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 Café 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

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Saturday 8th March 2008

I woke up late, but then I got my lap top to get online. I hadn’t put in my implant at this stage, only my hearing aid. But then I noticed a difference already – although I can’t hear many sounds as noise through the implant, I don’t feel quite complete without the sensations that my implant gives me – this is making me realised the difference already. I put the implant back on after my shower. I then wore my implant for the rest of the day whilst I picked up two friends to take them to my birthday party to a pub in the middle of the countryside to meet ten more of my friends. I could pick up the sensation of chatter but nothing made sense. I wore the speech processor until 4am!!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Friday 7th March 2008

At work today, I noticed that when a colleague was making our cup of teas, she knocked the side of the mug with a spoon with me watching and I could pick up the sound of that, only because I could see the action happening. Also the other difference I pick up was when I was handling papers, I could sensate the rustling of the papers, and I never knew they made a noise. Also I could hear whenever I put my drink on my desk. We tried the phone with my line manager, I can’t hear the phone ring. I also tried to listen for his speech down the phone receiver and I couldn’t pick up anything, both on the M setting and the T setting. I continued to do the speech syllable exercises with a colleague.

We went to the pub at lunchtime for drinks with my colleagues, there was no difference in my experience of that as it was with hearing aids. In the evening I went to a friends house for tea and yes I feel the implant is supporting what I hear with my hearing aid especially people’s voices, but only when near. My friend took me into the kitchen where she was frying some courgettes, she tried to see if I could hear that and I couldn’t. Also we tried the microwave and see if I could hear that and when that ping but nothing yet. I guess these will come as I get turned up more. I wore the implant until I went to bed at 12.15am.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Thursday 6th March 2008 - Day 4

I woke up at 9.30am and then got up and dressed. Once I was dressed I then put the speech processor on. All I could hear was a constant low whirring. Had breakfast with my Mum and we then went out. Firstly we went to the tyre garage. I noticed that the implant seemed to make me aware that someone was talking through sensations of vibes. This was true where ever we went. When we got home, Mum tested the fire alarm on me but I could not hear it or pick it up. We did the speech exercises again and I seem to be getting better at these and we tried a few nursery rhymes where I had to say which word I think Mum stopped at. I noticed that I seem to pick up the syllables better for the high frequency sounds rather than the low ones. I have confusion between the words fire man and fire engine, read and reading. The words relating to wish, tell were easier and the numbers exercises were easier and I can pick up the rhythm of speech which helped me. My Mum’s voice is kinda beginning to become a sound I think she sound like a very quiet tinny Donald Duck!!

I managed to stay awake all day, in the afternoon, Mum and I went into the city centre and did some shopping. I noticed difference in Marks and Spencers – I could feel the sensation of speech happening all around me which I didn’t noticed before and also when we went into one of the 1960s arcades that I have been in all my life, I noticed a difference there. There wasn’t many people in the arcade when we were in there and I noticed that when I was talking to my Mum and lip-reading here, the sensation of the speech seemed to drag on, so I asked my Mum if our talking was echoeing in the shopping centre and she said yes. But all the sensation of speech didn't make sense. When then got home and I continued to wear the speech processor until I went to bed at 11.30am.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Wednesday 5th March 2008 - Day 3

I don’t think there were that many new changes today. I awoke at 8.30am again and put on the speech processor. One thing now is that I do get a very low constant whirring sound and I know the difference when it is on or off. This morning, my Mum and I went through the massive box of accessories to see what we have and to work out what things were. We learnt about the controls of the speech processor and put on the MicLock tubing on it to secure it in place whilst on my ear. We unpacked the rest of the accessories from the big box and put them into the big carrying case that came with it all. We also sorted out the batteries and learnt how to change them and how to recharge them.

I noticed I think when I was in the utility room when the boiler was on, I think I picked up a low rumbling, but I am not sure. I find it difficult to tell whether I am actually hearing it or my brain is tricking me into hearing it. We also ran the tap in the utility room. I got some sensation from the tap like some tinkling vibes – but it made no sound and if I wasn’t looking at the tap I wouldn’t have known what it was or perhaps wouldn’t have registered this sensation.

