Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Hello Everyone...

I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all. As's been a while since I posted.

I just had a birthday earlier this week and I'm officially 30 years old. YIKES! Don't tell anyone. We'll just keep it our little cyber-secret. My niece and her boyfriend Justin came down last weekend and we had a blast. We went to the mountains here in TN which had snow and it was so cold due to the higher elevation ( over 5000 ft above see level). It was beautiful though and we had so much fun. I will try to post a picture at the bottom of the post. We also went to Cades Cove and saw so many deer and even got to see Bears! Yes! We saw a Mamma bear and two baby cubs. They were crossing the road...or trying many people were pulled over as we were all amazed to see these black bears. It was so amazing to see them.

I did ask my niece if she noticed any difference with the implant. She said YES she could tell a difference and for some reason I was surprised. My husband notices a difference but I would think he would since he went through the whole process with me. The good, the bad and the ugly. So, it was bound to see me go from hearing a chain saw noise only to finally understanding speech. I guess I don't really notice that much of a difference. Sounds crazy doesn't it? Okay, that REALLY sounds nutty b/c I know there is a difference. Let me try to explain it another way. I KNOW there is a difference but I think I expect myself to notice it and not so much other people since I'm the one hearing things I haven't heard in the past. I think that makes MUCH better sense! Thanks for letting me think that one out a little bit. Haha.

I do know that before I could go without the implant even though I didn't. I have diligently worn the implant from the very beginning. I pushed myself hard and wore it at work....I wore it all day from the beginning and still do. I never felt that I "needed" to wear it. However, now I do. If I just tried to wear the hearing aid I would be lost. I do wear the hearing aid sometimes along the implant as it gives me more clarity with words. I can go without the hearing aid all day. I just use when I feel like it. If I'm in a meeting at work I will use it for that as it helps me understand more. I am not as dependent upon it as I am the implant that is for sure! Despite how much I love the implant I can not ignore how much the hearing aid helps me. In fact, I'm not even "eligible" for an implant in the left ear because I do so well with the hearing aid. Although, I do think that will change eventually. I'm willing to wait for the "eventually". Haha. I'm happy with what I have for now!

Well, I ended up writing a book and I just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all! We all have a lot to be thankful for and technology is one of them! :-) I'm thankful for being Bionic! Not just the implant but the insulin pump I use as well. They are both life changing devices and I'm thankful. I must say it would have been very hard to get the implant if I didn't have my fellow bloggers who have taken the time to share their experiences and their lives. I hope one day that someone who is "consdering" getting an implant will read my blog and feel as if I helped them.

Well, I better get ready. For some strange reason my in-laws have Thanksgiving at 11:30am. Pretty crazy eh? I call it Thanksgiving Breakfast!

The picture below is me, my husband, my niece Heather and her boyfriend Justin. We are at New Found Gap here in TN. It's actually on the TN/NC boarder. As I mentioned earlier it's high up in the mountains and it was truly freezing. Don't we LOOK cold? It was so much fun though. :-) My husband is the one to the left of the picture and I assure you he's cold. I can tell by the look on his face! Haha.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I can offically say...

I think I say this in every post I write. I'll say it plainly and straightforward today; "When people told me in the beginning that it (sounds, background noise etc.) would get better I didn't believe them"'s true I really didn't believe them. However, THEY were right and I was wrong. It does get better. How it gets better...I can't even explain....when does it get better....I have no idea when it happened it just kinda happened. Thank God things are better.

So, I had an appointment with my audiologist today. It went really well. She really listens to me and listens to my input and gives me her input. I really have come to like her a lot. I had some programs moved around. We actually added a little more volume as well. My volume was at 9 but the volume that was on level 9 is now at level 6.This way I can add volume if I want. For listening practice I have been downloading sermons from favorite Speakers/Pastors and listening to that. Sometimes the MP3 doesn't have the best sound quality and I want to turn the volume up. Now I will have the option to do that which is nice. I think that is my favorite change of the day.

I did have another hearing test done. This time with words. I scored 88% on one test and 92% on the other test. I think I scored 88% on the one syllable word and then scored 92% on the longer words. Not bad though. My audiologist was very happy about it. I don't have to return until February unless I "need” to go back for some reason. I have no doubt I will be okay until then. I may go back sooner and see if my audiologist can help me with the digital hearing aid I have...that's always been an issue for me. I wear a hearing aid in my left ear and it is really old. I have a digital hearing aid that I was not able to get used to so it just sits around unused and I really need to start using it. I just had a hard time adjusting to it. Voices just sounded horrible with the digital hearing aid. However, now that I've been through this entire implant process (not that it is over but you know what I mean) I'm wondering if I should try to give the digital implant I try. Perhaps I have a bit more patience when it comes to things sounding "bad". :-) We'll find out.

