As I write I have butterflies in my tummy - trepidation and excitement fluttering around in there. However, I am happy that I have made the decision to have a cochlear implant in my right ear. A weekend away last weekend reaffirmed my decision. At times I am heartbroken and frustrated I cannot hear my grandchildren, annoyed I miss out on conversation amongst my informed adult children and husband - in general, I hover between - "we can adapt to this state of hearing impairment", "no I can't", "I hate this state", "could be worse", "fed up", "just get on with it".
The time has come - a cochlear implant in one ear it will be.
And so - I am going to document the process which may help others who are in the same predicament.
Episode 1: the research
I understand that the rehabilitation and teaching the brain to recognise electrical impulses is vital - forget it unless one is prepared to do this.
So I am beginning with audio books and programmes. Bear in mind that also having someone beside you reading is apparently of huge value. However, as our personal links to modern technology are generally quite good - I intend to make good use of the iPad, iPhone and PC.
Audio Books and Programmes.
This article is worth sharing I think. I have actually repeated the article below and am particularly interested in the free public domain ebooks at this stage.
"Two years ago, I had my left ear implanted, and last year my right. I have learned many things along the way. First, I highly recommend that you seek out an auditory verbal therapist, not an audiologist. They are skilled at setting up an appropriate rehab program. Second, find many opportunities to practice listening and wear your CI devices EVERY single day. There is no question about it, the more you wear it, the more opportunities it gives your brain to ‘wake’ up. I took audio recordings of different sounds that I didn’t understand, and played them to my therapist or husband and then they relayed what it was. I would then play it over and over until my brain ‘recognized,’ the sound. I can now go outside and identify different types of birds, crickets, frogs, squirrels (if they are close enough), among many other sounds. :)
I highly recommend checking out:
Interactive Listening Rehabilitation and Functional Hearing Test Program
This PC-based program is progressive, and includes environmental, musical, animal sounds along with words. The iTunes App is called: Sound and Way Beyond.
AB CLIX on the App Store
free public domain audiobooks
This is a rich source of audio books, read by people with various accents, sounds, and speed. I recommend starting with the children’s books, and as you get more comfortable, graduate to harder books. I myself started with checking out the book from the library, starting up the audio book and read along while practicing listening.
Amazon Music with Prime Music on the App Store
This is an amazing source for listening. Music is one way to help re-train the brain. I know for myself, the more I listen to music, the more natural it becomes. The other amazing thing about this app is that it has the lyrics for most songs. It’s one of my favorite apps of all time.
TED: Ideas worth spreading
The Listening Room
The maker of your cochlear implant will have apps available for download. I know that both MED-EL and Advanced Bionics offer apps for ipad/iphone to download, there might be a fee.
Also you can look at Gallaudet University App called VL2 - it is for sale $5 USD at the ITunes Store, but it is designed for children.
Hope this helps."