 2008 - Another thunderstorm

After work today, my colleague could hear thunder from a thunderstorm that was moving in. But the strange thing is that I still can’t hear the thunder!! Oh well.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Thursday 8th May 2008 - more phone practice

Not sure of what new sounds were heard today. But I do know that this evening we did some more speech and listening practice, we tried the phone out again. I used a different phone. I was holding a better conversation cos I was picking up a few more words. The friend who was helping me still needed to speak slowly and use simple words to help me understand the words that he is saying. He now suggests I try the phone with my Mum.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Tuesday 6th May 2008 - A singing session

Today back at work after Bank Holiday Monday yesterday. In the evening after work, we had another listening and speech practice. It went well and one of my friends tried to help me with pronouncing the ‘t’ and ‘sk’. I really struggle with those, but my friend was very good and very encouraging. Then we tried a singing session. We did "Do re mi" from the Sound of Music. My friend started a note and a word of the song “Doe”, and I had to try and copy. I felt so daft trying to monitor / project my voice to try and get that note / pitch. My friend was very understanding and was great by telling me either to go up or down to try and help me get on the right notes. I built up a little more confidence by the end of the session.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Sunday 4th May 2008 - Air raid siren and Southwark Cathedral in London

I was back in London this afternoon and went to visit the Britain at War Musuem with a friend. I found this very very interesting. One new thing really gobsmacked me with the impact of WW2 experience. There was an air raid Anderson Shelter in the museum and you went into it and got a demo of what it was really like being in that shelter. You could hear the air raid siren going off at the beginning of the raid, the planes flying above and then the sound of the bombs crashing to the ground and exploding and then the all clear air raid siren going off at the end. It was all so interesting as if I had been alive during WW2, hearing aids at that time were not strong enough for profound deafness so I would have never ever heard those sounds. But with a cochlear implant, I am able to do so. After the museum we went to see an Evensong at Southwark Cathedral. This was also very interesting and I can hear the organ and the choir with my implant. Also whilst inside the cathedral I also became aware of the cathedral bells ringing. And then of course once you opened the doors to go outside, that sound got louder and fuller. I was amazed by that!! The London Underground gets noisier and noisier!! Not only do I hear the squeaking of the carriages as they are pulled out of the station, I also hear the wheels on the track joints, the beeping of the doors just before they close, the closing of the doors and that stupid voice of “Sonia’s” whose voice on the tube train tannoy, the hearing people have to keep listening to on the tube trains. I can hear her now, but I cannot make sense of what she is saying though.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Saturday 3rd May 2008 - Cycling thru Central London

I went back cycling on my usual central London route again from Victoria to Canary Wharf area. Due to time limits, I was only able to cycle 20miles to get as far as Tower Bridge. I have noticed a difference the CI is making whilst cycling. I can now hear sirens and motorbikes from round the corner so I am aware of them before I can see them, this is the first time for me to be able to do this. But the problem is I still cannot locate the direction of the sound.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Monday 28th April 2008 - Tuning and Go karting

Another tuning session this morning. I also got my silver speech processor back too. Sounds were louder and the spectrum was extended as I had some more bass.

We went Go Karting tonight, it was difficult to put the helmet on without the magnet falling off, one of my friends helped me put the helmet on and then it was ok, but as I was still on a weak magnet, it kept falling off inside my helmet on the last lap of each Go kart race I did which was so annoying as then I couldn't hear anything.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Thursday 24th April 2008 - the first thunderstorm

Better than yesterday, but the CI got me down again as I still struggle to understand speech in a normal everyday environment. We had a thunderstorm this morning and I could not hear the thunder with the implant. Don’t know why. We even had hail and when my CI microphone was next to the window, I could hear the hail on the window.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Wednesday 23rd April 2008 - A better day.

