Tuesday, 30 November 2010

2 years and 2 months afterwards...

and I love my Cochlear Implant more than ever before.. There's a few reasons for this, which I'll go into now...

1. I can watch "I'm a Celebrity Get me out of Here" without the subtitles! I can hear what Ant and Dec are saying, without the subtitles.. This is a challenge in itself because of their Geordie accents!

2. I have been doing an Introduction to Child and Adolescent Counselling for the past 9 weeks and I've been using my FM system (radio aid for the oldies out there!) to help me hear the lecturer better. The FM system works by a microphone and receiver principle, so the lecturer wears the microphone and the receivers are little wireless things plugged into my Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant. So it sounds like the lecturer is standing right next to me because I can hear every breath she takes and word she says. I've been so happy every Thursday because I can take notes and listen to what she is saying, without having to lipread!!! I can sit there like a normal hearing person and stare out of the window, or fiddle with my fingernails or watch everybody else in the room and still hear what is being said... Of course it helps that the lecturer has a clear speaking voice and there is no background noise bar the hum of the computer and projector.

3. I've been to see an unsubtitled film at the cinema!! I went to see Saw 6 with my boyfriend and apart from not being able to hear the voice on the tapes played in the film, I could follow the storyline and hear what the characters said. It's the first time in 6 years I have been to the cinema and been unrestricted by the subtitled film timings/day. I don't think I could do the same with a crime thriller or a fast paced film where there is lots of information in the audio, but still - it's so liberating and great!

The only downside to having much better hearing than before is the fact that a skill of mine is getting worse... Lip-reading. Without my HA and CI on in the morning or any other time of day, I cannot lip-read my boyfriend! It's because my ears are doing all the hard work now, not my eyes... However hard I try to read his lips, the things I come out with are totally wrong and sometimes hilarious and I go straight to get my HA and CI to put them on because it's hopeless! I'm a little sad about this, because lip-reading is a skill I really value, something I have been doing all my life and I hope it doesn't get any worse - but it's a small price to pay for the above benefits!

Monday, 8 March 2010

A year and 4/5 months later..

and I still love my cochlear implant! I'm loving the fact that life is easier these days, I don't have to rely 100% on my eyes to lip-read people, it's more like 50%.. At the weekend I visited my great aunt and her sons in Sheffield. My great aunt who is 86, does not move her mouth as clearly as she used to and I hadn't seen her for two years so I was not familiar with her lip-patterns. This is where my cochlear implant really had to work hard and so did my eyes. But I found it so much easier to manage, now that my hearing is much better than with two hearing aids.

I've had lots of times recently where I've heard what people have said without lip-reading and this still makes me jump for joy inside! My family are the best example of this story, the people I'm the most familiar with are the people that I can hear without lip-reading the best. I also have to tell you all about the two times (in the same day) that I had conversations on the phone with complete strangers! I needed to cancel a hair appointment and Typetalk were taking an age to answer my call so I thought "why not try and ring direct?". After all, how complicated could the call get, I'm only cancelling something!? It went relatively well, I did have to ask them to repeat things a few times and this is where my manners went out the window - "whhhaattt??" But I put the phone down and I felt like "I've just made a phone call to a complete stranger, am I insane?!?" Yay!!" Later that evening my dad's car broke down and we called the RAC (through Typetalk) to come out and fix it. The RAC said that they would call when they were 5-10 minutes away so I explained, ok as long as the call is quick and simple, I can answer it.. The RAC man in the van phoned and he asked "What's the problem with the car? What type of car is it?" I heard both these questions really well but we did have a little misunderstanding towards the end of the call and I had to explain to him to talk in short sentences otherwise I could not understand! I thought that he said he could not sort the problem out and it was best to take the car to the garage in the morning and that he was not coming anymore. It turns out (when he arrived 5 minutes later) that he probably wouldn't be able to sort the problem out and it would be best to take the car to the garage in the morning but he hadn't said that he wasn't coming anymore!! I heard half of it right and the guy was very sweet, saying that his hands free set wasn't very loud and he couldn't hear me very well half the time anyway! I haven't got back on the phone again since but it's given me lots of confidence that I hope to do it again when the opportunity arises :o)

My boyfriend can say things to me when I'm leaving a room and instead of stopping, turning around to lip-read him and then leaving again, I can keep walking and see if I hear him correctly and then answer whatever he's said! Nine times out of ten I can hear what he says and it's so nice to be able to do this as it just saves time and makes me feel like a 'hearing person'..

My next challenge is to go to the cinema and watch a film that is not subtitled.. I want to see how much of the film's storyline I can understand and then perhaps I can go to the cinema more often than I do now.. I'm very restricted to Sundays, which is when most films are subtitled and I'd love to be able to go on a Friday or Saturday night.. I'll let you know how I get on with this! I'm also going to get my new audio book out soon, it's called Death is now my neighbour by Colin Dexter. Watch this space!