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!!