Much much better day. Everything back to normal again. But the CI was still getting me down as I cannot understand speech nor join in group conversation…that really annoys me and I don't know how to deal with this. Two of my colleagues who are good friends were extremely supportive and mentioned to me that its ok, and that it’s normal to feel down sometimes with the CI as it is a new experience and a very very steep learning curve. They also reminded me that learning to understand speech in everyday environments and following group conversations will still be difficult as I have never heard, but reminded me that I am doing really well with the CI so far and that I should be proud. We did listening exercises and speech practice again tonight.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Tuesday 22nd April 2008 - A VERY frustrating day!

What a FRUSTRATING day!!! What is the problem? I STILL can’t follow what people say between two or more people. I don’t know whether it’s me or them? Is it cos I am aware of more chat going on (that I was aware of before) and therefore more stuff to be frustrated about because I still can't follow / pick up what they are saying? Or are other people expecting me to hear and hence making less of an effort for example in an evening group get together I went to last night? Also I am picking up some sounds that I have not got a clue about. My computer at work keeps interfering with my CI and nobody knows anything about it and neither do I. Some environmental sounds I can make sense of, only few, but alot of it I just can’t. I just feel so tired and down. I feel so much more frustrated than before as I am trying to integrate and I am stuck in the middle. To make matters worst, when I got home, typetalk (the telephone relay system for Deaf people) REFUSED to work tonight so therefore was totally unable to speak to my Mum and my friends when I needed them most!! I just cried tonight. I felt communication just had barriers all day and I really felt I wish I wasn’t deaf. A frustrating day not to be repeated!!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Sunday 20th April 2008 - Swinging thru the trees at Go Ape

Today I did Go Ape with three friends today. For those who don't know what Go Ape is, it is a high wire rope assault course consisting of rope ladders, different rope bridges, tarzan swings and zip wires in the tree tops. During the briefing the instructor wore the transmitter and one of my friends interpreted for me into BSL to make sure I got all the information and another friend had to make sure that I was watching a few times. Then once we had completed Site 1 (there are 5 altogether and get more hard and challenging - site 5 is the hardest and most challenging), one of my friends then went and collected the transmitter from the instructor and then he put it on. Up on the rope bridges across the other sites, at least this friend can get my attention to tell me things like if I have hooked myself on the safety system the wrong way round etc. It really made communication easier even though he always remained next to me. It even worked when I had landed safely from the zip wire and I was able to hear him from 120m away and up in the tree tops. There was one sentence that he said “Can you hear me?” I just about managed to pick that up without lip-reading from 120 metres and I tried to give a visual indication to say “yes”.

I was worried about my processor falling off whilst I was up in the tree tops as below you on the forest floor is undergrowth and it would be impossible to find your processor if it fell. I secured the processor onto my ear using a huggie and then I wore one of those Austrailan Buff head bands to secure the magnet and also to protect the area where the internal part of the implant is from knocking on the pulley and safety wire. I also used one of those Phonak kiddie clips to extra secure my processor to my clothing. Therefore there was no problem.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Wednesday 9th April 2008 - Breakthrough!

Advancement made today!! Had speech and listening session with a colleague after work this evening. Since last week, I had been plugging the cochlear implant processor into the radio aid system that I was already using with my hearing aid in my left ear. My colleague had the FM Genie transmitter and I had the CI plugged into the receiver. We did the syllable exercises with the CI through the FM system and it was far too easy!! So my colleague came up with a few simple sentences that were not written down and I GOT part of the sentences!! Some I got straight away and others I had to ask for repetition before I got it and took some guesswork, and some I didn’t get at all. That was achievement which I found quite amazing. And that was cos we used the transmitter and they were very very simple sentences with a few simple words. Anyway we shall see how this speech discrimination gets on. Was completely stunned as I drove home tonight.

But I don’t always hear the trolley bell!!!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Saturday 5th April - Sunday 6th April 2008

Went for a walk in the High Peaks somewhere and I still can't follow family conversation. I still couldn’t hear things in the countryside like sheep and planes.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Wednesday 2nd April 2008 - Outside my back door!!

