Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jonesin For Clear Sound In A Noisy World

Thursday, I will grace the wonderful confines of Sunnybrook Hospital. I will visit the building and the people who restored sound to my life in May of 2008 after nine months in a cone of silence. It is a "working visit" as I have an appointment with the world reknowned audiology department for a schedule maintenance.

Sort of like a 25,000 KM tune up and oil change.

My audiologist will ask me how my hearing is, and I will respond as always: "Have none, still deaf as a stump".
But I will also fill her in on how my new digital sound is keeping me in the game sort to speak.

I hear most conversation in quiet, quite possibly in the 90% range when tested in the word comprehension game.
We play the "Repeat what you hear" game in a closed booth where I face the wall and listen nervously to a mechanica man made loud speakerl speaker in the room.

"What time does this train depart for Bologna?"
Me: "What lime does this pain fart in My Sherrona?"

They may or may test me to confirm this. I hope so, I so enjoy messin with the audiologist.

In noise, I, like most fellow CI-Borgs, suffer in comprehension. Put us in our McDonald's at lunch tim, e near a high school where the shrieks and noise make it hard on the hearing to get conversation, and us CIers just sit and nod when asked anything.
"Pass the salt"
I just nod and smile.
Fake it to make it.

I am, however, miles from where I was when I was first activated, and even in noise, I can get the meat of the conversation if I know the topic, and struggle to stay in the game.
Concentration is required, but it works. Follow the lips, know the topic, don't drift off. Stay FOCUSED to stay part of the planet built for hearing.

I just read about a new hearing strategy that my Cochlear Implant manufacturer is launching. It is called ClearVoice, and the reviews have me excited. It is designed for those noisy environments that we suck at hearing. One user described it the difference as "going from hearing a conversation in a jeep with the top down, to hearing the conversation in a high end Mercedes with windows rolled up. Quiet and nice"

I am intrigued, and will pursue with the good medical people at my clinic.

Phones still are the worst part of my "integration" back into the normal civilized world that favors the hearing, and punishes those of us with the "hidden handicap" - D/deafness. But I try and try to talk on the phone.

Some days are diamond and some are stone. Some phone calls are golden and "I get it" I really get it. Some suck as bad as the closed captioning horror and comedy show that networks give us to follow along. CC is worse than muddled hearing in most cases, and I have posted about this, and will continue to push where I can to get proper Closed Captioning for the hearing impaired in this country.

I still wake up every day and ensure I am indeed with pulse and on the right side of the grass. I check the Irish "Sports pages" (the obituaries) to ensure that I am indeed not is some elaborate dream that has awake and having coffee, and in my dream I read about my untimely (or timed!) demise.
After confirmation that I am still amongst the living, I quietly give thanks for what I have. I am one lucky deaf dog to be here, and will never let a day pass without giving thanks for all the love I have in my life, the people, the planet and all it's glory.

And my wonderful cochlear implant that gives me sound.

Glorious sound!

I still want to try "ClearVoice"




LegalMist said...

I hope ClearSound is all that it promises to be. :)

And I'm with you on enjoying life today. It is a glorious day here in Arizona - cool this morning, should be 90 or so this afternoon. Pleasantly warm to almost hot, but not uncomfortable. Clear blue sky. Cool air and a gentle breeze. I love this time of year!!

Wishing you all the best up there in Canada, too!

Gerry Hatrić said...

Ditto on ClearSound.

I have stammered all my life, and in earlier days to the point where I struggled to put more than two words in a row under pressure situations. Even now after so many years, and a reduced stammer, I still fear the phone.

We also have devices that allegedly cure the stammer, but we stammerers face a strange reluctance to face up to our affliction and for some reason wearing an appliance is worse than stammering occasionally - we live in hope that we might just not stammer. I wonder if you feel that too or whether the desire to hear at all outweighs any embarrassment you might feel?

What I'm trying to say (rather inadequately) is that I empathise with your situation. I have a brilliant life, but I stammer too.

Keep on smiling! :)

Government Funded Blogger said...

Clear Voice does sound(sic) promising . Hah technology!. With some hearing loss that I have my experience in McDonalds is similar to yours. I solved the problem though. I stay away from McDonalds.My Sherona....crappy piece that.
Good luck with your tune up ,Dave

grammyof13 said...

very good post. Thanks for letting us into your life to experience for a moment what you must every day.

Life As I Know It Now said...

Thank you for sharing these difficulties with us. My husband is beginning to suffer from hearing loss as he gets older. He is an engineer and drives a train and the noise the engines and cars make are ever so slowly killing his hearing, even with federally mandated hearing protection on. That is just some kind of sick joke you know--federally mandated hearing protection--head phones to cover the ears, little orange pieces of foam to stick in your ear; what utter crap it all is.

You have been through quite a bit and I think it would be nice if you had a nice piece of news about your hearing when you go to hospital. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I hope your tune-up and testing went well, David! :) Like you, I'm really looking forward to ClearVoice based on the rave reviews from people who have tested it.

The phone is my biggest challenge post-CI. I can hear a word here and there, usually enough to piece together a semblance of what was said, but not enough to make me confident enough to depend on the phone like I used to. I still avoid it like the plague!

Have a great week,


Anonymous said...

I always feel as if I am deaf when I read these posts of yours because your descriptions are so unique and clear. I then realize, again, that I need to be more mindful of the things I take for granted, like hearing. Thank you again.

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Anonymous said...

It's been a year since I got my hearing instruments. It doesn't make all the issues go away, but it sure as shootin' helps. The phone thing is a huge thing with me, though. I didn't know when I chose my instruments, that they didn't work well with phones. Dang. At least it gets me off the hook for answering the phones at work!

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Nishant said...

I love this time of year!!

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