My presentation (about Type I diabetes) that I did this morning at UT went really well. I enjoyed it a lot. I love speaking and sharing my own life experiences. The students asked a ton of great questions so I really enjoyed that interaction a lot. It was a full day! After the presentation I went to my audiology appt. then went to the Mall to eat and browse around. Afterward, I went to vote, then I went and got my hair cut! What a crazy day. I was worried about getting my hair cut due to the huge bald spot...well, it's not bald anymore. I guess I should say the huge Fuzz spot on my head. Haha. The person who cut my hair was great about it and it was no big deal. I'm glad I waited to get it cut though. I forgot how much they pull on your hair/head. I don’t think I would have thought about it otherwise. I think it took my head a while to “heal”. My head isn't as sensitive anymore but it was for a long time. I am not as aware that there is something in my head anymore either. That took a while to get used to for some reason. If someone asked me to some up in ONE word the most important aspect of the implant process I would say “TIME”. No question about it.

Well, that's my "book" for tonight. I wrote my than I expected to. I want everyone to know that I realize I haven't been "behind the scenes" a lot lately. However, I am still reading everyone's blogs and paying attention more than you know!

I haven't mentioned this yet but felt it was important. I have finally come to the point that I can officially say...the surgery was worth it...including the 80,000 bucks they charged me. LOL!!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Yes, I have NEWS! Some really GOOD news! :-)

So, on the way home from work on Thursday I was talking to my Mom on my cell phone. I use the t-link when I talk on my cell phone. I put my hearing aid on T-coil and can use the phone pretty well with that. Well, after talking to my Mom I thought maybe I'll try my cell phone/t-link with the CI. So, I told my husband to use the home phone to call me on my cell phone. I knew it would sound bad and that I wouldn't understand anything. W-R-O-N-G! Well, it did sound bad but I heard everything he said. I even went outside to make sure I wasn't hearing him in the other room. I was so excited that I called my sister Liz and talked to her for a few minutes. I understood her as well. Then I call my niece but got her voice mail but I understood every word of it. Then I called my Mom back of course she didn't understand how I could understand speech with the CI. I've been saying (since I was activiated) "no, I can't understand speech yet". I think I'm a creature of habit and just assumed I've been reading lips. My niece called me back and I talked to her and then I talked to my friend Susan on the phone too. It was exciting. So, I DO have speech...I just didn't realize it. I did notice that when I was using the phone and talking to other people they didn't sound like themselves. They still have that helium sound to it but hey, at least I understood it. Since the t-link I have has dual hooks I can use both ears and will try to do that from now on. I think having the CI AND the hearing aid will just help me understand phone conversations that much more.

So, what made me try using the phone? Well, about 2 nights before I had Jason quiz me on some words before we went to bed. I was laying in bed facing the wall (away from him) so that I couldn't read his lips. He must have tested me for about 20 minutes or so using different words and random sentences. I got about two of them wrong. One word he was saying was "tower" and I kept saying "towel" I thought that's what he was saying. I think I should get some credit for that b/c they sound really close. Haha. Even though I did well on the quiz I didn't think much of it. I guess I just thought I was getting lucky. Now I know that I am understanding. The phone would be the ultimate test so that is cool. I go to the audiologist a week from Monday and I think she will do another hearing test but this time she will use words. I don't expect pass it with flying colors because...well, things still don't sound "great" so it is easy for me to get confused. However, before I couldn't even entertain the idea of my audi doing a hearing test using sentences and words but now I can! Yay.

I really need to go back to working on my listening skills. I spend all my spare time looking for a job. I worked my butt of for my Master's degree and I have nothing to show for it but debt. It's been exhausting and extremely discouraging. I am beyond depressed about it. However, there is only so much I can do. At least I have good news on the CI front. That lifts my spirits a little!

Well, I just wanted to share my news. I can truly remember the first two weeks with the CI and I can honestly say I never thought in a million years it could possibly get better. It's nice to know I was wrong! :-) I just remember when people told me "it will get better"...I was like "yeah right" but I willed myself to trust and have faith in those words. Thank God I did! I think it's something that you have to experience for yourself. The beginning was just yucky and I'm glad to be past that part. Whew!

Well, that's my update for now. I will try to post back after my audiology appt. on October 27th. Oh that same day I am doing a presentation for a class at the University of TN. I will be doing a presentation about a day in the life with type I diabetes. I love doing presentations!!! I remember being nervous that the CI might get in the way of it b/c I don't understand speech that well. However, now I'm not so worried about it. I think that during the question/answer time I should be okay. Of course I will tell the class that I am hearing imparied so it shouldn't be a problem.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Long Time No Post...

