Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013

Practice, Practice, Practice
Monday,  August 5, 2013

We have all heard the saying, "Practice Makes Perfect."  If that is true, I should be well on my way to understanding speech.  Today I spent a couple of hours practicing recognizing vowel sounds.  In that suitcase filled with goodies from Cochlear, there was an interactive DVD called Sound and WAY Beyond.  There are lots of practice exercises on it and I have been practicing.  I am NOT perfect. 

Today I worked in an area of vowel recognition.  Sounds simple.  It is not simple when you are hearing impaired.  There are several variations of the practice sessions and the one I was working in today was Level 3 of 5.  In this section I am given a screen with 9 boxed words that have common sounds in them.  Some of the words can easily be mistaken for others on the screen.  In each practice set, there are 25 screens of words. 
First the screen of words appears and then a voice "clearly" pronounces one of the words.  I am to click on the word I think I heard.  There is a male voice sometimes and a female voice sometimes.  I do much better with the male voice. 
After I click on the word, if I am correct, I get a "thumbs up" symbol.  If I am wrong, I get a "thumbs down" symbol and then the screen displays the word I should have chosen and the one I chose.  The voice will repeat them back and forth a couple of times, highlighting the one I am hearing at that time.
Then it will move on to the next screen of 9 words.  As I said, there are 25 screens per set.  When you get to the end, it will give you the score and tell you that you are doing great and that you can move on to the next level or that you should practice more in the level where you are.  Also, you can review all the pairs you missed and replay them as many times as you want until you think you have it or you know you just can't get it yet.
As I worked this morning, Ron came into my office at one point to see what I was doing.  I was listening to one I had gotten wrong.  He listened and said he couldn't tell the difference either.  I'm not sure if that should make me feel good or bad.  I think it does explain some of our misunderstandings!  I told the audiologist when we were there that I didn't like the lady on the recordings because when I make a mistake she sounds frustrated with me.  I know that is not true.  They just replay it exactly as she said it the first time, but I sure prefer the guy.
After a long time working on that, Ron was leaving on some jobs and I knew I would be getting interrupted a lot, so I put it away for the day.  I did some Immersion Reading in the Kindle Fire, but again the frequent interruptions were a distraction, so I did a little bookkeeping instead.  It was fairly busy today (that is a good thing) and I understood all except one customer who was very soft spoken and had a heavy accent and I just couldn't understand a couple of things he was saying.  Other than that, I did fine.  My arm with the broken elbow was tired and sore by the end of the day from me being so busy, but it was fine.
Ron was going to stay at the office late to do some work, so I headed to the drug store before coming home.  I ran into a lady from our church who took a fall at church Sunday morning and she was bruised and had some stitches, but had broken no bones.  She is a good bit older than I am and rather frail looking, but thankfully she didn't have a cast on.  The bruises will heal quickly.  Having broken my elbow, I have lots more sympathy for others who suffer such injuries. 
Once I got home, I worked in the yard for about an hour and enjoyed the time checking on plants and doing some cleaning.  This evening I plan to do some more Immersion Reading - it is a good book and I am eager to find out what happens next.  I did have a long phone chat with my son Stephen this evening.  Again, it is a struggle, but it was worth it to get to find out what is going on with him.  He told me about his birthday gathering and some things with his new position at work.  He has a very busy semester ahead of him and he completes his Master's degree at the seminary.  Then I chatted with our oldest son, Bob and his wife, Vickey.  It was good to catch up with them, but again, it was a struggle.  Maybe I need to keep struggling and it should get better.  I think it was better today than the last time.
During the day and while on the phone, I continued to experiment with assorted settings for the sound processor, trying to find what would work best in various situations.  I guess the hardest challenge today was about the time Ron returned from his jobs.  I had a shop filled with customers.  One was a lady whose voice came through loud and clear on the processor, drowning out all others.  He had taken over waiting on her and even though I was at a different counter, I kept hearing her over the man across the counter from me.  I can change the settings on the processor to focus in a tighter circle around me, but that takes a little time and we were so busy I hated to stop to do that.  So many new things to learn!
Maybe next time I will share some of the other exercises with you.  Speaking of exercises, I go back t Physical Therapy tomorrow.  I was off today, but go Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday this week at 8:00 a.m. each day.  So maybe I should post this and go to bed!


  1. Mama & I struggle too with the tenor of the voices. Men's are usually deeper & therefore easier for her to understand. Women have higher pitched voices & she has lost most of the high pitches. At times, because of the sinus drainage, I have stopped up eustachian tubes in my ears, I can't hear how loud I'm talking. It is like you have cotton in both ears. I feel like I am yelling but she says I'm whispering!!!

    1. For many years, I have only really enjoyed all male choirs or male soloists. I remember about 10 years ago wondering why the organist at church was not playing the melody line and eventually came to see it was just that I didn't hear it. The problem of not knowing how loud you are talking is one that really got to me. I would come across as angry at times when I was not at all upset, but just had no idea how loud I had gotten. Now, when I hear someone who is usually loud, I guess that they have a hearing problem. I also think in past years, I would get louder hoping the other person would speak louder so I could hear them. Ron tells me the minute I take my sound processor off, I start talking too loudly. But as with you thinking you were yelling when you were whispering, I used to ask the lady we eat with on Friday nights if I was too loud, because I suspected I was, and she said, no, if anything I was too soft. We just can't tell when we can't hear!