Perspectives Absent of Sound

Author: Heidi Page 2 of 6

Post Surgery Update #1

I have to say, this surgery (for a cochlear implant) has been one of the toughest experiences of my life.

Before photo – Little did I know what I would be up against!

From the moment I opened my eyes (after surgery), it’s been one dizzy trip! I keep hoping – today being one of them, that I wake up and my eyeballs are stable. The pain hasn’t been as bad as the constant state of drunkenness I feel.

Not a happy camper here……

I have also experienced some strange sounds lately in my implanted ear, a loud humming sound that goes from low to high and then disappears – kind of weird. I’ve noticed when I bite down, my bite is off – bottoms and tops only meet on one side of my mouth, a bit annoying and my jaw aches from it. It’s strange to not even be able to feel your ear when you touch it…..I mean, my finger tips feel it, but my head doesn’t. I learned that your head/hair gets sore from laying on a pillow for too long, who would’ve known?!

My husband took this photo of me and the dog doing a lot of napping

I’m also adjusting to being completely deaf in an ear I use to have some hearing in, albeit bad and now relying on my other bad ear to take in the environment around me. There are just so many emotions I’m grappling with from the thoughts of how the new processor will look on me when I wear it, how well will I hear with it, to was all this worth it? Stay tuned as I sort all of this out – On to week two!!

A New Path

Today marks yet another step in my hearing loss journey. As it happens, just when you think the dust has settled a bit and you’ve “got this”, something jolts your complacency back into uncertainty.

About a month ago, I went for my annual hearing check-up. I was happy to learn my hearing has been stable the last few years, but what has changed (greatly) is my speech recognition scores. In one year, I went from recognizing 7 out of 10 words to only being able to decipher 3 of 10 – not very good. So what does this mean?

Here I am getting ready for the hearing test

All the wires…..

Well, amplification can only go so far and that is what hearing aids do – they amplify sound and make the world a very loud place! Here’s my struggle, I can sit in the middle of a loud movie theatre and not be able to distinguish what is being said by the actors, which is why I use a captioning device when I go to the movies. So it’s not about things being loud(er), it’s my inability to understand what is being said……Did I mention I use to be able to name that tune in under 10 seconds?!…….So what now?

It is my understanding that hearing aids will not be able to help me with speech recognition, but a cochlear implant will. I have a friend who said her speech recognition went up to over 90% with an implant, that’s huge! Another friend who enjoys music again – Oh, how I miss music….

If you’re like me, I was clueless how an implant works. I did some research and learned there are two components to a cochlear implant – an internal and external. The internal (implanted) portion has a receiver and tiny electrodes, which is imbedded under the skin behind the ear. The electrodes are surgically inserted into the cochlea.

Here are the two components from the brand Cochlear America

The external portion, includes a speech processor that is connected to a headpiece by a cord – It magnetically attaches to the surface of the head behind the ear at the spot where the internal portion of the implant is located. The headpiece has a transmitting coil that sends the signal from the speech processor to the internal part of the cochlear implant. It’s pretty darn amazing technology!

To be honest, I’m still wrapping my head around the idea. Like any surgery there are risks that have to be considered. For one, I may lose what little hearing I have left. There could be injury to the facial nerve. I could develop attacks of dizziness or vertigo and those are just a few. There is a lot to consider.

Here is information on two of the 3 brands of C.I’s – Advanced Bionics and Cochlear America

Over the course of the next several months, I will be sharing this walk with you as I navigate through the decision making process. If you have a C.I. please share your experience, I would love to hear from you!

Summer of Friends & Family

It’s been a whirlwind summer and hard to believe we are now into August, Wow! I’m trying to absorb all the wonderful things that have come my way the last two months. When they say you need to stop and smell the roses….Well, that’s what I’m doing right now because I don’t want to forget what an amazing summer this has been!

In June, I went to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend my first HLAA/Hearing Loss Association of America National Convention (it was also my first visit to Salt Lake) 

– Four glorious days spent with people like me, hard of hearing. It was the first time (since hearing loss) that I felt so completely comfortable and at ease. I wasn’t worried about ‘hearing’ or ‘not hearing’. Not sure if that makes sense to those of you that are hearing……..On any normal day, I’m surrounded by people who forget I don’t hear very well and the burden is on me to catch everything being said – it gets exhausting. So for 4 days at the HLAA convention, everything is hearing loss friendly –workshops and evening events all captioned – the stress of having to hear every word is gone. On top of that, I hung out with and got to know some of my hearing loss friends better as well as meet a bunch of pretty amazing people!

I kicked off the month of July with our second hearing loss chapter support group meeting in Tempe, Arizona, which I lead for the Phoenix area working adults. 

We had a really good turnout and an engaging audience of people that came to learn about a technology lending program we have here called AzTAP/Arizona Technology Access Program. It’s because of this wonderful group, I am able to find support and learn about programs in my community. The icing on the cake is meeting people and growing my “tribe” of hearing loss friends. 

Closed out July spending time in Indiana with my family (it was my husband’s first visit). The week was filled with activity and lots of wonderful food – Speaking of, we took my husband to an Amish home for dinner and we indulged BIG TIME! 

As a matter of fact, I don’t think I can ever have another slice of store bought bread, because the Amish bread we had sent my taste buds to another dimension! Aside from the food, I can’t tell you how special it was to have time and reconnect with my family and meet up with old friends – some I haven’t seen in over 10 years! 

It’s definitely been the summer of friends and family. I have some really exciting things coming in August, which I will share with you SOON!

Stay tuned……

O is for Online Shopping! #AtoZChallenge

Real scenario:  I’m stuck in traffic (car is at a standstill) – I decide to multi-task, so I open the Amazon app and lickety click I’ve purchased just what I need while sitting in traffic.  I saved myself a stop after work – In most cases, I get the item the next day.  That my friends is how you get ‘er done!  Saves so much time and much less stress.

I love to shop online and rarely go into the store these days except for groceries –  I still do the old-school way……push a cart and fill it up.   There’s a fairly new grocery store in our area where you have to bag your own groceries (no likey!).  I go there only when I need a few things – stresses me out bagging my groceries and there always seems to be someone right behind me so I feel pressure to bag fast!  You see, I have a certain way I like to bag my groceries and it takes time, but others don’t see it that way…..(that’s for another post!)

Target grocery shopping with my daughter, the best!

I’m thinking of trying grocery shopping online, have you tried it?

N is for NO Carbs – #AtoZChallenge

The no carb/low carb way of eating is all the rage these days and it’s been around for a long time.  It really does work!  I began my journey (on and off the wagon) several years ago.  I learned that your body translates carbs as sugar and also realized how much sugar is in practically everything I love to eat!  For example, there are 27g of carbs in one banana – that’s more carbs than you can have in a day (during the first phase).  Needless to say, I can’t remember the last time I ate a banana – seems I never leave phase one either, hahaha!

I do find the cocktails I use to like are now too sweet.  I pretty much stick to club soda and a flavored vodka.  Also, the occasional Sangria (it’s not low carb)…..See what I mean?!  I can’t give up my Sangria!

My drink of choice – club soda with a flavored vodka (the mojito in the back is too sugary for me these days)

             Sangria – One of my favorite drinks

All in all, I do find it to be the easiest plan to stick to (especially having a desk job where I’m sitting most of the day), but I admit that I struggle with being able to maintain it long-term.

OK, this is NOT low carb, but one of my favorites – Elote!

Pork chop is an allowed protein and has zero carbs!

Is there a special diet that you follow?

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