Today got another shock as I left the house this morning via my back door. As I was locking my back door I became aware of some other sounds “chchchch” “tweet tweet tweet” “chirp chirp chirp” all at different levels and different times. Then I looked around and realised that it was birds that I was hearing. I was so shocked, I never knew that it was so noisy out there!! And I have been living in this house for 4 years now too!!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Saturday 29th March 2008 - Deaf Day

Today was the real testing day. I went to London to the Deaf Day at City Lit and this was the first time I had been back in the Deaf Community since my cochlear implant. I know a lot of people in the Deaf Community who are strong Deaf Culture and strong BSL users like myself and I was alittle nervous about how some of them might respond to my cochlear implant.

Then throughout the day I was in various parts of Central London and on and off the Underground and I became aware of some sounds could be heard in both my ears, some sounds could only be heard by my hearing aided ear and some sounds could only be heard by my cochlear implanted ear. I went to the Deaf Day event and realised that a lot of my “D” eaf mates and acquaintances who know me well and didn’t know that I had a CI were absolutely fine. They didn’t treat me any different than before I had my CI and they still accepted me as an important member of the Deaf Community. I was so relieved for that. As the day went on, I went to the Oxford / Cambridge Boat Race with some of my Deaf friends.

I eventually left London at 11.15pm and got home at 1am (2am British Summertime). As I walked into my kitchen I became aware of some ticking noise and realised it was my London Underground clock on the wall. Then as I stood in my hall downstairs I became aware of some rhythmatic alarm sound going off and went upstairs to investigate as I couldn’t think of anything downstairs to cause that. And it was actually my alarm clock – I was amazed to be able to hear that from downstairs!! Never in my life have I heard this before and then to hear it for the first time from downstairs!!

Friday, 28 March 2008

Friday 28th March 2008 - more new sounds

Another usual day at work. Can still tell when someone behind me is making tea by the sound of stirring spoons in the mugs. I find that a rather nice sound so I really don’t mind that.

At lunchtime I went to Pizza Express with a friend whose husband is profoundly deaf and has a cochlear implant. I was amazed by the sounds that I could pick up in Pizza Express as I have been there many times before and I have never ever heard the following sounds there:

Clang of cutlery on plates
Glasses being placed on the tables
Bottles being clunked together
Cutlery rattling whilst together.

Then in the evening after I went to a snowdome to try on snowboard/ski helmets and to get some information on advancing my snowboard/ski lessons, I went and met another friend in a pub on my return that evening. I noticed there are new sounds there too which I never noticed before. The sounds I heard are the same as I heard in Pizza Express… I never knew pubs and restaurants had other noise other than people’s chatter – I was so shocked!! Then I heard wine bottle being placed in its ice holder and that was loud and then I heard rattling of something and it was cutlery rattling from around the corner!! Wow!! I experience of space is broadening beyond my vision range for the first time!!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Thursday 27th March 2008 - trying out the FM system

I felt so tired this morning that I didn’t really want my cochlear implant in this morning as the sounds was a little too much. I think I was picking up too much meaningless background noise. I mentioned to a colleague about too much background noise cos I am in an open plan office, so for a while I then took it off for a bit during the morning and then later on I put it back on again. When I put it back on again my colleague and I thought it was a good idea to connect it to the FM system so reduce the background noise in the hope I would be less tired. We thought connecting the implant to the FM system was a good idea. It was better, less background noise and made concentration to lipreading better and easier even though I can't pick up everything that is said, I still need to lip-read and use BSL. I continued to have the implant connected to the FM for the rest of the day. My colleague then told me that my speech that my diction was clearer in my speech. I was not aware of this. So that was good news. Then at lunchtime, another colleague was telling me the same thing. Something must be happening.

Tonight at home I had the washing machine on and I could hear the detail of the sounds coming from that so I could tell what the machine was doing with the washing. I can also hear my microwave but I haven’t noticed any “ping” noises yet.