Hello!!! Anyone out there? :-)

I know it's been a while since I've posted. I have been reading blogs. I just haven't been posting much. I apologize. I really don't have much to share to be honest. Things are still the same. I guess you can say I'm at a stand-still. I "hear" things and have learned to identify a lot of sounds. However, I still don't understand speech yet. It just lacks clarity. Voices still sound "different". Voices still have that helium sound to it. I wish I could explain it better but I can't. Describing sounds is HARD work!!

I have noticed that the sounds that used to bother me are not as bad anymore. I confess that I'm still not "friends" with plastic bags yet. The sound is still uncomfortable. I have also noticed that when I first put my CI on in the mornings it takes a couple of minutes to "adjust". My "bionic ear" is a little sensitive in the morning. I have noticed that I can tolerate my dog wearing his collar. Before I would have to take it off b/c his name tags rattling was annoying and somewhat painful. I think it was just the high pitch that drove me crazy. Running water isn't so bad...unless it's early and the same with the toilet flushing. I assure matter how much I hated the sound of the toilet flushing...I still flushed! I assure you. :-)

That's really all I have on the CI front. I have lost count of the mappings. I say I've had about 5 or 6 mappings and I don't go back until the end of October. I just wish I could understand speech!!! I remind myself often that the implant hasn't even been activated for 2 months! So, I think I need to chill out a little. :-)

Until next time....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


It has been a while since I've posted. Sorry about neglecting the blog! It isn't intentional. I had a mapping last Thursday. I also had a hearing test. I did not have a speech test. All I did was listen to the beeps and the results were astounding. I will try to post my previous hearing test and the current one so everyone can see it. I expected it to be a moderate hearing loss....maybe a little bit of mild in there. However, I have a mild hearing loss with a little bit of "normal" hearing. Haha. I thought I was going to faint when she showed me the audiogram. It's definitely good news. I needed that encouragement. I really did. I still have long way to go...miles and miles and miles to go. I'm still not understanding speech yet. However, it's nice to feel encouraged. So, now I know why I'm hearing so many things! It's b/c I have a mild hearing loss! That will make you hear lots of things. :-)

On Thursday we added some programs to the processor. So, I have autosensensitivity now. NICE! I like it. She took ADRO out and put in autosensensitivity only since I liked it so much. However, when I go back next Thursday I'm going to ask for a program with autosensensitivity and ADRO together. I want to compare the two. I have BEAM as P3 and I only used it at Church for the sermon but it worked. Regardless of the program the music was just LOUD. However, I was able sit through it. I figured it's not like it's going to blow my ear drum out or anything. :-) I don't wear my hearing aid at all. In fact, I just got a new ear mold for it and it needs to be shaved a little bit b/c it's causing a sore in my ear. I don't wear it b/c my brain just depends on it too much. Don't get me wrong...I WILL wear it but I want to get used to the implant. I have made that a goal for myself and I want to stick to it. I usually keep the hearing aid in my ear and turn it on when I need it but b/c it's causing the sore I just leave it out for now. I will get the ear mold adjusted when I go to the audiologist next week. No problem! It truly has been an amazing few weeks. I just typed months and had to correct it. I realized the implant hasn't been activated a month yet. I won't count the "initial" activation since that didn't go very well. I was able to start wearing it on August in four days I will reach my one month mark. I admit that the changes that have happened are so subtle. Lets not forget the ROAR (chain saw) sound I had. I never thought it was going to go away. I hated it...gosh it was horrible. Today, I have no idea where that sound went and I don't even remember it going away. It just happens and it's hard to pinpoint when it happens. The air conditioner and the fridge used to drive me batty and now I don't even realize they are on unless and I stop and listen for it. The brain really does adapt. Of course have the autosensitivity is helping soften some sounds. I'm sure when I get the ADRO back on I will go crazy again for a few days.

The other day I was in the living room and I said to my husband "Do I hear fireworks going off"? He stopped and listened and said "I don't hear anything" and then he leaned closer to the window and looked at me and said "Wow, there ARE fireworks going off and you heard them and I didn't". That was funny. I think the biggest shock happened last week at work. You have to remember I just had a mapping on Thursday so it takes a few days for me to adjust. On Friday afternoon I kept hearing this "noise". It wasn't loud or painful. I could just hear "something" that I haven't heard before while working. I finally asked my co-worker "What is that noise and I tried to describe it. Immediately he said "It's the lawn mower outside". I about fell out of my chair. I work in a building that is HUGE! In fact it used to be a Lowe's! Do you know how big this building is? I heard a lawn mower OUTSIDE...BEHIND the building. I went looking for it. We don't have windows in the building b/c it's more like a warehouse turned into an office building. Well, my other co-worker tried to help me find it too but we didn't. All we know is that the lawnmower was behind the building. I was truly amazed I heard that. It was just bizarre. When the sound stopped I realized it immediately. As I said it wasn't "loud". I was just aware of it. That was a "moment". :-)

I have lots of moments but again they are subtle and sneak up on me. As I said, I do have a long way to go as far as speech goes. I think I am starting to trust it will happen eventually. This doesn't mean I don't do listening skills b/c I do. It also doesn't mean that I don't get frustrated or become impatient b/c I do! I just remember I never thought the roar would go away and it did! :-) Plus, I am in the speech range according to my audiogram. I definitely have hope...

