Friday, June 5, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Another blogger, Sara, who was also recently implanted mentioned that we very rarely hear/read the not so pretty side of life with a cochlear implant. She asked for honesty in what has been difficult with the cochlear implant experience since many people mostly just blog about the "kittens and rainbows" version and not the nitty gritty details. She didn't get too many overly negative replies, but that's not to say there isn't a downside to this experience on occasion. She comes across as an analytical person who likes to get all of her facts, so after some thought I decided to take a shot at the good, the bad, and the ugly.

THE GOOD (as in the very latest)... Well, tonight I heard crickets outside, at least until the air conditioning unit drowned them out. They were really loud. My husband said they were very high pitched, so I came in and looked it up. According to one site the cricket sound is around the 6000 Hz range. I'm pretty sure I've never heard crickets in my life. That was really cool. I mean seriously... a cricket??? (I remember my brother making jokes about a cricket they were listening to one evening when we were spending the night with our cousins at our grandparents' house. I remember thinking... "Cricket... what cricket??? There's a cricket here???" and I'm so much more deaf now than I was then.)

I'm also understanding my son more easily each day and the little quirks in his voice, but he only speaks one or two words at a time. Check back in six months to see how good this skill really is!

Using the phone is awesome, but after my last post about chatting away with my husband on the phone, I was unable to follow a conversation with him today for long. Oh well, you win a few; you lose a few. I'm glad that I have access to an interpreter at any time for phone calls at home. If I can make a successful call on my own, that's just bonus. If it's an off day, I don't miss a beat.

Birds singing.... I still can't hear them enough. Hearing my son and the birds.... if I heard nothing else, I would do this all over again.

Dinner with the in-laws last night.... Father-in-law with over-sized mustache and Texan drawl?... picked out a few random sentences throughout the evening?....check (and I'm almost always lost trying to understand anything he says if it isn't short and sweet.) Chatty brother-in-law who talks at the speed of lightening?....I picked out a few sentences with him here and there too.... got a little dizzy trying to keep up (or I just have a short hearing attention span?) Conversation in general at dinner table?? It took some concentrating, but there was a tremendous difference between what I could understand last night compared to the last time we had a family dinner. Usually I'm pretty quiet and will talk to only those right beside me, but last night I held my own with anyone I talked to when I focused. It doesn't come naturally, but the fact I'm even getting any of this information in that noisy environment is huge.

THE BAD.... Sometimes hearing every little last thing is a recipe for anxiety. Sometimes strange unlocated sounds may come across as annoying buzzing static. Sometimes I think everything is magnified tenfold, and I find myself shushing my husband for practically breathing out loud when my son goes to bed for fear he will wake up.

Really petty? I hate trying to put my sunglasses on my head. It's my little fashion statement to wear my super big glasses on top, but it knocks my magnet off, so I end up adjusting them at an odd angle. It's not just a fashion statement... it's also a bad hair day cover-up to throw glasses on top and pull the rest of it back in a ponytail. *sigh*

AND THE UGLY.... I'm *thisclose* to going kung-fu on some grown man in my neighborhood that insists on riding his motorcycle by our house vroom vrooming by as loudly as possible at ALL hours of the day... baby's nap time...check.... dinner time....check..... after dark....check..... midnight... of course...check check. I can not describe this accurately enough. My heart literally stops when I hear this motorcycle. The sound terrifies me, and it's like he's going to drive right through my window. Our house is at a four way stop, and when he slams on the brakes and then gasses up full power my heart darn near leaps out of my chest pounding. Got Xanax?

I honestly have so much respect for hearing people who HAVE to hear 24/7 now. Even when it is quiet, there is still sound. Aidan and I have the book Goodnight Moon on loan from the library, and the last line amuses me. It says "Good night noises everywhere." God bless the poor hearing people. :-D Is it any wonder the white noise CDs and machines along with all the mediation music and nature sound CDs make a gazillion dollars? I only wish I could bottle up the sound of silence because I could sell it off by truck loads to the weary non-sleeping masses. I'd call it "Back to the Womb" or "Go to your Womb!"

Good night everyone! I'm signing off and tuning out. Ahhh.


  1. I love the honesty here. I wondered about how SO! MANY! NOISES! would feel to someone unfamiliar with so much noise. As a person who's always heard that much noise I'm painfully addicted to it. Because "silence"? I find all those tiny noises that mean nothing. I cannot imagine REAL silence. Besides the ringing in my ears usually cancels any hope of that. But I can imagine how trying to figure out how serious a noise such a stupid motorcycle man must be stressful. Funny the things you never consider and do automatically when you've always had the ability.