I was really tired again after lunch, Mum and I tried the syllables exercises again but I wasn’t doing so well with it as I was too tired, so I slept again for 3 hours – unbelievable!! When I woke up again, we had tea and then attempted the exercises again. I did better and I did better than yesterday. So we went further with the syllable exercises. It was still exhausting. I wore the implant for the rest of the day and took it off when I went to bed at midnight.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Tuesday 4th March 2008 - Day 2

As soon as I woke up this morning at 8.30am, I put in my speech processor on my right ear and connected the magnet and put in my hearing aid in my left ear. I noticed a very slight “whirring” noise. Mum and I reckon that I might be picking up the fan on my lap top. Mum and I started going through this massive box that we received from the hospital with all the bits and pieces in. We were trying to sort what batteries we have so that we know what we have for when the batteries needs changing.

When I get dressed I have to take the magnet and processor off. It would fall off anyway. Then I put it back on again after I am dressed. Everytime I connect the magnet, I get this sudden surge of sound or power or sensation and then after a few seconds it settles again. It really makes me jump when I get that.

This morning, my Mum and I spent two intensive hours of speech and listening exercises. I had to tell my Mum how many syllables there are in the words, numbers and sentences that she were saying. We started to laugh cos we are being thrown back to 1978 to the time when my Mum was teaching me to lip-read and speech. She couldn’t teach me to listen / hear the sounds then cos I wasn’t getting benefits from hearing aids so Mum had to make sure I learnt language through lip-reading and teach me new words that way and then get me to say them correctly. At that time, she would give me a smartie for getting it right. Here we are 30 years on, doing similar exercises together again with me as an adult and a great awareness of the structure of language and with a wide range of vocabulary and understanding of the formation of the English Language, my Mum is using the same exercises to teach me to hear / listen / and to start to recognise the sounds of speech. We had interesting deep discussions about how words are formed and the phonetics of the words and I would compare notes tell my Mum how the words now sound through the implant and what it sound like before and let her know whats new. With my lipreading and existing knowledge of how words sound through hearing aids on a profoundly deaf person, I realised that through the implant, the word endings seems to be extended with an extended sensation of sound. I also noticed for the first time that through the implant, words have intonation – they go up and down depending on their letters / spellings which then controls their sound whether it goes up for the high frequencies. A good example of a word I picked this up was the word “Hissing”. Before to me it sounded like “Heh – in”. Now I noticed that the word actually intonates upwards in the middle before coming down again with a lower freq letters and that the upward sound of the letters / pronunciation of the word in the middle I was picking up for the first time was the “ss” sound which I had never heard before. I was gobsmacked!! Mum and I cried. The same with the word “listening”. I noticed that high frequency syllables were easier to pick up than the low frequency syllables. I have difficulty picking up “ing”. However with telephone box, I picked up 4 syllables, some soft sensations, some harder and noticed the one right at the very end indicating the x went right up in frequency!! That shocked me too.

I was worn out from this speech and listening session but it was an important session we need to do which we need to do on a regular basis to help me get used to the implant quicker and to gain the maximum benefit from it quicker. When making coffee this morning, I still couldn’t hear the kettle boiling, but I was made aware that mugs “clink” to each other when they touch one another which is a new addition to my coffee making experience. Also the “clunk” of the milk botlle when placed on the table. Still cant hear the shutting of the fridge door though. I realise that I am picking up the high frequencies better than the low frequencies with the cochlear implant and I am just so amazed with just how much I missed for 33 years of my life!! Later when I went to the toilet, I still can’t hear myself wee, but I gained a slight sensation of vibes going up and down when the tap was running. But nothing was recognisable.

I was so tired from all this new experience of the sensation of sound that I went to bed this afternoon and slept for a couple of hours. My mum woke me when my Dad came home at 5.15pm and we had a cup of tea. The TV was on and I was aware of a sensation of sound as Ann Robinson spoke on The Weakest Link. It was just a series of unrecognisable syllables that don’t make sense. Then I became aware of another sensation of sound vibes on top of that then I looked around and noticed that Mum was eating a biscuit and that this “other sensation” seemed to follow the movements of my mother’s jaw as she chewed the biscuit and the sensation of that sound stopped when she stopped chewing it. Mum picked up another biscuit and chewed it again and the sensation of vibes started again. That confirmed the biscuit. I couldn’t believe it!! Mum and I laughed!

This evening when my parents were out, I decided to try out to see what I could sense from the piano. I played a few pieces of music on the piano that I know and also played a few scales and I couldn’t really pick it up with the implant at this stage. I didn’t get sensation from all the notes and therefore I wasn’t really getting the music… basically it was still silent there.

