Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 8, 2013

Practicing Listening or Practicing Hearing?
Wednesday,  August 8, 2013

Sometimes I wonder: Am I practicing hearing or practicing listening?  Whichever it is, I do need practice.  As I keep joking, my friends don't come visit me in a sound proof booth.  I have to listen to them or hear them in every day settings.  It can be at work across the sales counter with machines running behind me.  It may be in a noisy restaurant, with kids throwing things and fussing with each other and their parents (not my grand kids, but the kids in the cafeteria where we had supper tonight). 

This morning was not a physical therapy morning so I stayed at the house a little later than usual straightening up things since I was meeting the exterminator at the house later in the day (one of the many joys of living in South Texas!).  Once I got to the office, I started working on the listening skills.  Today I chose to work on consonants.  It was often frustrating and even discouraging when I would pull up a practice session and struggle to figure out what had just been said. 
In one practice set, I would see two sets of "sounds" and I was to mark the one I heard the voice say.  Looks easy, doesn't it?  I thought so.  I chose to photograph this one so I could show you the "thumbs up" symbol when I got it right.  Wrong!!  I missed it.  I not only missed it this time, but several more times during the morning workout. 
So when I got it wrong, the voice - sometimes male and sometimes female, would say the two sounds back and forth a couple of times and sometimes I could still not hear the difference.  I probably did four or five practice sessions today on consonants and once I got them all right, but more often my scores looked more like this score sheet:
So, I will continue to practice.  I tried a couple of sets of the pure tone sounds and did fairly well on them, but not by any means perfect.  I still have a long way to go.  As the audiologist reminds me often, hearing impaired people learn to do a lot of guessing and filling in the blanks when they are talking to friends.  We rely on lip reading and facial expressions as well as the guess work, so in many cases, it is an educated guess.  I told her the first time I met her that I did not read lips.  I said I had spent the last 10 years turning my good ear to people and not watching their lips.  She assured me I was doing some lip reading and I now know she was correct.  When I am doing these tests, I don't have those clues to help me.

After an hour or more working on these activities, I turned to the Immersion Reading.  I had downloaded several books to my Kindle Fire and it had automatically transferred all the books I had in my other Kindle to the Kindle Fire.  I had only downloaded the audio books for a few of the selections.  I had finished the first book that used the Whispersync method for the Immersion Reading.  So today I decided to try downloading something new. 

After I downloaded the book from Amazon, I bought the audio book from Audible.  You are taken directly to their site from the site.  But after buying the audio book, I couldn't get it to come up.  It was offering me a free sample, but not the whole professional narration I had just bought.  So their website offered me some options for contacting them and I chose an on line chat.  I was helped by a nice man named Calvin.  He was very patient with me.  Not only do I not know what I am doing on the new device, but I kept being interrupted with customers coming in and Ron was out on some jobs.  Calvin patiently walked me through how I could open it since it was already in my device, I just didn't know how to access it.  After we got it fixed, he offered other help and I mentioned how I was using the audio books in the Immersion Reading.  I told him I was singing their praises in my blog and he asked if I would be willing to give him the blog address.  I said I would be happy to do so and after getting it, he said he would like to pass it on to the company and that maybe they would do a press release about how it could be used to help people with Cochlear Implants.  I told him my audiologist had the other audiologists in her office come in and see my demonstration of the method and they were all excited about possible applications for their patients.  I thanked him and told him I hoped that it could help others to adapt to their implants.

In the afternoon I met the exterminator and waited while he sprayed the house and some of the outside area.  Then I returned to the office and did a little office work, but also did more reading.

In the evening, we met our friends (who we normally eat with on Friday nights) for supper.  The lady was up-to-date reading my blog even though they had been out of town for a little over a week.  While we chatted, I did more experimenting with the remote control for my sound processor, to try to find a good setting for hearing her well and finally came to one that did a pretty good job. 

Once we got home, I did another couple of hours of the Immersion Reading, this time with a cable connected to the Kindle Fire from the sound processor and that gives a much clearer sound.  My alarm clock is going to try to get me up long before I am ready tomorrow.  I have to be at the Physical Therapy office at 8:00, so I better stop for now.


  1. Your research and insights are so interesting and your willingness to pass along what you've learned is very much appreciated, I'm sure. You may be asked to write that book soon? (Give the Friday night friends hugs for me, I miss them, too!)

    1. Thanks, Tiny. We all have friends and family who have hearing difficulties. One of my grandmothers (probably the one from whom I inherited my earlier hearing problems) was very hard of hearing. I think I really tried to be heard by her. I would sit close and speak up. Some just complained about her not being able to hear. Those who can't hear never chose to be that way. Some won't try a hearing aid, and I think they should at least try one. But they don't help all people. I think we need to try to help in any way possible. There need to be more, readily available helps, like the vibrating alarm clocks. Why doesn't Wal-Mart carry them?