Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Music homework

New update. 

My favorite kind of homework from the speech therapist so far is to listen to music and figure out the instrumental sounds and lyrics. (Mostly read along in cd packets and online)  

That means listen to Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Maroon 5, Blake Shelton,
Bob Seger, and the list goes on. If you haven't noticed, most that I listen to are male artists. I do listen to female artists but right now, I just seem to focus on the deeper voices and I'm able to hear them sing. Females are just higher in pitch. So it's a little harder. BUT with both CI's, no problems. No complaints about that either! 

I can tell that I am hearing more with program #2 than the actual music program on my remote. It sounds more liked not like actual music instruments playing and the words coming out and I'm able to hear those words. Not every word but still. It takes practice to recognize them. That's just with the new CI. With both, sounds so good! So I'm happy about that. More clear and I can hear the words well. Most importantly I can recognize whoever the artist/band is singing. 

Tomorrow I have my 3rd mapping so I hope it goes even better! So I'm anxious to see how it goes and what I can hear. I will also experience "new sounds" at the Browns game. I'll be sure to update next time when I get the chance to. 

Here is a picture of me wearing the new implant with my hair up. It's been so humid and hot lately so I've been doing that. I usually have my hair down though. I try to cover it up as much as I can but no big deal anyway. I have the bigger rechargeable battery on so that lasts 24 hours or so. Depends on how much I use it.  I've had it on since 10am and it's 9pm right now. That's 12 hours and still going strong. I love it! =) 

I'll end it here so that's all for now. 
Good night! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Just another update!


It's interesting...  Last week, I was at Starbucks trying out a program on my new CI and I was wearing both. People take double takes and look at me or stare at me when I'm not noticing but I'm really aware of that. But I'm honestly so used to it after a long time. It's like, have you not ever seen anyone wearing hearing aids? Same idea! 
Went to the Browns game on Saturday night - a whole new experience for wearing both my implants. I immediately noticed while walking to the stadium that I could hear R&B music playing at the Nautica Pavilion. I wasn't able to before. As soon we got to the stadium, I was able to hear so much and most of it was confusion. I could hear people talking and hear words here and there, but not 100% clear of what they were saying. But I could definitely hear a lot more than I did last year, well more like the last 6-7 years. You'd think you can't remember but you'd be surprised how much you can and go, "Yeah, I definitely did not hear this much before!"

Had my second speech therapy done this morning. Went well! We talked more than we practiced this time but it's okay. I did mention about how I enjoyed using program 2 more than program 1 due to it being louder. Still getting used to the music program but that seems to work well. Although there is one minor thing that needs to be fixed - the ringing when I'm using program 2.  Hopefully that will be discussed on Thursday for the 3rd mapping appointment. If we could get to between program 1 and 2, I think it'd be ideal and the right area for me to be in. So we will see! 

That's all for now.
Good night! =) 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Second Mapping

A very late update. So sorry! Here goes: 

I had my second mapping completed last Thursday, Aug. 14th. It has been a improvement to be able to finally hear words and be able to figure out sounds better. All four programs on my remote are brand new. I have Program 1 and Program 2 (a little bit louder than the first) and there's two different programs, so they are now known as "CAFE" and "Music." The "CAFE" is when I go to Starbucks, or to a bar/restaurant to help me to drown out the background noise a bit. The "MUSIC" is obvious - It's for when I want to listen to music on the iPod, on iTunes, on the radio, wherever, really. I am able to tell the differences between the 4 programs - so I am surprised about that. It means I am getting better!  So currently, my remote looks like: 

Of course you can see it's on "MUSIC," and that's not a big surprise. I absolutely love being able to listen to that. Pretty much 90% of the time, that's what I'm doing. 

What I really enjoyed at that appointment was seeing the pie chart of how much usage I am using with the new cochlear implant. I was able to see when I had it on, when it was off, when I used it for music, when I used it for sounds, and when I used it for speech (basically when I talked/when people talked to me). I got a big kick out of it because all of that was from the remote I use to help figure out which program/volume/sensitivity suited me best. I guess you can't lie if you have been "learning how to use it." It's a good thing. 