I realised that my brain is currently at the stage where it is hearing sounds as a sound, but I find these sounds difficult to identify or distinguish. I get feeling that will be the next job my brain will do once it has learnt to translate the sound signals into a proper sound.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Wednesday 26th March - 4th tuning

I had my 4th tuning session today at the Cochlear Implant centre. Apparently I am doing really well with the implant and now an additional programme has been added to my cochlear implant for more audio zoom – focus to listen to voices in noisy environments. Haven’t really tried it yet. The cochlear implant was louder too on its usual programme P1. I can hear the engine of my car better and my music is slightly better too, there seem to be alittle more of it. After work I went to Sports World to look at golf bags and trolleys for my sister. I noticed that as I walked out of the shop I became aware of traffic sound from further afield with my implant and realised that I was picking up the sounds of the traffic from the flyover nearby. I was so tired tonight that I was in bed by 11.15pm!!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Sunday 23rd March 2008 - The Birds ARE singing!!

Another interesting day. No new sound this morning except perhaps I could hear the coffee grain land in the mugs as I made a cup of coffee for everyone this morning. This afternoon we went for a walk on the Bromyard Downs. This involved walking up a hill before arriving and walking through a wood at the top.

Dad walked with my sister as they usually do whilst as normal, Mum and I walked together. This was the most interesting walk I have ever had. This was because as we walked through the woods, Mum would stop every now and again when she hears the birds and ask me if I could hear it and help point out the sound to me as I have never ever heard the birds before and I had no idea what to expect to listen out for. Then I heard it! I heard a crow nearby – I heard this single sharp “brrrrrrrrp” increasing in frequency as the noise is made. That was a crow. My mum cried, yelled “yes!!” and gave me a hug. Then we walked alittle further and Mum could hear a different bird noise. So she helped point it out to me and then I heard this rapid high pitched “ch-ch-ch-ch”. I indicated to my Mum each time I heard it and I got it right and this was the blue tits! I couldn’t believe it. Then I noticed another of the same sound at a different high pitch and then another one in a different tone, and I told my Mum that this was happening constantly but you hear different tones of it. Mum told me that I was right, and I just couldn’t believe it. Mum and I got alittle emotional and we just couldn’t believe it. Tonight before supper we had some champagne to celebrate this. Wow – amazing!!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Saturday 22nd March - The Piano speaks!!

There has been some development. One of the new sounds noticed today is the sound of the kettle boiling. Not sure if I can recognise that yet though. Some parts of my music is coming, I seem to be able to pick out the singing (not the words), the top end of the middle frequencies, the bottom end of the high frequencies and the lowest bass sound. So I tried the piano again and bingo!!!! I can hear the notes – wow! I found it easiest to pick up the lowest frequencies and the high frequencies than the middle ones. And I could tell when they went up and down. I could hear the difference between the notes. I cried!! Later this evening when we sat down to play Whist as a family, I noticed that I could hear the cards being dealt. I could hear the cards as they landed in their appropriate piles. I also noticed the ticking of the clock in the conservatory and there is one sound that really annoyed me today is that Dad constantly rustles the newspaper – he never keeps it still.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Friday 21st March 2008 - Home for Easter

I had driven back to my parents house. We had a bonfire in the garden, so I went down with my Mum. I noticed some new sounds. I could hear my Mum raking up the evergreens to go onto the bonfire and hear them as they land on the fire after they were thrown there. I could also hear the fire cackle.

This afternoon at some point, I happen to go into the spare room to check on the progress of the bonfire through the window as that was where I could see that part of the garden from the house. I noticed as I was looking out there was some strange ticking noise. I looked around the room and realised that I was picking up the tick tock of the clock in there, and when I looked at the second hand, I noticed the sound matched the movement of that. I told my Mum and she told me that I am right and that she was amazed that I could pick that up.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Wednesday 19th March 2008 - A better day

A better day than yesterday, was less tired and felt more with it. Had a busy morning before going to a meeting.

I put on the CI when I woke up at 7.15am this morning. I got in my car and played my music on my ipod. Again I was picking up the high frequencies with my implanted ear and not the rest. I got the low frequencies from my hearing aided left ear.

