Testing – 1,2,3

I think it’s time for some tests. Self-imposed tests.

I want to mark my progress, how far I’ve come in this hearing journey, so I want to see where I stand with this cochlear implant of mine. Now that I’ve just hit the six month post-activation mark, I think it’s a great time to do some tests. Ok, maybe not tests, but more or less observing what I can and can’t hear at this point. It’s not that I want to really want know what I can’t hear, and limit myself, but the thing about a cochlear implant is that it takes work to hear better or understand more. If I figure out what I can’t hear, I can target my listening therapy and probably fix the issue.

What I can hear:

My children are playing in the living room with toys, while I’m writing this in my bedroom, in the next room. I can hear them talking to each other, I can tell the difference between the voices, and sometimes I can understand what one of them is saying. I can hear the tone of voice and know that they aren’t fighting or crying, but again, I’m only actually picking up 10% of what is being said.

What I can’t hear:

The full conversation. I can pick up every few sentences, but I can’t understand enough to conclude what they’re talking about.

One of the big things I’ve learned over the past few weeks is that I am really good at watching TV and movies now. But only in the right conditions. Movies in the theater I can pick up about 90%, probably pretty close to what an average hearing person picks up. I can pick up the same amount in a television show if I’m using a cord that goes directly from the speaker to my processor. Several nights a week my husband and I will lay in bed at night with his laptop, which has two headphone outputs. He uses headphones, and my audio cable goes from the other headphone output and connects directly to my CI. Pretty much the exact same as wearing headphones. I do the same thing with the speakers from my desktop computer.

At six months post activation, I have noticed limitations. The reason I can’t pick up the full conversation of my children in the living room, is because they aren’t in the same room as me. So it’s quieter from where I’m sitting, trying to listen to them. And the same goes with watching television in the living room. It’s not a clear and distinct sound, when the sound is bouncing off my wood and tile floors, than if I had my cable attached directly to my CI. Another thing to consider is that my flatscreen is probably fifteen feet from my sofa.

I know all this info is probably boring you, but I know I have to catalog it here. I’ve been spending about one hour, three to four times a week, watching television from the living room to get used to the difference in sound. Therapy sure is hard, isn’t it? Laugh, because it is kinda funny, but the more I watch television in the living room, the more I will be able to eventually understand the words coming from it. I’ve done this for about two weeks already, and I can tell I’m understanding just slightly more than when I started. It’s all a big huge process.

Hopefully my “therapy” will evolve into other aspects as well. The unfiltered bouncing around sounds from the television, that I will eventually be able to understand, will most likely help me understand my children from a different room. My concentration on therapy at this point is to listen to sounds that are imperfect. My brain needs to learn to adapt to it’s surroundings and understand the sounds that are not directly imported to my CI.

Time will tell! I will definitely check in about this again at the one year mark and see how far I’ve come. What amazes me is that I can hear so much. I’m fine-tuning now, not trying desperately to just understand one word from another. I’m hearing, I’m just working on perfecting, something I know will be a lifelong process. One I look forward to!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Wish i’d been more concerned about perfecting my hearing in the same way you are when i had my CI 12yrs ago! Feels like it was another lifetime.
    Unfortunately, i had it at 15yrs old, and i expected the audiologist to tell me about everything i needed to know, and anything i needed to do, but as i have followed your blog and that of Tina (http://funnyoldlife.wordpress.com/), i’ve come to realised how much i denied myself by not taking a keen interest in my CI experience at that time.
    Could it have been helped? i dont know. I was a teen, busy with GCSE and a new op to boot, along with catching up from a 2week absence from school…oh well.

    Is it too late? Maybe. But now i know, and i am becoming more aware of what i can and cant hear. Like you, i hear over 80% through the audio jack (which i only recieved after having an upgrade xmas 2010) and it is wonderful.
    I have downloaded a “listening” software Tina recommended to practice training my brain to understand sounds but am yet to use it! Procrastination…the bane of existence…!

    Let me know what else you do as part of your “therapy”.

    Keep blogging!

    D x


    • I really doubt that it’s ever too late. I’m at 6 months post activation and am just now getting serious about doing some listening therapy. I’ll be posting more about it for sure. I was so overwhelmed these past few months with the miracle of hearing I was given, and am just now starting to see how much I can do to help it get even better. It just takes time. Something that I know is not too easy to find most days!


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