Sunday, April 03, 2005

Email from Allison

Today's post is an email that I received from another hearing impaired person who had a CI done several years ago. I met her mother, Karen, through an online quilt group that I belong to. I met her face to face for the first time when she and her husband travelled to Tennessee from California a few years ago. She realized right away that I was hearing impaired and shared with me that she had twin daughters who also had hearing losses similar to mine. We have continued to stay in touch all these years. It has been nice to "connect" with another person who understands the trials and tribulations of the silent world. I knew that one of her daughters had had a CI done recently so I contacted Karen again to ask her some questions about it. She gave me Allison's email address because she felt that Allison would be able to answer my questions better than she could. So, the following is Allison's response to my first email. I thought I would share!

Hi Laurie,

My mom gave me the heads up to keep an eye out for your name and that you wanted to learn more about my CI. OK. Here we go.

I had my surgery 2 1/2 years ago on my right ear, because at that time I was experiencing horrible tinnitus (that ringing in the ear) and the doctor said that there was a 70% chance of it going away with surgery. So, I decided to go ahead with it. My surgery was no more than 2 hours. Hook up was 3 1/2 weeks later and that's a whole another story.

The sounds, when it was first turned on, triggered that,"ohh my god, what have I done!" feeling. Fortunately, my audiologist was so sweet and sensitive and told me to hang in there. I mean these sounds were so high pitched that they sounded like Cinderella's mice sucking helium! Within a few days I noticed the sounds were softening up. This was continuous and I think about 3 months after hook up is when I was really beginning to understand words without lipreading. And my audiologist told me to go ahead and use the hearing aid on the other ear.

It has been said that after getting the CI people usually don't like to wear the hearing aid but I do... I think of it as a bridge to what I heard before and then understand what it sounds like with the CI. The sounds are very different. The hearing aid side is very muffled as compared to the CI. But it doesn't bother me because the CI is really doing all the work. I can localize sounds better with the hearing aid on. Also, my audiologist also said that it's a good idea to keep that auditory nerve stimulated regardless of what benefit it is getting, in the event that years down the road I want to try out the newest technology. I will remain a good candidate.

I love my CI! The only thing that I don't like about my BTE N24 is that it is a "Battery Guzzler!" Just as an SUV is a "gas guzzler!" You know it requires three 675 batteries per change. So I buy the batteries by the cartons!

The one thing that I emphasize strongly is to have patience if you do decide to go and get a CI. And I mean it. There were times when I cried and thought I had made a mistake and even had a few venting outbursts due to the frustration of not understanding what I was hearing. Breathe often if you get frustrated and even turn it off for a little while. When I got to that point of auditory overload, I had to tell myself to "breathe..... give myself a break...... this is new...... change can be hard.....etc... I even meditated a little and that helped tremendously!

I will have had my CI for three years on August 5. And I don't regret it one bit... I'm still hearing new things and loving it!!! It's more about fine details of sounds and sounds that are far away that I'm getting into now. It's pretty cool.

Please, by all means, if you have any more questions please ask away, ok?! Good luck on your journey! Allison

3 comments:

Karen VDB said...

Hi Laurie, I am really excited for you. This will be a wonderful journey for you. I checked out Susan's story. Allison's was very similar although I have to say that Allison's doctor only shaved about an inch of her hair behind her ear for surgery. She didn't have that long incision on her head. To look at it after surgery, you wouldn't have known that she had any hair shaved at all. Her doctor did all the hair shaving himself and he did a really awesome job.

I will look forward to hearing all your experiences and reactions to the new world you are about to enter.

Big excited Hugs, Karen

CelticMommy said...

How weird to have found you! I happened to be looking for the PepsiAd from the super bowl and started reading your blog. I went to school with Allison and her sister Amy (who now also has a CI). I ran into Amy at the International Sign Language Theatre Festival in October having not seen her since our HS reunion I think... small world!

Just thought I'd say hello. :-)
Hettie

Laurie said...

What a nice surprise to hear from you. Thank you for your sweet comment. I don't know Allison or Amy personally but am good friends with their mom, Karen. I met Karen through an online quilting group and chatted with her for years before we met in person in Gatlinburg. The first time we met, she instantly knew I had a hearing loss because of her daughters and for the first time since my mom died, I found someone who "really understood" what it was like to live and breathe a hearing loss. I've seen Karen several times and recently saw her at a quilt show in Nashville last summer. Allison and Amy are both doing so well with their CI's. Do you keep in touch with them?

I took a peek at your blogs and have bookmarked them to read later. Cute! I love the blogging world and have several blogs that I write in. I am also a knitter and seamstress and have a blog at http://knit2purl.blogspot.com (which needs to be updated!) I also love to cook and have a blog for my recipes, too. (http://laurieskitchen.blogspot.com) You can access both of these blogs from my CI blog on the side near the bottom of the page.

Nice to meet you! I will forward your response to Karen!