Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hearing with Two Ears

Several people have been asking me if I can tell a difference having two CI's instead of one. The answer is yes but is hard to explain. I love having both ears implanted and feel much more balanced. But, that still needs work. I haven't had many new CI moments but there is a *rainbow* of sound where all the different *colors* are blending together beautifully. Also, the tinnitus or ringing in the ears is almost non-existent, except when I'm tired or not feeling well. Being bilateral is still in the beginning stages and it has been less than two months since my activation date. I have not regretted my decision to go bilateral at all and am so glad I did it. There is a fullness and richness of sounds with two processors and sounds are multi- dimensional. Also, background noise is much better and not as annoying. When I take a walk with the dogs, I can hear cars coming from a distance and usually know if they are behind me or in front of me before I see them. Before, with just one CI, it was hard to hear sounds coming from the unimplanted side. Learning to locate where sounds are coming from is a challenge sometimes when I hear them and still turn around in circles! Tomorrow will be my next mapping session after not having one for four weeks. It's easy to tell when it is time for an *adjustment* because the sounds become softer in my new ear compared to the other one. I outgrow my maps very quickly. My word comprehension without speech reading is better but is not perfect. Bill will put me in the sound "booth" after he maps my processors today to test how I'm hearing bilaterally. It will be interesting to see what the results will look like!

Using the phone is another story. Sometimes I'll grab the phone when it rings and try to talk with one ear. That doesn't work well for me. I don't seem understand as well with one ear on the phone like I do with two. So, I make sure I have my neckloop or silhouette coils on first. I love my headphones that I use at work (Plantronics headset) and understand pretty well with them because I'm using both ears. Still have trouble with names. . .like last week when *Katie* called and I thought it was *Trudy.* Both names sound the same. I need to go back to A/V therapy for a while or listen to books on tape but haven't had time. I do know that the reason I've been successful with my CI's is because my auditory nerves were stimulated with hearing aids. Even though my speech discrimination was poor with my hearing aids and I relied heavily on lipreading, my ears *heard* something.

My friend, Jennifer, is still struggling with her implant and is losing her hearing in her other ear. She can't even hear with her hearing aid anymore. I feel so bad for her. But, she is starting to hear some things with her CI and is surprising herself. She is thinking about going bilateral, too, even though she still adjusting to her first one. We'll be spending some time together in June at the HLAA convention, which will be in Oklahoma City, OK. We'll have a blast! We stay in touch by email several times a week.

Update on Lydia: She sent me an email today and said her appointment at the Shea Clinic in Memphis went well last week. She is going to go ahead and try to get approval to have her other ear implanted and go bilateral. Hopefully she'll get approved quickly but she is expecting to be denied the first time around. She had many questions for me! But, she sounds optimistic and excited. She got her first implant about 15 years ago and really wanted to get it "updated" and replaced. But, doctors won't remove a working implant unless it fails or has a defect. So, she is going to do her other ear, which hasn't had ANY sound for a long time. I know she will do great! She talks well on the phone and understands what is being said on satellite radio. I'm not there yet. But, she was a hearing person before she lost her hearing and I wasn't. That makes a difference.

VT Update: Brad will be home this weekend with a few of his VT friends. They are doing okay and are trying to get back to "normal" again, whatever that may be. They are finishing up their semester and ready to move on. But, life will never be the same for them on campus. They received their *PARTY IN A BOX* from the church yesterday and loved all the surprises they received! I can't wait until Brad is home again so I can wrap my arms around him and count his fingers and toes to make sure he is all there. It doesn't matter if he is 21! And I'll be able to pamper him and his friends with some home cooked meals and cookies.

Puppy Update: The puppies are doing great and growing. Their eyes are not open yet but I enjoy listening to their little sounds in the mornings! They coo, yawn, stretch, cry, moan, groan, squeak, and even sometimes bark. I get up early just to hold them and watch them as Riga takes care of them. They are in the laundry room next to the kitchen and I can't help but smile when "happy sounds" come from there. :) I'll post some pictures soon.

P.S. It is raining hard outside as I finish this up. And it is time for bed. I just might leave my processors on tonight and lay there while I listen to the rain - I want to savor the sounds that I missed all these years!


Star said...

Hi Laurie- I have just been catching up on your posts. How is your son fairing at Virgnia Tech? I don't think any of us can fathom how that comunity must feel. I know you cant wait to have him home this weekend.

Jennifer said...

Hey, Laurie...thanks for the mention! I have good news...I will be updating on my blog! :)
I wish I could see the puppies...I know they are TOO cute!!
I cannot wait until seemed like it was forever away, but we are so busy that it is flying by, after all!! :)
Love you!