From my casual observations so far, it seems like life long hearing aid users with severe to profound hearing loss having cochlear implant surgery as adult don't come out of early activation with the more exciting, quicker results of those deafened later in life. I haven't heard Donald Duck talking to me, distinguished the blinker in my car ticking away, and I've definitely not heard birds singing YET.
I'm wondering if most new adult cochlear implant users, in general, tend to be the later deafened and if that is why there seems to be much speedier rates of success when reading blogs in the CI community? I could be wrong, but it seems like most people choosing to have the surgery as an adult are not the ones that grew up with a severe-profound hearing loss using hearing aids and even more rare are the adults that not only lip read but use sign language as a mode of communication. Any thoughts on this? Please note, I did say MOST, as I'd be an exception to this myself as would Kelly, since we've both being hearing impaired forever and a day (and her blog is listed on the right side of this page and titled "Life is about Creating Yourself" and definitely worth checking out.) Also, I am in no way saying that those later deafened just breeze through the process. I think it's just one of those things where past experiences greatly affect early and overall success. I also think this is where some complaints come in that there's so much "hype" about initial success, when probably it's not so much hype as it is the actual experiences of a certain demographic and their triumphs with the implant.
Last night, I tuned in for my usual Tuesday night dose of American Idol. I actually enjoyed it more than any time since I had surgery. It's a little difficult to explain, but one quick way to sum it up is, I would have preferred to have my cochlear implant ON
So, what was different? For starters it was probably in my favor that they were singing songs from their birth years with the oldest (Danny) born in 1980 and the youngest (Allison) born in 1992, and those songs were definitely "old school" for me. On a side note, I can't believe I'm old enough now that years of my youth are considered recycled pop culture..... but moving on as I'd rather not dwell on that thought too long... happy thoughts...happy thoughts...... With only one hearing aid on post surgery, I've been pretty lost listening to the show on Tuesday nights, but I've kept trying regardless because I just love that ridiculous show. Last week was exhausting and annoying with the ringing in my right ear (and it just happened to be activation day #1.... oh... wait... so last night was the culmination of week one and I finally found something nice to say about it? Cool!)
Last night, I noticed that I wasn't feeling impatient or annoyed (unless it was directed at Simon's biased commentary.) The singing voices seemed to be richer and have more clarity. I was confused. What was different? I pulled the magnet off my head and numerous times, and the world would become a little too silent with only one hearing aid doing all the work. I'd pop it back on and the ringing would be back, that annoying ringing, but the volume and clarity of the song would increase just a little somehow, some way. I'd turn off my hearing aid and let the CI go solo, but my right ear (CI) just mocked my left ear (HA) for thinking such crazy thoughts. The ringing has become easier to tune out, even though I know that's me hearing things I don't have a clue how to sort yet, but together with my HA, the implant, seems to be providing the role of supporting actor... (a very small role, but we're getting somewhere nonetheless.)
I think I'm going to play the show back on DVR today and see if I still feel the same about the clarity I felt last night. Just a little disclaimer though, I did use the captions and having heard most of those songs for years also helped. Then again, AI isn't known for showcasing anything remotely modern in song choices most of the time, and I usually do know several of the songs being sung on any given week. In fact, if I don't know something, it seems like that is when Simon will call someone indulgent. Go figure. It's such a pet peeve of mine.... if the kids sing something different on the show, it's indulgent, but Simon doesn't hesitate to complain how karaoke his non-chosen ones sound singing the same old, same old done to death songs... Maybe another show I'll write a post venting about even more hypocrisies on the show, like how Kris was told to be more like the original and the next song Lil was told she was too much like the original. I'm still reeling from whiplash, but it's a frequent side effect of too much American Idol anyway.
I am curious if any other deaf/hard of hearing CI or hearing aid users watch the show, and your thoughts. Anybody else get ticked off when the word "deaf" gets thrown around a little too lightly on the show or the message boards to make a dig at the singers, judges or other audience members who disagree on what they heard? I think the new judge was the last one to use it on the show, and my husband looked at me quickly only to see me baring fangs and snarling. I ceased before I got foamy and slobbery though.
Feel free to add your two cents about the advantages/disadvantages of being implanted after being late deafened or as a life-long card carrying member of the deaf and hard of hearing world.... and PLEASE feel free to snark or praise anything remotely related to your American Idol viewing and especially, "hearing" experience.