Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Everyday Noise

Hard to believe we are halfway through August already! And this is only my second blog of the month.

Yesterday was a fabulous day. I got my new cochlear implant speech processor -- the Nucleus Freedom. I had the implant surgery in 1990; however, my last speech processor broke down more than a year ago. The processors are pricey little things.

Anyways. Yesterday was THE day. When the audiologist finished programming my processor (yes, I am part robot -- each of the 22 electrodes in the cochlea is individually programmed) and turned it on, it was awesome! Everything was a little bit "loud" at first -- something of a shock to my nerves and brain. But the longer I wore it, the "smoother" everything seemed.

(Want the in-depth scoop? Google "cochlear implant" or "Nucleus Freedom cochlear implant." That will give you more than you ever wanted to know.)

Right now, I am marveling at the sound of my computer keys clicking and trying to figure out if there's a bird singing outside or something.

Suddenly, I'm hearing little things you probably take for granted, like the ding of an arriving elevator, the heartbeat of your car's turn signal, the sound coffee makes when you're pouring it into a mug.
Baxter makes a lot of noise slurping his water.
It's easier to scan your items at the WalMart self checkout when you can hear the scanner beep!
I can hear vehicles approaching on the road.
I took Baxter swimming in the creek yesterday evening, and was amazed at how much noise we made with the splashing, and how much noise HE made when he shook the water off himself.

I can't understand speech, but it does help my lipreading skills and my speech is probably going to get clearer as time goes on.

It's going to be a continual learning process. I currently have four levels of "programs" on my speech processor, each one progresses a little bit wider in the levels of things I can hear. Not necessarily "louder," but more like a threshold. It's hard to explain without getting too scientific. The more I have it turned on, the better I will get at using it.

So far, I LOVE it. I've only turned it off twice: once to go to bed last night and once this morning when I could not stand the roar of the vacuum cleaner. I'm sure there will be other times where I will cherish the silence. It's kind of a nice perk to be able to do both.

Right now, I have the windows open at my house, and it was pretty cool to hear a truck coming up the road -- and knowing what it was before it came into view!

I'm sure there will be several conversations in my future that go like this:
Me: "What's that noise?"
Hearing Person: "What? What noise?"
Me: "That noise."
And since I don't know what it is (or how to really mimic sounds), I can't really explain what I am trying to get the hearing person to identify. And since it's probably an everyday noise they've tuned out, well, you get the idea.

Call me bionic woman or whatever. But I'm certainly smiling!


Jen P said...

so happy for you Lisa!

jessica lober said...

That's awesome Lisa! Come visit and listen to the ocean and some music! Happy for ya!