Resolutions

We all make them yearly. To quit smoking, drinking, get healthy by losing weight and so on.. I decided to jumpstart mine.

I have three:

1. To get healthy.
2. Work harder on my AVT and rehabilitation
3. To develop self sustaining income Through: BeachBody (I can sponsor anyone in Canada or United States ) and Primerica (in Ontario only)

I’ve already started working on #1&3.

I recently began Les Mills Pump, through Beachbody. After Four days I am already hooked. I love this program already. The best part: all the DVDs are SUBTITLED! Which really helps me a lot, and they’re so easy to follow.
So I decided to become a Coach. To see what BeachBody is about, you can go to http://teambeachbody.com/DeafChica.

I wear the Neptune Processor while doing Les Mills and have had no issues with it coming off or interfering in any of the exercises. So far anyway.

As for #2, I am working on it. However I do wear the processor daily and am finding it getting easier to understand my three year old, who is still developing his speech.

So why not jumpstart your own revolutions?!

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Gotta say.. This is the longest I’ve stuck with a program in a row. Makes me sad that Les Mills Pump didn’t renew contract with BeachBody.

So if you don’t want to miss out on this great program and offer while supplies last:

http://teambeachbody.com/DeafChica

Go to shop: and Fitness Programs, select Les Mills, there is the Pump and Combat .. Get them now, as they’re 40% off right now!

Progress?

I haven’t been to my AVT sessions since July. Many things have gotten in the way including car repairs, and a family medical emergency. However I have worn my processor fairly consistently, and with working on my son’s speech therapy homework the past three months, I’ve learned to pick up his mistakes. I can tell when a sound is missing, or what he is trying to say. He made great strides and I feel confident he will continue on this path he is on.

I’m resuming my sessions this Friday, and I’m excited to see whether I’ve progressed since my last appointment.

We are in a countdown towards Christmas and I’ve nearly finished my shopping, yay! I’m so excited!

Long Overdue Mini Update

I haven’t written for some time. Since the spring I’ve been busy coaching soccer, enjoying the summer, and entering a new venture with Primerica. I also am a volunteer liaison for a company and working on a charity soccer tournament in my local town.

I am still doing my AVT, and learned some interesting things at my last appointment in July. That while I can hear the F sound, it seems as if I can’t because my brain lipreads it better than an S, and therefore doesn’t really seem to register the sound. It was puzzling as I can pick up the S sound no problem. Still working on these high frequency sounds, but I’m making good progress and hope to resume AVT next month. Meanwhile I practice on my iPad a few times a week still.

We had a medical crisis in our family last month, and we are all still adjusting. It was a heartbreaking time for me as a parent. It did however prompt me to order a medic alert bracelet, as pictured here:

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Don’t wait! There tons of different sites with different options and affordability.

My youngest is in a speech language group, that he started late September. Since then, he has exploded in vocabulary, and finally speaks more three and four word sentences. Still some work he needs to do, but we are so thrilled with his progress. Myself, I’m understanding him much more easily now, even when I don’t have my processor on.

To those still following and reading and sharing, thank you. I’ll try to do better with my posts.

Deaf for a Day Challenge

John Barrowman, a British Actor known for his role as the dashing Captain Jack on Dr. Who, went deaf for a day. Here is a link to his blog, and video clip. click here

I love that he did this to raise awareness for the hearing dogs in Britain. He succinctly and accurately describes the effects of a sudden hearing loss. His fatigue, the efforts to communicate, anxiety over his surroundings are all what we experience daily.

I wish more people would try this experiment for a day, or even better, a week. Particularly family and friends who don’t always understand the difficulties I experience daily. Even with the aid of my hearing aid, and cochlear implant processor (which does make things easier), it is still exhausting.

Going deaf for a day is a drop in the bucket of what deaf people live with and experience daily. Let’s create a full bucket of those experiences.

My challenge to my readers:

If you’re a hearing person reading this, I want to challenge you to go deaf for a day, and email me here your experience. I may even add it to my book that I am writing. Write anything and everything that comes to mind about your experience.

Go to a hearing Center, and explain what you plan to do, and have them create a sound blocking mold for you. Go about your life as you normal do and record all your thoughts and experiences for the day. If you’re brave enough, try going for a week. I’d love to see what experiences you have, and will share with my readers your experiences.

Those of you who are deaf, see if your friends and family will participate, so that they may gain an insight into your lives.

Good luck!

The Cochlea- My Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction Submission for 2014

After a long six months wait, I learned that my submission didn’t make the longlist. It was my first submission, so I am hardly surprised, but a tad disappointed. Only a handful of people have seen this during the writing process, thanks to them, I put together a story I felt comfortable submitting.

Continue reading

Seriously Stoked

Yesterday I went to my two year activation follow up. I was feeling some trepidation on the way because I left my six months follow up devastated at the results. My emotions and expectations had been very high, and unrealistic that day. Even though I knew that it might not be what I had hoped, my heart wanted more. I scored low that day. While I understood that it was early yet, and I had much work to do, that we were still tweaking my programming it was still devastating.

