Monthly Archives: June 2017

At My Service!

Welcome to the 7th and final part of the Changing Cochleas blog series – my journey with a cochlear implant.

 

Service, as defined by online dictionaries, with my additions in italics:

A valuable action, deed, or effort performed by a hearing care professional to satisfy a need or fulfill a demand by a person with hearing loss.

To perform routine maintenance or repair work by assistive hearing technology geniuses on something like a hearing aid, cochlear implant (CI), and other assistive devices.

There it is in a nutshell—what we, the people with hearing loss, need to move us from exclusion to inclusion: competent and caring assessment, support, reduction or elimination of negative emotions, assistive technology and improved communication skills.

The heaven of good service is in the additional details: the technology type, style, cost, and ease of use, along with training on assertiveness, speechreading, and emerging tech stuff, etc.

Family and friends are our communication partners and allies but they aren’t at our service. That’s the role of the hearing specialists and technical geniuses—the professionals, many of whom go far beyond what they’re paid to do. In return, I help them out by being a person on which to practice their trade, showing up for appointments, usually on time, and being honest about my needs so that we can mutually decide the course of action going forward.

I’ve been receiving services and ‘treatments’ for hearing loss since I was two years old. Doctors examined, prodded, scoped, diagnosed, and prescribed (or not). Various hearing professionals put me in the torture chamber…oops, I always get this one wrong…I mean the sound booth…to test my hearing and then make recommendations for hearing aids which they then sell to me.

To continue reading this article, please click here.

Thank you to Cochlear Americas and to HearingHealthMatters.org for their support in the development of the “Changing Cochleas” series. 

Whazzat?

Welcome to Part 6 of Changing Cochleas – my story of adopting a cochlear implant and the life that follows.

 

How’s my life going with a cochlear implant (CI)?

Well, for starters—although I can’t speak for other recipients—it’s a lot LOUDER.

All sounds are louder: the ones that I recognize as well as new ones that, without any visual clues, I need help in identifying. Luckily, there are trained people standing by for this job. For years, my family, friends and I have been playing a game familiar to any person affected by hearing loss—Whazzat?, short for What’s That Sound? 

And now, thanks to my new bimodal hearing (I wear a ReSound LiNX2 hearing aid on my left and a Cochlear Kanso Sound Processor on my right), we’re playing Whazzat a lot. All the time, actually. But my family and friends don’t mind telling me what I’m hearing, because they know if they don’t, I’ll keep pestering them—and possibly leave them for a nicer group of loved ones. Besides, playing Whazzat let’s them show off their good hearing; they also enjoy my reaction to the excruciating sound of people chewing potato chips.

But at only 32 days since activation, most familiar sounds bear little resemblance to how I hear them acoustically through my hearing aid. The voices of strangers sound curiously alike, as if they’re crying while they speak. What I hear do hear clearly, however, are those high frequency sibilant sounds. Think of the hiss of snakes and steam and the grocery checkout woman who asks “do you want bagss-SSS?”  I groan f I’ve forgotten my sound-less cloth bags in the car; paper bags are noisy enough, but the loud crackling of plastic bags has become my Most Annoying Sound ever. In Wired for Sound: A Journey into Hearing, my friend Bev Biderman writes about her surprise at their harshness—she had expected that they “rustled softly in peace.”

To read the rest of this article, please click here.

Thank you to Cochlear Americas and to HearingHealthMatters.org for their support in the development of the “Changing Cochleas” series.