My new audiogram is below. The audiogram on the top is the old one and the audiogram below that is the new one. I think the greatest change you will notice...well the whole thing is improved across the board but if you look at the high pitches I scored 120db before the CI. You may not be able to tell but the arrow is pointing downward (so it's below the charts). In the exact same spot on the new audiogram I'm at 20db. I went from 120db to 20db. LOL. Isn't that just astounding? In case you didn't know...normal hearing starts at anything at 20db and up is normal range.
Most of the sounds on my new audiogram are right about 30db "mild" hearing loss. I have a very small bit at normal but it still blows me away. I will take "mild" hearing over that other audiogram any day of the week! :-)

The orange highlight is the right ear (implanted ear).
They tested both ears on the older audiogram and
I wanted to make sure people knew the
highlighted part is the implanted ear.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Listening Practice...

Well, last night I decided to try listening practice again. I took a break for a couple of days...maybe more than a "couple" of days. My husband would quiz me on words from time to time when I asked him but that was it. I always got them wrong. As I mentioned in my last post I was frustrated so I took a break from it.

I have been using the microphone that connects to the processor and it eliminates background noise. That helps a little when reading books (my husband reads them and I follow along). So, last night I decided to use some websites for listening practice. I used the stereo connection to hook up to my laptop. This connects to the processor and then directly to a stereo, or laptop...anything with a stereo connection. Well, it was surprising. I understood a majority of the testing. In fact, there were tests that would cause guessing to be hard since you had several options to choose from. Some of it is still "guessing". People don't necessarily focus on EVERY word but the important ones. I'm not fooled though I know that I was guessing on some things. However, what a change. At least I had positive results whereas last week I got every one of them wrong...except this time I was directly connected to the laptop. Using that connection eliminates most of the background noise. My husband also tested me some last night using sentences and words. I did wasn't 100% and he normally had to repeat words about 3 times and then I would get it. It's like my brain needs a few times to get it. When I'm testing without the microphone I normally don't understand much which is annoying. However, it is still encouraging that I am able to understand things...although it's simple things. Simple things are better than "nothing"!!!

I just wanted to share that encouraging news. I know I mentioned this in my last post but I do go to the audiologist on Thursday. I'm hoping that we can add some actual programs besides ADRO. Hopefully that will happen. I'm still on P3 and hope to move up to P4 by's LOUD though. So, we'll see what happens. Thursday is going to be a busy day. I go to the audiologist, then to work, then meeting a friend for dinner, then going directly to the HLAA meeting. It's our first HLAA meeting. We took a break during the summer and I'm so excited to go back. My husband is coming along as well. He's so supportive! Gotta love him for it.

Well...I'm signing off for now. Gotta go play Guitar Hero with my husband. He got the game/guitars for his birthday and it's been extremely addictive!!!! We can't stop playing the game! I'll be sure to post back on Thursday to share my next mapping experience.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Same ol' Same ol'....

It's been a while since I posted. I don't like be silent for too long. Nothing much has really changed since my last post. I did have a mapping last Thursday but all we did was turn things up a notch. I had to get used to it all over again...and I have. I've already moved up to P2 this time around as well. Again, sounds are still the same just louder. I am still very aware of the air conditioner and the fridge but that's okay. Voices still have that mickey-mouse-on-helium through-static-type vibe to it. I don't understand speech at all and it's getting quite frustrating. In fact, the other night when Jason and I were going through one of the children's books I got down right frustrated. I took a break the last two days. A break from reading the book not from the CI's. I'm not that crazy! Today, I laid in bed most of the day and read a book and it was glorious! I just need to relax and not do anything and I did exactly that. Of course I go back to work tomorrow. At my next mapping we are hoping to introduce some actual programs that can be used besides ADRO. However she wants me to try to get to P4 by my next appt. but if I can't that's okay. I have tired P4 and WOW that's LOUD!!!! I will slowly try to move up but I am not making any promises. Haha. I am hoping that we can tweak something besides loudness. I feel like I am not going to understand speech unless we are able to change something besides volume. My next mapping is September 11th...hopefully something good will come from it despite it being the anniversary of something terrible.

Well...signing out for now....