    Have you heard wind in trees yet? That's one of my fave noises. And rivers! Come visit. I have both. AND a child with the most obnoxious voice when he reads (I love Liam but seriously?!) he would be a neat next challenge for you. It's the strangest pitch and is difficult for ME to get often.

    Oh, and worry not, i scream at my husband for breathing too. I think that's a wife thing. Something your husband was lucky enough to escape...until now.


  2. Soon enough, I'm going to the good, bad, and ugly series. I'm just collecting and processing the information right now. Another week or so :)

  3. Just a side note. When our children were infants, we left a radio playing in the nursery all day, even during nap time. The idea was to teach them to ignore 'normal' household noises. It worked. We never had to 'be quiet - the baby is sleeping'. I am not sure I could tell if I was too noisy. And, yes, the children are Hearing.


  4. Thanks for a great post! I often wonder what my little boy is getting used to. Sometimes he hears something and points to it for me to label it, but I didn't hear it and have no idea what he heard!
    About the wind...yesterday we were outside on a windy day and he heard the wind. Amazing! Although I don't think he quite understood what it was. I kept pointing up to the trees that were blowing and saying, "See the wind in the trees?" What a blessing!

  5. M, you crack me up. I guess it would make sense that constant noise could be addictive if you that's all you knew. You might find complete silence startling, but who knows?! I also find lawn mowers outside my window (or across the street) to be pretty gut wrenching too! I'm not sure I've heard the wind in the trees, but this is Houston... kind of hot and spare on the trees. I'll definitely seek some out on a windy day.

    Nabeel, I am really looking forward to reading about your experiences coming up in the near future. :)

    David, I've never kept a really quiet house for Aidan's sake because our house is too small to keep our sanity tip toeing around and shushing each other when he's sleeping. However, Aidan would rather be awake than sleeping, so I'm very aware of how loud the television really is now or if dishes are banging in the kitchen. My husband has been really patient with my "SHHHHHHH! Don't wake him up!" fierce whispering lately when the only thing that has truly changed is ME. :)

    Cause me to hear, last night I kept hearing a high pitched sound inside the house that my husband wasn't hearing. He kept looking at me like I'd gone loco when I kept pointing it out and asking what the sound was. He kept telling me he couldn't hear anything. Funny? :) Maybe your son is just more in tune with what's going on in his ears right now because he's getting so much practice with listening skills and it's still a novelty for him. I just love that he heard the wind in the trees.

  6. Wow, you really are hearing so much.
    It sounds very exciting for you.


  7. I can definitely say that I've gotten tired of hearing noises. It's usually when I'm exhausted and really notice all the buzzing going on around the house... clocks ticking, dish washer whirling... house settling... neighbors doing yard work. Surprisingly, what I enjoyed most about the one time I went skydiving was the ride under the canopy. I thought the free fall would be the best, but the silence under the canopy was bliss. It felt like a mini-vacation. :)

  8. Melissa, I'll take your word for it.... :) although it's slightly tempting, I'm not quite sure I'd jump out of a plane to try your bliss.... but I have a feeling Aidan might want to try hopping out of a plane by next year, so I'll reconsider it then. :-P Don't you want to go back to the cottage in Hill Country and just listen to nothing but nature (and maybe the hot tub)? *sigh*

  9. Hey, I posted the good, bad, and ugly on my blog... yeah, I'm a copycat ;)

  10. You hit on something I have known for a while...some people are LOUD. (At least with my hearing aids in.) I have moderate loss and unaided I can blissfully go about my day. With my aids on, yikes! who really needs to hear someone chew, kwim? I look forward to reading more.

    Hope fully you can stop by for a visit.

  11. Nabeel, I loved your post! My idea was not so original anyway... Dan (Not Listening blog) also did the Good, Bad, and Ugly on music appreciation not too long ago... then Sara (link in my post)... then I thought was a little sheeple and followed suit... :-D I agreed with many things you had to say and was really surprised by how quickly you are catching on to some things as well. I'll comment tomorrow on your blog. Plus, I didn't get a chance to check out your auditory practice link... I haven't been doing anything official to practice so I'm eager to see what you are doing! I look forward to reading your ongoing series! You're off to a great start and have done a really good job explaining the process!

  12. Janis, I peeked in on your blog tonight and I added it to my list so I can catch up with your posts. Your son is precious. I'll be reading! Thanks for coming by here. :) I don't think I've heard anyone chewing yet, but that could be bcz no one has been chewing in my ear yet??? LOL!

  13. Yes, Wes and I totally want to go back to that cottage- that was heavenly. :)