The best part during the appointment was that I was told this - I was well ahead on the progress of adjusting to my new cochlear implant. That is exciting to hear. It was a short appointment, about a hour long. So it went well! 

On Aug. 18th, I had my first speech therapy appointment and that went actually really well. All good praises and I was given homework until my next appointment on the 26th. Mostly new words and type of strategies to train/help my brain to recognize sounds better. I think it'll be a bit harder at the next appointment because it'll be focused on words that I struggle with trying to recognize them, especially words that starts with "C", "K", "B", "P" "T" and sounding the same, like "Cat", "Pat", "Bat", "Tat", "Hat," and so on.  But since I grew up having speech therapy, it helped me a lot and will continue to help me still while training my new cochlear implant. I was able to do well on hearing these sounds that make up a word and know what it is, but with these letters I just listed, those I have to work on. I do also struggle with hearing "C" "M" "N" "R" and "Z." So it's definitely a lot of work to do! I have the patience and time to do that so bring it on. 

Something random that I noticed a couple days after I had my second mapping was that I could start recognizing songs on the country radio in the car, first song? "Drunk on a Plane" - Dierks Bentley. A couple others I recognized here and there: "Drink a Beer" - Luke Bryan, "All Summer Long" - Kid Rock, "Springsteen" by Eric Church. So I'm getting there! SLOWLY. Not 100% clear, but I recognize the music part more than the words. :)

Just the other day, I was told that I am starting to speak bit more clearly. So that is very positive and a great encouragement to hear that also! 

Today, I forgot to pack in a couple batteries for my first cochlear implant, and guess what? It died so I had no backup. So I was forced to use my new cochlear implant for most of the day. I was a little upset about that but no excuses and I wanted to work on getting to hear better. Still a struggle and I admit I get really frustrated but I try to remind myself not to. It is really, really difficult trying to hear something when there's noise in the background and I can't drown it out. When I'm wearing both cochlear implants, I hear so much better and very clearly. So I am thinking that tomorrow, I will just wear the new one and work on it again. I'm supposed to do that daily but I just actually get into the habit of wearing both when I get up in the morning. 

So that's about it. I promise I'll try to update within a couple days! Just have a lot going on especially with wedding planning! :) 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Five days...

So it's been five days since I've updated. Sorry about that, but here is a long one for today's post! 

Thursday (Aug 7): I decided to head over my parents' house and have my mom help me out with words that I have been learning to hear. I didn't do well. I was too tired to be able to fully recognize the words. It was a off day. So I relaxed for most of the day and give myself a break. 

Friday (Aug 8): I decided to meet up with my former speech therapist, Judy who I had since I was four years old up to 18 years old. She is the reason why I am able to speak so well today. I owe it all to her. When I was little, she would have a lifesaver candy to reward me for speaking correctly or hearing correctly. I used to work SO hard just to get ONE lifesaver. I still hear about it from my mom and how determined I was. :) 

She also helped me to learn how to recognize and hear words with my first cochlear implant in 2000. She also kept all the old practice sheets! We went over the first six words: baseball, toothbrush, cowboy, hotdog, popcorn, and airplane. We also went over the names and decided to throw in two new subjects - colors & numbers! So I did very well with the words so I was glad about that. I was on program 2 by the way. 

Saturday (Aug 9): Took a break from training. Attended a friends wedding - that was a lot of fun. I found myself being able to recognize songs quicker once I heard it playing! I was excited about that. 

Sunday (Aug 10): Nothing to update. Another day off to recover from the wedding in Columbus. :) 

Today, I practiced saying the words to myself out loud. I played around program 1-4. I found myself using 2, 3, and 4 throughout the day and finding out what I liked best and what I heard most out of with. I would have to say program 3 or 4 would be the best so far. 