I got to work at 8.30am and as I got out of my car I could hear my car keys jangle. I then went to the CafĂ© to get some snacks before going to my meeting. I noticed that I was also hearing the coins jungle in the till drawer. I hear the doors squeaking and I am just amazed by how much high frequency sounds there are. I don’t know about middle frequencies but it seems like that everything makes a sound or has a sound.

I got to my office and there were no new sounds. Then the fire alarm went off but I was unaware of it until a colleague told me. I then went and stood under the fire alarm and I could just about pick the sound up. I couldn’t at all last week!!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Tuesday 18th March 2008 - Tiring day

More progress have been made with the CI, but I am totally exhausted mentally as a result. I left the house this morning half an hour later as I found it incredibly difficult to get my brain awake – but surprisingly I still got to work for 9am!!

I was ok at work, managed to think this morning. Am picking up sound when someone is stirring cups of tea or coffee quite easily and seem to be able to recognise the sound. The only sounds I really heard were footsteps, sneezing (I think – was aware of something happening but not sure if I can identify this) and spoons stirring cups. This afternoon, I felt more and more tired and felt somewhat more irritable – I’m just so mentally tired as brain working extra hard to process and deal with these new sensations of sound. My Mum and some other professional staff did warn me that I will be totally mentally exhausted in the first few months – I didn’t believe them but actually they were right. I was also advised from several places / sources that as a result of profound deafness from birth and never heard speech in my life, I will still need to lip-read or use BSL (British Sign Language) to understand what people are saying, and that I should not get my hopes up too high on those, but I might get some but whatever I can get is a real bonus and everyone's experience is different. The real bonus I am getting here are environmental sounds as they come bit by bit. These new sounds confuse me at times and I really need people to tell me what they are, cos I don’t know what they are and this makes me feel annoyed if I don’t know what they are and hinders my listening development and I still can't follow speech. I just feel so down this afternoon – exhaustion, so tired, I just wanna cry cos so tired. Some people tell me that I should be happy I have a cochlear implant – I am happy I’ve got one, but I wish some more people would understand the extreme hard work that I am having to do as I process new sounds and that this is the most difficult stage as its early days my brain having to work extra hard to try and learn to hear.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Monday 17th March 2008 - 3rd tuning and toilet sounds!

Wow, have noticed further developments today. Had my 3rd tuning session today. I have been turned up more and the range broadened after I told my CI audiologist about my developments during the last week with the footsteps etc.

We also swopped over my processor to a spare processing part whilst keeping my blue battery compartment and silver coil. My silver processing unit is going to be sent for repair. Ah that’s better. Also with today’s tuning, it was louder. Speech and language therapy went well too. This week have to practice the S sounds and the k sounds an the sk sounds and putting the end of words in my words like ed and t etc. It was actually quite hard work.

I then drove to work. I have noticed my car engine alittle louder. I got to work and carried on with my usual business, but have noticed there are more sounds going in as my head was kinda vibrating and then I developed a headache and I felt quite irritable. I took some painkillers and this very quickly eased, I became less irritable as my brain adapted to the sound levels. At lunchtime I went to my usual deli bar to get my panni and I heard this high pitched whirring, I thought it might have been coming from the coffee machine, I hadn’t noticed it before and I found it alittle daunting as I didn’t know what it was. I saw one of my colleagues walking by so had to ask her what it was. She thinks it might be the whirring of the fridge motor.

I then got back to my office. We tried the phone with one of my colleagues again. This time I could hear it ring and it was clear!! I then switched the implant to the T position and placed the handset close to the microphone on the speech processor and I could pick up my colleague’s voice!!! But I couldn’t make out the words. He then gave me a clue by giving me the sign and it was rabbit. Then he said another word which I noticed was a two syllable word and guessed he might have said Peter and I was right. Then he said some other words and then I realised that they were names of people in our team, but I could only guess what these were by the number of syllables in the words. But I certainly could hear a voice down the phone line. My other colleagues were watching in amazement as it is so strange and totally unexpected to see me on the phone!! This was good that we are one step forward. Last week I could not hear the phone ring and I could not hear anything down the phone.

