Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9, 2014

When Does the Cochlear Implant Feel Natural?
January 9, 2014

How are you all doing about writing 2014?  I think I am doing pretty well, but am I noticing when I mess up?  Not sure.  It usually seems to me that the first few weeks of a new year, I am very careful when writing the date, but after a time I start just assuming I am correct and that may be when I make my mistakes.  Then every once in a while I just have a flash of stupid and put an entirely different year down; it may be a year way in the past or like one day a week or two ago, I put 2017.  I have no idea why. 

As with learning to write the new year every January, I have been learning to deal with my new way of hearing and much of it is now feeling "natural".  I never liked wearing a hearing aid.  It was uncomfortable, gave me headaches, and gave me jaw problems.  Since the Cochlear Implant leaves the exterior ear canal empty, I am not having those same discomforts.  There is a little discomfort behind the ear where the sound processor is worn like an "over the ear" hearing aid.  By the evenings I am ready to take it off.  About 12 hours seem to be my comfort limit. 

This morning as I left the house to go to the office, I had gone down my mental checklist of things to take with me: my purse, my briefcase, my tote bag with my lunch and a wide assortment of other things I somehow think I might need during the day, my cell phone, my drink, and my hearing device.  As I have mentioned before, I don't put the sound processor on until my hair is dry, so it is one of the last things I do before I leave the house.  This morning I pulled out of the driveway and thought, "It is so quiet.  Oops!  I must have forgotten my sound processor."  I turned around in the next driveway and as I started back to the house, I realized I did have my sound processor on.  Out of old habits, I had touched my ear canal opening and feeling nothing, thought I hadn't put it on.  It doesn't go in the ear, so of course there was nothing there.  I then touched behind my ear and it was there.  I love that it is comfortable enough that I have to physically touch it with my hand to know if it is there.  There is no sensation where the magnet attaches to my head to transmit the sounds from the sound processor to the actual implant inside my head.  Having assured myself that I did have the sound processor on, I returned to my route to the office.

In many situations the hearing seems very normal and natural.  As I have previously stated, some voices seem a little higher, but most are fairly much as I remember them.  I don't hear very high pitches, but it has been that way for a long time.  A lot of things about my hearing in general, are much as they had been in the past.  I have to pay close attention to understand what people say.  Tonight our two oldest grandsons are spending the night with us.  The oldest one was at Driver's Ed class tonight (how can he be that old?).  I picked up the other grandson on my way home from having supper with my mom and Ron.  He and I chatted all the way home.  As with many teens, I had to remind him to "turn up his volume" so I could hear.  But we did have a good conversation on the way home.  He has such a vivid imagination!   In fact both of the older boys do.  The oldest gave me some stories to read tonight that he has written.  The second one was telling me about the script for a movie he is working on.  What was I doing at 14 and 15?  I think I recall being in a chair at my grandma's house, with my legs up the back of the chair, my back in the seat of the chair, and my head hanging off the seat of the chair, telling her about a movie I had seen and she asked if I could tell her and sit still.  I said, "No."  I sure wasn't thinking about writing a book or a movie as these guys are. 

We are so blessed with the family we have.  I love to have time to really talk to the grandchildren.  They have amazing things to share, it just takes being able to hear.  And now I can!  There are so many things all of them say that I would have hated to miss.  Even things like, "I wish Mom cut the same size pieces of Rice Krispy Treats that you do."  (I think I am safe.  I don't think my daughter-in-law reads this very often.)  You know the saying about, "What happens at Grandma's house, stays at Grandma's house."

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