So this time I kept my expectations in check, and came home quite pleased, and stoked about one particular test. After my AVT session where we verified how much I’d progressed in my speech discrimination. Despite sporadic use of the processor due to chronic headaches, and an infected tooth (caused me to grind my teeth), I still responded almost perfectly.

I cannot hear f, th and s, sh, ch, c, k only moderately well; but can hear the rest of the speech sounds. These sounds are in the high frequency range, which we are still working on gaining access to, and my brain still needs training on recognizing them. We are still working on gaining better distinction between similar sounds like c and k.

Then it was time to see my audiologist and do the sound test and speech discrimination test. With just the CI, and no hearing aid, I comprehended about 32% of the sentences. This was understandable due to the amount of high frequency speech sounds. When I put my hearing aid in, my speech discrimination jumped drastically, by 36% to 68% accuracy. That’s huge in my book. The same occurred with the word speech discrimination test. I even felt more confident than I had at my six month follow up.

Then she showed me the audiogram of the sound test we had started with. It was not what I had thought I would see. I had expected a mild-moderate range of improvement. Instead: it was normal to mild range, which had me stunned. I never expected, or dreamed that the cochlear implant would yield such a big gain in my hearing. I would have been satisfied with a mild to moderate level.

Below are four images. The first one is the audiogram of my left ear from January of this year. I don’t have one of the right ear before it was implanted, however it was virtually the same, but a tad worse, so we implanted that ear.

The second audiogram is the implanted right ear, and the current level of hearing I have with the cochlear implant. You can see that it is ALMOST an across the board level of hearing, around the 20db range. At 2000 MHz and higher, it drops to about 30db range.

The other two show the speech banana, showing where speech sounds and environment sounds fall on the spectrum, and where the different levels of hearing loss fall on the chart.

Although my hearing with the cochlear implant is almost normal, it does not however mean that I comprehend speech like a hearing person. All it means is that while I may hear those speech sounds, my brain still needs to be trained to recognize them. As previously mentioned, the higher frequency speech sounds are still difficult to hear, and distinguish from each other. However, with lots and lots of practice and training, I might get there.

Having never heard these sounds for forty years, I’d say it’s an amazing result, for only two years since my activation. The future is bright, and full of promise. Future advancements in the processors may one day allow me to achieve better. For now, I will take yesterday’s results, and run with it.

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Diversity Within

Diversity to many of us usually calls up different cultures, skin colour, languages and so on. There is diversity within each community, even a small community of 500 is diverse. So too is there diversity within a Deaf community. Most people think the Deaf community is composed of people that are completely deaf, and only sign. While that was once true, it has changed greatly, and continues to change rapidly. Unfortunately, many within the Deaf community prefer that it remain only signing, and are vehement about their position towards those who don’t meet their criteria.

The Deaf community as I see it contains a large group of adults and children who:
have a variety of levels of hearing loss,
born with the loss or late deafened
may use hearing aids or have a cochlear implant,
may go without a hearing aid or cochlear implant,
may use ASL, SEE or don’t sign
may be oral as I am, or speak when needed

The choices of a deaf or HOH person shouldn’t subject them to audism and bigotry from others in the Deaf community. Yet it does, and the Deaf community is extremely negative towards those that don’t sign, that have cochlear implants, or choose to be oral only.

Over the past couple of weeks there has been much debate over these topics. The majority of the people debating these topics are people who are open minded, educated on the topics, and are respectful towards others. However there are a group of individuals who choose to be negative towards others; they claim they are not judging and yet they are.

These people criticize the use of the cochlear implant, and spread misinformation, myths, and don’t cite reliable sources for their reasoning. They complain about not being accepted by the hearing, by the HOH, by those like me who is oral, and chose to get the cochlear implant. Yet they don’t accept the great diversity that is in their community. Too much focus is put on our choices and the choices made by hearing parents rather than embracing the diversity that comes from those choices.

Those naysayers, and critical, judgemental people have lost sight of the fact that the world has changed. That we have greater access to technology than we once have, that we benefit from. That those of us who are oral and living in the hearing community are representatives of the Deaf community, and are our advocates for bringing change. Change in captioning in movie theatres, on apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus, and in entertainment. They are advocates for educating the hearing on the lives and challenges of the Deaf community. They’ve lost sight of the fact that together as a whole we can bring more changes to accessibility for the Deaf.

There is an oft quoted mantra that applies here:

DIVIDED WE FALL, UNITED WE STAND

By remaining divisive within the Deaf community we will always struggle to gain the accessibility we need. We will continue to struggle to gain the assistance needed in our education, work, and everyday lives. Our children and their parents will continue to be made to choose between signing or speaking by the professionals and the Deaf in the community who should be advocating for both.

Technology is changing, and I see much of it still being optimized for the hearing population and any accessibility for the deaf population will be an afterthought. Captioning has been around for years but it is still lagging in the entertainment and media industries, just looking at YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Cinema Now reveals the lack of thought for the deaf community.

It is law in Canada and the United States that accommodations must be provided in all social services, places of employment, and businesses and yet we are still lagging behind for the deaf, as well as the blind, physically challenged, and mentally challenged individuals in our society.

So why is the Deaf Community allowing themselves to remain divided, and not accept our own diversity?

DIVIDED WE FALL, UNITED WE STAND