Later on in the afternoon, I went to the Ladies and much to my disbelief I could hear myself pee – I had never heard that sound before.. I was soooo shocked that I dashed out afterwards and ran to my desk and sent an email (better than blurting it out loud to the whole office) to two of my work mates. My workmates and I just burst out laughing. I couldn’t believe it. I then got on with my work again. Before we went home, we then tried the phone again and another colleague watched in amazement and when I was trying to guess the numbers what this one colleague was saying, he would give me a clue and encourage me on. I only got the number “twenty – one” correct. Despite only getting one correct and all the other numbers wrong my colleagues clapped in amazement. Wow!!

Then when I got home, I thought I’d ring my minicom from my mobile and I could hear my minicom ring no problem. Then I decided to ring my mobile and listen to what I could hear down the phone. I can hear the dialling tone, the engaged tone and can tell when its ringing down the other end and tell when it has been picked up, but when a voice comes on, I find it difficult to tell whether it’s a real person answering or whether its an answering machine.
Then I started to play my music on my hi fi and bingo, there is progress. There is more sound and meaning from my music than last week so that is now improving too. I can hear the lower frequencies of my music through my implant and they sounds pretty much the same as through my hearing aid, but then I got a whole lot more detail and I now have the high frequency melodies that I never knew existed in my music. At this stage I am aware of its presence but I couldn’t tell you what instrument they are. There are some elements that are still jumbled up which is probably the part of the processor that is yet to be tuned. Yippee, I am getting there slowly. We shall see what other new sounds happen this week and what improvements we will see when I am turned up more next Wednesday 26th.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Sunday 16th March 2008 - Church

No problem with the implant today. I went to my friends’ church. My friend who is deaf and has a CI works on the sound desk at their church. His hearing wife was singing with the band. During the worship my deaf friend gave me the headphones and tuned me into his wife’s singing, and I was able to pick it up.. her voice singing. It had melody and her voice was quite high pitched. But I couldn’t pick up the rest of the band very well. I couldn’t hear the bass, guitar nor the male vocals. I did pick up the cymbals on the drum and picked up the higher pitch drum beats.

At lunchtime I went to a pub and I switched off my hearing aid and tried to listen to the pub atmosphere with the cochlear implant only. I could hear the murmur of chatter in the pub and the clinking of my cutlery on my plate as I ate.

Tonight I watched Songs of Praise on the TV. I could just about pick out the singing, it was all very very faint and if I listened real hard, I could pick out the melody, but again only some of the higher frequencies of it.

I then brought my electric guitar down, and played some notes and chords on that. I noticed that I could hear the lowest and the highest notes but nothing in the middle.

Later on this evening, I hoovered the house without my hearing aid but just with the cochlear implant. I could not hear the hoover. However when I went outside to sort out the recycling waste to be collected for tomorrow, I could hear the plastic bottles going into the plastic box, I could hear the water going into the flower vase that was used for the carnations that I’ve had for three weeks as I was cleaning the vase out. I could also hear myself walking across the gravel in my back yard as I went to take the rubbish out and I could hear this “crunch crunch crunch” from coming underneath my feet. I was shocked. Then I heard my gate opening and then shutting and the latch shaking on the gate. Mmmm….interesting sounds. Tomorrow will sort out my processor and also look forward to the new sounds that tomorrow’s tuning will bring. It was 2.30am when I went to bed and took the speech processor off.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Saturday 15th March 2008 - trying music

The implant was working fine. I went to one of my friend’s house. I went to Tesco enroute to get two bottles of wine. I noticed no difference in my experience with the CI. I arrived at my friends house, I could hear my friend’s footstep on her wooden floor. I could also hear the clatter of the saucepans in the kitchen when I was in the living room. My friend also has a husband who is also profoundly deaf like me and has a cochlear implant. He has had this implant since 1994 and therefore is a lot more experienced with it than me. He brought down his guitar to test out what sounds I can hear / can’t hear. It seems like that I can pick up the high frequency notes ok, but and the very lowest, but not the rest of the low and high and any of the middle bits. The hospital did tell me that they have only turned me on very very low to ease me into it. I can tell when someone is talking but I am not yet able to work out whether it’s a man’s voice or a female’s voice and certainly not words. I had no problem with the implant not working today. I stayed overnight at my friends’ house.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Friday 14th March 2008 - H4 message again