Tomorrow I meet with the speech therapist at University Hospital to have my first training session. I am wondering on how that will go. It should be interesting! 

That's all I have to post for today.
Good night! :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Good Day!


Today was a good day. Aunt Joanne came over to help me out. 3 days in a row! I am so grateful to have help from family so I can improve myself! 

I decided to go with program #2 since I felt that I was able to hear more and it is louder. So I gave it a shot today.

So, with both implants, all words were correct. With the new implant, 14 missed and 26 correct the first time! Then I tried again and got 7 correct out of 7. A third time, I was able to get all them correct. That is with the six words: baseball, cowboy, popcorn, hotdog, airplane, and toothbrush along with the names in my family. Total of 40 words. 

Colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, black, and white. First time was 7/10. Second time, I was able to get 10/10. Aunt Joanne did sneak in blue twice and I caught that. So that's good progress!

Something else I was able to hear slightly was music. I was in the car listening to the radio and Dierks Bentley's "Drunk on a Plane" came on and I tried to see if I could hear a line or two and I could! It was from the chorus part. So that's cool too. So I'm excited about that. Still can't wait to see him at Blossom next month! 

That's all for now. Til' then, take care! =) 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


It's been over 5 days of wearing the new cochlear implant. It has been very challenging. 

Sunday: new sounds I am starting to be able to hear: With the windows rolled down, I can hear the wind blowing by, I can hear the car rumbling, and I can hear Ryder panting. All this on the way to take the dog for a walk in the metroparks! Officially started training to recognize words with Mike. I did not too bad. We only practiced the six words: baseball, cowboy, toothbrush, popcorn, and airplane. I figured it was a good idea to start with these words since they were the first words I heard. Found myself struggling with three words  - hotdog, popcorn, and cowboy. 

Monday: Aunt Joanne offered to help me with the word recognition training and I was happy to have help during the day and not have to wait for Mike to come home from work to help me out. It was a nice afternoon so we sat outside on the deck and practiced. I decided that I wanted to familiarize myself with names especially in the family. That went not too bad. Definitely found out there were words that I'm struggling with: Hank, Ryder, Dad, Mom, Mike, and Scott. But that's okay. I still struggled with the words: hotdog and popcorn. I did better hearing/recognizing: baseball, toothbrush, and airplane. So we practiced with both my implants on and just the new implant. After we finished, I decided I needed a nap because I felt so tired, mentally. I ended up napping for two hours. Mike woke me up after he got home from work. Oops. I needed to rest,
I guess!

Tuesday: Aunt Joanne came over around noon to help me again. So we did the same words - did pretty well with two implants on. I found myself struggling with only the new implant. We went over the names and I decided to add on a few more names in my family so I would start knowing what they were. We worked for about a hour, maybe a little bit over an hour. I found myself once again struggling with the names: Scott, Scottie, Mike, Hank, Ali, Al, and Dan. I'll get there eventually. But I did not too bad today! I did start to be able to hear the rain coming down and the water coming off the roof during the thunderstorm. So that's new and I was able to hear that. So after we finished up, we had lunch so that was a good time. 

Well, it is midnight and I am tired! I will end it and update in a day or two. Good night! =) 

Friday, August 1, 2014

I am Bilateral!


I apologize for the late update, but it will be a long post. =) 

Thursday, July 31st was the big day to turn on the Nucleus 6. I waited about 3 weeks! Steri-strip is still on but hopefully it will fall off soon. I did get a call from the office saying that my appointment with the surgeon was cancelled for next Thursday so I'm hoping to hear back and reschedule. Actually, I had three missed phone calls from the office and they had to call Mike and let him know they were trying to get a hold of me. He had to explain that I don't talk on the phone and most importantly, it won't be anytime soon that I will be able to. Maybe someday. I just find the whole 'talking on the phone' complicated for me. 

