I rang in New Years Eve with a quiet night at home with the toddler and hubby. And I do mean quiet, because the toddler didn’t nap so he was in bed at eight p.m., and the hubby had worked that day, and crashed from 8 pm to 11 pm, waking just in time to see the last hour of 2013 fade away.
So what did I do? I was sitting on my couch watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s ROCKIN Eve. I’ve watched this almost annually for as long as I can remember, and I had always enjoyed seeing the performances. That night was no exception, but there was a difference. This time I was hearing with a cochlear implant sound processor, and hearing aid. Bilateral hearing at its finest, at least for me. I’ve slowly been gaining more speech differentiation with the auditory verbal therapy, but I still needed the captions, as I hadn’t heard most of the songs performed before. I saw old favourites, and new performers, and fell in love with a couple of new groups. I still don’t like hip hop, nothing could ever change that.
Because of the C.I., I was getting so much more, the music itself sounded distinctive, and I could separate out some of the different instruments at times. The singers, I could pick up some of the accents they had, as they sang, or spoke. The hosts, sounded different to me than they had in the past, meaning I am starting to hear the nuances of the way people talk and their regional accents.
I turned up the volume, and as I watched, moved with the music on the couch, and really truly enjoyed the experience. I wish I could have gone out dancing, but even being at home, this was a far better experience for me than it ever had been. My life is becoming so much more enriched by the new sounds I am hearing, and being able to pick up little nuances over the television is astounding to me.
I’ve come a long way since I was activated in May 2012, but I still have a ways to go. The phone is still hit and miss, but my confidence is growing, and my success rate is becoming more hits than misses. My speech comprehension is steadily improving, with lip reading and without. The biggest change of 2013, was in the last few months, with our toddler’s speech developing, and my ability to assist him, understand him, and model for him is far better than it had been with my older two children at that age. Hearing higher frequency sounds, and localizing them, or distinguishing them amongst background noise is steadily improving.
This year will mark my two year anniversary of having the C.I. It also will be the year my oldest daughter turns thirteen (yikes!), my middle son turns nine, and my youngest turns three. We have two weddings in the family to attend, and I cannot wait to show my extended family on both sides the strides I have made since my surgery. I cannot wait to hear what they think of my progress. I anticipate a lot more growth for me this year and the journey is becoming more enjoyable and interesting. I am excited to see what else I will learn to hear and distinguish.
I still however, feel the loss of the hearing when I am not wearing my sound processor, or my hearing aid. It is disconcerting when I am alone at night, sleeping, knowing I cannot hear anything. The left ear even seems softer in what I do hear, even though the hearing is at the same level it always was. It is the biggest thing about my deafness I don’t like, my sense of security and safety, but there isn’t much that can be done about it.
This year I will be focusing on my writing, and finding a way to turn it into some income, finding a job, and also hopefully reaching out to the community and teaching and sharing about deafness, and my experiences. I have a few ideas milling around too in my head, so hopefully they will come to fruition this year.
I wish you all great success and happiness in the year ahead, and hope that you all will take one day and find something in the day to appreciate and feel thankful for. There is always something positive to appreciate, you just have to find it.