Today, no problem with the implant. It is working normally again and I am picking up the sounds I have started to hear on Tuesday. There has been no more new sounds since. Footsteps remain to stand out especially at lunchtime walking around the shopping centre with a friend. Did more speech and language practice earlier this evening.

Ha I spoke too soon, just as I had typed the last line, my speech processor cut out and the sound went completely again! I took it off and the H4 message came up again. I resetted the processor and the H4 message still came up. I connected the magnet and still no sound, I checked the connection and that made no different, until I fiddled with the ear hook, then suddenly the H4 message went back to P1 and P1 stayed there. H4 message disappeared. I put the magnet back on and bingo it was working again. Mmm, sounds like dodgy speech processor, and I think I might know where the problem is – something to do with the area between the top microphone on the speech processor and the ear hook. It was only because I fiddled with the ear hook that I got the processor to work again. Will just pray that the implant will continue to work through the weekend until we can get to Monday morning to when I can sort it out. My CI audiologist did say to me see how I go through the weekend and if I have any more problems then they will give me another speech processor and get mine repaired! Hopefully then, that will get it sorted. I really need my cochlear implant as this is a crucial time as my brain is working hard to working out sensations and sounds and this needs to be consistent to get the best results. Also my hearing aid feels extremely quiet when I haven’t got my speech processor on. Easter is coming up and I am away for 5 days and I need a reliable speech processor. There is nothing that I can do right now and thanks goodness I already have an appointment on Monday morning. Its now nearly half 12 and I am about to go to bed.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Thursday 13th March 2008 - Fixing CI Processor problem

I got to the hospital for my appointment. When my CI audiologist saw me, we tested the internal parts of the implant and thanks goodness that was fine and we checked the communication to the processor and that was ok. The problems I had the day before were caused by a connection problem between the processor and the battery compartment. My CI audiologist fixed this and it was all ok again.

Then I got back to work and the cochlear implant was all was ok again. During early evening after work, we carried on doing the speech practice with my listening to the syllables this time listening to a friend read “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” with lots of pauses and me having to identify where the reading had stopped. This went well and then like yesterday, this friend helped me with the “S” focus in my speech.

Wore the implant today from 7.30am til 1.30am today!!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Wednesday 12th March 2008 - problems with the CI processor - the H4 message

Oh dear, the cochlear implant didn’t work very well today. The vibes and sound became intermittent as I was driving to work and then just before I got to my office, it completely cut out. I took the processor off and noticed that it said H4. I didn’t know what that meant and I couldn’t do anything as I was driving. When I got to work luckily I had the user manual with me, and so I was able to look it up. H4 means audio error and I had NO idea what that meant. So I followed some instructions to reset the processor and turned it back on again and it went back to P1 again, looks like it was ok. So I put it back on, and then it seemed fine. I decided to ring the CI centre to let them know what happened and asked them if I was meant to do anything. They asked me to come in and they will check it. So I made an appointment for tomorrow morning.

The CI seemed to be better throughout the day. Also when I had been to the hairdresser and went to put it back on again, when I had switched it on then connect to magnet there was no sound and then it suddenly came. Earlier this evening, I did some listening exercises again. Later on in the evening I seemed to have more problems with it after I had done some listening exercises on the computer. The sound suddenly became loud whirring and then become quiet whirring and then become really loud whirring that it became uncomfortable, but there was no message to indicate something was wrong. Before I went to bed I took it off and went to sleep.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Tuesday 11th March 2008 - water sounds.