Tonight in bed I decided to take the hearing aid off whilst typing my email and this news with just wearing the cochlear implant. I noted sensation when I tap my lap top. Also I tried to say a few words to see if I was hearing my own voice. Before my voice was just silent vibes and now its beginning to make a very very slight “sound”. My voice was just starting to sound like monotone beginning to hear a slightly different sound when I tap my lap top. Then I noticed a sensation of sound and I had no idea what it was until I saw my Mother’s hand wave from behind my door. Apparently, my Mum had knocked on my door, I was getting the sensation of it, but my brain had not registered it nor recognised it as a knock. Everything that is just starting to sound sound all the same – all the vibes and newly started sounds sound all the same – nothing makes sense yet, although I am beginning to note a difference in the sound of my own voice (sounding like a very faint monotone tinny dalek), the tapping on my lap top and me producing a “shhh” sound. The higher the frequency of the sound, the easier it is for me to pick up – amazing. Now lets see what Day 3 brings us. This week is focused on listening as I need to help my brain to register the sounds that it senses and learn to translate them as much as I can. Therefore it was suggested that I need as much time as possible to do the exercises and the teaching of sounds around me with my mother as much as possible. The more we do at the beginning, the better I will use my implant to register and recognise more sounds in the long run.

I wore the processor from 8.30am until 2.45pm and then from 5.15pm until 1.17am!! That makes it 14 hours today and the battery in the speech processor is still ok!!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Monday 3rd March 2008 - The BIG day - My Switch On!! The Journey Begins!!

What an interesting experience and such a weird experience – detail to follow!

Anyway I got home from work to my house and as I turned the corner to drive into my car park, I realised that I came behind another car that had also entered the same car park. I recognised that car and it turned out to be my sister! I had absolutely no idea that she was going to be there as last night when I spoke to her, she was still in Switzerland skiing and I got the impression that she wasn’t coming back to the UK until much later today!! What a lovely surprise!! Apparently they had been keeping this as a surprise for me.

We then all headed to the CI centre.

The Cochlear Implant Team saw us quite promptly and then we were led to the switch on room. They then put my implant on me and it looks really cool… I didn’t feel the magnet, although its quite heavy, you can’t really tell you are wearing it. It’s quite snazzy being silver and blue – it’s really cool and it stuck to my head no problem!

They then connected it up to a machine with me wearing the processor so then we could start the mapping process and needed to work out what is my threshold. I sat there waiting for a sound, I was expecting to hear a beep, but nothing then I realised I was feeling a series of beeps sensations in my right ear as silent pulses repeating then I mentioned it to the audiologist and that was what he was waiting for. It was like something was poking my hearing nerves silently. He then sorted out my programme and then switched me on! I leapt right out of my skin! It was really loud – not in terms of sound / noise, but in terms of vibes!! So many vibes!! They had to turn it down!!! When did I ever need to turn down a volume? We sorted out my programme for the week and then I went to see the speech and language therapist. Apparently, I am picking up / responding to all 22 electrodes of my implant which is unusual (most people only get between 12 and 18 on this implant).

I got loads of accessories with the implant, including leads to plug in my ipod. Anyway, later on we then went to a nice cafe as a family before my Sister drove back to her flat and had some food and drink. I couldn’t hear the background noise of the café still but I could feel meaningless sensation of sound which I think was the clanging of the knife on the plate. I couldn’t pick up the music in there yet – nothing – it was silent.

Then we drove back to my parents house and I continued to wear the implant whilst driving there. I still can’t pick up the sound of my car engine, but I got a silent sensation when I had the indicators on and when the indicator stick went back to its usual position having turned the indicated corner!! The magnet falls off really easily and every time I reconnect it, it makes me jump before it settles down again! As I am typing on my keyboard on my lap top I am aware of some vibes happening in my ear so I wonder if it is the keys – again no noise – just silent vibes. Apparently the noise of the sounds I am sensing silently will come. It takes time. It is NOTHING like a hearing aid – it is such a weird sensation.

We have been given some listening exercises – I had to work out which word was being said from the list according to the number of syllables – it was sooooo hard!! My Dad was there at the switch on process and the listening session with the Speech and Language therapist and he kept on falling asleep!! But still I thought it was good that he was there though cos he has never been to audiology before and it was good that he saw what things goes on.

I wore the processor for 8 hours today.