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.