When I went and washed my cup so that I could have a fresh cup of tea, then I noticed that I was hearing the water coming out of the tap when it landed into the sink and when the water went into my cup the sound stopped.

I have also noticed a few other new sounds today and they are as follows:

Squeaking from the door near the north lift on my floor
Toilet flushing
A door banging
Squeaking from a hole puncher as it is pushed.

I am still unable to follow speech.

In the evening another friend helped me with the speech and listening exercises from the sheets given to me from the hospital.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Monday 10th March 2008 - The sounds start coming in bit by bit

Today is the first day of the sensations of the silent vibes starting to turn into proper sound as a ‘noise’!!

I went to the CI centre this morning for my second tuning. My CI audiologist repeated the same tuning that was done last week at the initial tuning session. My audiologist who deals with my hearing aids also came along too.

I noticed a difference. The silent vibes that I felt last week during the tuning session were today heard as clear solid beeps of about 1.5 seconds long sound. These beeps were sometimes high frequencies and others were the lower ones. They were certainly much easier to pick up and that this helped the 2nd tuning. Some were too sensitive and I would inform my CI audiologist who would quieten the sound a little.

Then I had speech and language therapy and did some of the syllables tests and did fine. I was shown a computer software with this one. I was also introduced to another new cochlear implantee who is 2 years older than me, has been profoundly deaf from birth like me and have similar experience. He had his implant operation a few days before me.

I then drove to work after the hospital appointment. I think I could hear my car. But it's difficult to tell as I am so used to feeling the vibration of my car engine. I think I picked up the sound of my engine and noticing that the tone of the engine changes when you accelerate, brake and change gear, but I am not so sure whether I really heard that.

Then at the office, I just picked up the same sounds as last Friday. At work we tried to see if I could hear the phone ring yet and I couldn’t. We also tried to see if I could hear anything down the phone and still nothing. We then tried out an FM system with the cochlear implant, and yes I started to get something through that but it didn't mean anything! The sensation of my colleague's voice was more direct and other sensation of sound was cut out. Also my voice was cut out too – seems like when the implant is plugged into an external accessory it mutes the cochlear implant microphone! But still these voices were still a sensation of meaningless vibes. So we disconnected the FM system from the implant. In the evening we did some speech and listening exercises.

Later that evening, I went to Sainsburys to get some food shopping. I decided to turn off my hearing aid in my left ear and just listen with the CI in my right ear. I just got a sensation of vibes and then when I went to the drinks section to get some cans of coke, I could hear the coke landing in my trolley and then I suddenly hear a cluck cluck cluck loud and clear. I looked around to see what that was and it was a woman with heels walking in the aisle opposite me. I know as the sound I was hearing matched the rhythm and timing of her walking. I was amazed. It was nice and loud and clear and it was a sound!! There was no other sound until I got home. I still had my hearing aid off when I walked in through the back door and I could hear my footsteps on the tiles on my kitchen floor. These were loud and clear and a detailed sound!! I walked up and down my kitchen and noticed that the sound was more “dull” near my cooker and more “hollow” and “echoey” when I walked away from my cooker and units. I was so amazed. Then later as I went up the stairs I happen to knock my wall and noticed a clear sound from that. Then I tapped the banister and heard a different sound from that. I find it interesting to tap different materials to find that they emit a different sound. One thing I noticed about the difference in hearing sounds from a hearing aid and cochlear implant is that with a cochlear implant the sound is more “direct”. I feel like that with a hearing aid, I was so limited with sound (I used to hear 1% in my right ear with my hearing aid and still only hear 4% in my left) that I somewhat had to listen hard for the sound that was within my limitations without realising it. But with the CI, I didn’t have to strain, the sounds that I heard today as a clear sound came automatically and I didn’t have to strain to hear it. I am also now beginning to hear my voice and hear what it really sound like – it is beginning to sound a lot less “daleky”. I went to bed at 2am and took the implant off then.

New sounds heard today:
Clunking of coke cans
Knocking on vertical surfaces
My voice
Car engine – I am alittle unsure
Phone ringing – I am alittle unsure