Monday, May 8, 2017

Wired

Garrett, Kate, Richard, Cindy & Tim

Who in this picture is wired for sound?  That would be me!

There's a full set of circuitry in my head.  Last Thursday my audiologist switched on the electrodes embedded on a tiny thread that were inserted into my right ear during my cochlear implantation.  And guess what?  The electrodes worked, although what I heard was nothing more than gobbledygook!  Words were unintelligible and voices sounded like that of a garbled Donald Duck.

Now I have to train my brain to adjust to a whole different kind of sound input.  Instead of sound waves, these new electrical impulses that stimulate the auditory cortex need to be processed and linked to sounds, words or music just like a baby learns to discern speech.

Consequently, I'm practicing.  During the past 10 days, I've used only my right ear, leaving my left behind-the-ear processor off.  My audiologist told me that by using only my right ear, I could bring it up to speed with the left, although it will probably always lag behind; after all, my left ear has had years of practice hearing mechanically.  Sure enough!  Slowly but steadily over the course of this week, I grew to understand Tim's speech (even though he still sounds like Donald Duck).  But with time, that will improve.

To up my game, I listened to books-on-tape for hours each day.  I tried to check them out from my public library using the app Overdrive, but I needed to have the book as well as the tape so I could follow along.  Coordinating those checkouts was almost impossible.  I had the same difficulty using audiotapes from Hoopla, another app that streams ebooks, music and videos.

ComPilot

So I signed up for a 30-day free trial of Kindle Unlimited and Audible.  Not only could I borrow books synced with narration, but the words were even highlighted as the audio streamed, making it easy to follow along.  And best of all, I could use my ComPilot to stream the audio directly to my processor.  My reading list included the following books.

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore is a thriller that pits a young, untried defense attorney against the legendary Thomas Edison in the copyright infringement lawsuits Edison made against George Westinghouse.

American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham.  Since President Trump identifies himself as Jackson's 21st century equivalent, I thought I'd see if I agreed.

The Tea Planter's series by Janet McLeod Trotter follows the lives of three British women who are tied to the tea trade in India during the years preceding World War II.

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter.  The title says it all!

TVLink

For additional listening practice, I tried using my new TVLink while Tim and I streamed the Monuments Men movie.  As with the ComPilot, the TVLink provides stereo sound quality directly to my processor.  Although I could watch any movie that stars George Clooney, I much preferred the book's more in-depth details about the personalities of the Men and the history of the Allies race to Berlin in the final months of World War II.  Meryl Streep is another of my favorite stars so it was delicious to watch her as the indomitable Florence Foster Jenkins in the movie of the same name. 

Remote Mic

This weekend we dined out with friends and family, including the crew pictured at the head of this post. Using both CI processors and the Remote Mic, I was pleased to find that I could hear much of our conversation.

Yay!  I'm wired!

9 comments:

  1. How exciting, Cindy! I am so happy for you!

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  2. I'm going to copy your book list.

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    1. Tim laughs at me whenever I post what I've been reading, but once a librarian, always a librarian! Thanks for your good wishes!

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  3. Cindy, it is so interesting to read how you have to "train your brain" to understand what you're hearing. I'm glad the electrodes were working right away! You are a great student who takes your learning seriously. Doing a lot of it by listening to books is a great idea. (I'm in the midst of reading The Monuments Men now, but I got sidetracked by The Girl on the Train, that I just finished, so now I'm getting back to MM.

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    1. Thanks, Terri, for recommending the book to me! I really enjoyed it!

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  4. Cindy this is great news and we are so excited for you. My only knowledge of Cochlear implants is from working with children who had these and it's wonderful to hear your adult perspective and excitement. We take so much for granted including hearing. It's neat to see your determination to build on this to stretch your brain in hearing again! You go girl!! Love ya, Yasmin and Ralph ๐Ÿ˜˜

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    1. Thank you, Yas! I think the learning process is very difficult for children who have never acquired language skills.. I'm blessed!

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  5. I had just wondered the other day how you were getting along with your new implant, so I'm glad to get an update! It was also interesting to learn about "retraining" your brain. I read a lot, but I'm afraid your selections are probably more intellectual than my normal fare.

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  6. Congratulations! I so admire your adaptability. Something you have done for years I'm sure but you seem to take it all with grace and ease. Glad you got the new implant synchronized and tuned and all that and hope the next few months only get better. Very impressive! Nice pictures too.

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