Mike and I woke up around 7AM and got ready. We stopped by Dunkin Donuts to pick up some coffee on the way. You know I can't function without coffee, haha. We arrived a hour early so we had time to sit around and relax. We also grabbed a egg sandwich from Einstein Bro's in the cafe at the hospital. We also waited for my parents to come and meet us for the appointment. We didn't have to wait long to meet with the audiologist. The appointment took about at least 2 1/2-3 hours long. 

First time it was turned on: 

Mapping process started - basically to determine softest to loudest I can handle. What I heard were sound exercises (ahhhh, ooooh, mmmm, shhhh, sssss...) and beeps. No pain! But I did develop a headache soon after. My brain was on sensory overload and trying to comprehend on what to do!

Then the process of figuring out the words I am hearing - where the audiologist covers up her mouth and says a simple word, such as baseball, toothbrush, cowboy, popcorn, airplane, and hotdog. These words are easy to hear and know what they are when I have both implants on. But with the new one, it is difficult. It takes a lot of work to figure out what word I am hearing especially when I can't read lips. 

This may help for those readers who are following my blog to understand this and why I need to do this. Your brain has two sides for hearing/auditory information. The one ear is already trained but the other side is not. Both have its own pathway to the brain and the brain has to learn to recognize what sounds are what and what words are what with the new ear.

When I can't simply understand a word:

Completely NORMAL! No need to get nervous. So right now, I am unable to figure out the words I am hearing. I only hear sounds but very, very muffled/static type of sounds. It will take me quite a while to get to where I want to be. I plan on working to improve and train my brain to recognize things. Thankfully I will have all the help from family & friends to get me where I want to be. I also have my first appointment set up to meet with a doctor in the speech therapy department at a University Hospital location. That will be in about two weeks. Meanwhile, I have made up of 6-7 sheets of different words to help me to go ahead and prepare. I want to start right away and see where I will be in two weeks - I hope to accomplish at least something! 

Good news is: my audiologist is very happy with my progress even if it was only the first time. What I've done exceeded her expectations so that is good! It's still the beginning...  Adter the appointment, I fell asleep. It is definitely exhausting and a lot of work. It may not see like that from the outside but it is. It'll be all worth it whenever I get there. I can't wait for the day when I finally hear or make out words clearly. I am going to need TONS of paitence!

So, I've noticed and am excited about: I have realized that when I was listening to music on iTunes earlier with only the left cochlear implant (the original one I have) - I've noticed a major difference! It seems like my brain is working harder to recognize the words. Now, music is a lot more clearer when I have both implants on. It's amazing how I am able to hear the words better, but I still do look for the lyrics to read along. But the point is, when I hear it without looking for the words, I force myself to weed out the words I can hear in a line and try to write it down. I seem to get more words out than before. I'm going to practice with this and get better at it. So that's very good! 

Here's pictures to show you what I have:

The bag that has everything I need. It looks like a suitcase. 

The inside of the bag: 

(My remote to control the programs, sensitivity, and volume - it is pretty cool and so handy to have in my purse! I will always have this with me. I find it useful. 

"1" is program one. It is what I start off on. In a day or two, I will graduate to "2" as it will be a little louder. It should be interesting! The audiologist wants me to constantly wear the new implant and just train myself while I can until my next appointment with Dr. Megerian, whenever that is. 

So I have been on "program 1" and doing what my audiologist wants me to do - stay on that and make sure to go from volume 1-5 and end up at 5. After a couple days, I can switch to "program 2" since it is louder so we will see how I do! I don't want to rush myself and allow my brain figure out what it's supposed to do. 

I had Mike help me with the speech therapy last night. It was interesting. We did the basic names like baseball, hotdog, popcorn, airplane, cowboy, and toothbrush. I want to get myself to recognize these words! We also did names - from my name/my family to Mike's family.  That's gonna take some work too. I didn't do that well but it'll take time. 

Anyway, I will update more when I can! I just want to say thank you to everyone who's supported me throughout the journey. I'm so lucky to have great people around me! 

Take care!