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.
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!
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.
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!