It’s Valentines Day – the day of all things love. It also just happened to be my 6 month follow-up and the first sound booth testing for my left ear.
Prior to my CIs, the sound booth was the last place I wanted to be. I hated it. It was a place that reminded me how horribly I hear. A stark reminder of how miserably I do without lipreading. It always involved a ramping up of my tinnitus, increase in anxiety, and more often than not, a claustrophobia attack where my head would be spinning and I was sure I would pass out.
Oddly, since my CI, I love my time in the booth! I now approach the booth with the excitement of a kid going to meet their idol. It’s a mix of apprehension of not scoring as well as I hope and the thrill of seeing a better number than the time before. I’m an exceedingly competitive person, especially with myself, and so I challenge myself to continually be better than I was before. Well, prior to my CI, I only saw my numbers going down. Now, my numbers are going up! It’s incredible!!
Well, today was the first time testing my left ear solo and I was really nervous that I would do horribly. You see, I’ve come to realize I’m a bad CI “parent”. I had promised myself that I was going to devote as much training for my left ear as I did my right (it’s only fair, right?). Well, I failed miserably.
Just like with the first kid – getting showered with attention, having a billion pictures taken, the sole object of affection, etc. Then kid 2 comes along and these plans of showering the second with all the same attention that the first one got… well, that vision goes out the window real quick because 2 together is awesome and then it’s just tough to do something without the first. And let’s be honest, you love the second, just as much as the first, but now you have 2, not just 1. So – this was me with my left CI. I was just sure that my left CI has suffered from lack of attention and so while I was super excited to test it, I was very apprehensive that the numbers would show how lousy I had been to my left ear.
Well, I was hugely surprised! I scored 97% on sentences in quiet and 97% in noise!! Like, WHAT!?!? Actually, not what? – because I heard almost everything with just my left ear alone. When I tested bilaterally, I hit the golden 100% in quiet and an amazing 96% in noise. So here I am thinking all along that my left ear has been neglected, when all along it’s been following on the heels of its older “sibling” and actually scored better than my right ear did at 6 months. It’s remarkable to realize that my left ear has always been my poorest ear, but now it really is almost on par already with my right ear. Sometimes I just have to pinch myself.
When I was driving home, I was marveling at how utterly amazing it is to be hearing as well as I do. To have started from a point of zero hearing, zero sound, zero speech discrimination and to hit 100% in just over a year; it boggles my mind. My sound field puts me in the realm of “normal” hearing. I know my results may not be exactly typical but the fact is, the vast majority of people with CIs improve their hearing over their pre-CI hearing.
I love my bionic ears. I love being able to watch TV without captions and understand what’s being said. I love being able to multitask – to talk to someone and do something else at the same time since I no longer have to lipread. I love listening to music again. I love hearing the birds and the frogs sing. I love hearing the minutest sounds of the world around me.
I love hearing my kids and my hubby talk. I missed the sound of their voices so much when I was deaf. I love being able to take my ears off at night and NOT hear my hubby snore. I love that I live in an age with the technology available to allow me to hear again. I love how my new ears have given me the confidence to get out and socialize again.
I’m so grateful to the vision and dreams of the pioneers that have created and developed this technology and have made it available to people like me. I love Advanced Bionics for my amazing sound.
Happy Valentines Day to each of you out there. I love you all for taking the time to read my blog and for encouraging me to continue to share my story.
Love. Sounds. Good.