And the Clock on the wall goes tick, tick, tick

This morning I was sitting in my sunroom reading the paper.  Alone. It was very quiet.  My processor is on and I start to hear beep (pause) beep (pause) beep (pause)…  I know this is not a natural sound because the intervals are too regular.  I look around and notice the clock on the wall.  I am hearing the sound of the clock’s sweep second hand as it ticks off the seconds.

Day 1 – Cochear Implant is live.  I try to follow advice that I’ve received and expose myself to a variety of sounds and situations that are part of daily living.  Go to the store, the movies, watch tv, walk the dogs.

I even do a small experiment on myself and connect my processor, via cable to the sound port on my computer.  I then watch the latest episode of ’30 Rock’ on Hulu.  I’m mainlining the sound directly into my head!  Wild.  It’s not all clear and I’m still cheating by using captions but it’s so unbelievable…  This is probably premature but the gadget girl in me couldn’t resist.  Gotta pace myself.

I am a bit overwhelmed with the amount of sound.  And with the volume.  Given that it’s day one, much of what the implant is detecting sounds like high pitched beeps.  So I’m hearing but not yet recognizing everything.  It’s kind of strange because my sort-of-working ear hears things normally (well my normal anyway).  My poor brain isn’t quite sure what to do with all this new input. How to synthesize it all. Yet.

Happy Birthday and Activation Day to Me!

It’s official!  I’m up and running with my cochlear implant.  I can now put to rest crazy fears like, “I hope I don’t have a lemon in my head!”

My core team, consisting of my husband Peter and my sister Catherine, join me for the activation appointment.  We took a few pictures and videotaped most of the session with the audiologist.  I’ll try to piece together and post a bit of footage over the weekend.  No tears and no hallmark moments but still interesting, well certainly for me anyway.

Everything is so LOUD!  Welcome to the world of sounds.  My voice sounds really weird and loud, sort of like I’m talking with a cardboard box over my head.  Peter’s voice is pretty good.  The audiologist and my sister sound okay, with weird high pitched spikes.  I think it’s suddenly the ability to pick up the high frequency consonant sounds.  I can understand them but it’s odd.

My equipment literally fills a small suitcase!  Batteries, cables, cases, covers, chargers, and more!  A gadget lovers dream.  And this is only the first processor.  I will have two external processors, one called the Harmony and an off-the-ear model called the Neptune.  At today’s session we set up the Harmony processor.

The audiologist sets a baseline program and adds a couple more programs, both louder.  Over the next week my sound tolerance will build and I’m supposed to work towards the loudest program.  The weirdness of my voice and the overall hearing experience will change.  Things will start to seem more “normal”.

We do a very short word recognition test where the audiologist covered her mouth and asked me to repeat color names.  I do very well and get approximately, 6 out of 7 correct.  This makes me happy.

After we finish with the audiologist we venture out into the real world to look for a restaurant for supper.  We head down Charles Street at the foot of Beacon Hill.  And it is LOUD but I do okay.  The wind sounds like a flapping flag in my ear.  Sirens, buses, traffic.  At the restaurant, clanking silverware, clinking glasses. Hoo boy.  Everything makes a sound!

More to come…

Barbara holdiing bouquet of flowers in a listening pose

Barbara on Activation Day

Christmas Eve in March?

Tomorrow is Activation Day!  Oh boy, what is that going to be like?

I’ve been warned to brace myself for the noisy world out there.  My brain will be flooded with a plethora of new stimuli.  It will take me some time to sort it out.  jumble of noise sounds spelled out poster style

Everyone’s brain is different.  Everyone’s hearing history and sound memories are different.  I can’t know in advance how quickly or slowly my brain will adapt.  However, my CI friends tell me that I will adapt and I will do better and better.

Again the word patience is used.  Hmm… that is still a challenge for me.  Can’t I just be a superstar and have instant success?  Sigh…  It’s okay.  I understand that effort is expected.  It’s just the child in me trying to avoid my homework.

I’ll be calling on my family and friends to help me out.  I expect there will be a lot of, “Hey!  What’s that sound?”