Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"Bad Hearing" Days

Well, I've had a few "bad hearing" days in the last week. Not as many since surgery as I thought I'd have - my kids at school are actually more understanding when I don't hear something now than before my surgery. I think it's because they (and others) are now more aware that I cannot hear in certain situations. This makes life a bit easier for me. People who are aware of my hearing loss and recent adventures adapt to speak to me by doing simple, but effective things. Speak directly to me, face to face. I need to read your lips. Speak loudly and clearly, but don't shout. I appreciate these small gestures that people close to me have been doing for years because of my hearing loss.

So what are "bad hearing" days? I'm sure people with normal hearing don't have them, but then again, maybe you do. There are some days or situations that I just feel like my hearing aid isn't working correctly or my ears are plugged up. I just struggle to hear. I can't understand anything. Sometimes it may be the situation. Maybe I can blame it on the weather. I don't know why my ears do this sometimes, but I do know that other people with hearing impairments have "bad hearing" days also.

Last Thursday, the girls and I went to Rally's for supper. I hate that staticky order-taking microphone/speaker thing. Even on good hearing days, I can't understand a thing they say to me. I relay our order and the lady inside the box says something back. No clue. I look at Maddie with a confused look and she translates. I answer and order the rest of our food and again she speaks in gobbley-gook. Maddie again translates. This happened about 3 times just placing our order. As we pull away, Maddie states that she should always place the order when we go through the drive-thru. Ugh. Inside my head I am hoping that next time I go through that drive-thru I can understand.

This time of year I have to attend a lot of meetings for work. Meetings are the worst. I hate meetings, but probably not for the same reasons as others. It is so hard for me to hear anybody not speaking with a microphone at a meeting. Even in small groups it is difficult to understand everyone if more than one person is talking at a time. It's worse if there is background noise. Even if it is just a fan or vent. That white noise is NOISE. It gets in the way of me hearing what I need to hear. Sometimes I am utterly exhausted just trying to hear and understand during the course of a day.

Last night we went to my daughter's band concert. I was not looking forward to it because listening to music in a place with bad acoustics is often just a noise-fest for me. The concert was in the high school gym - not the greatest place to appreciate music. Also, I have struggled with hearing higher frequencies and the melody of music since my sudden hearing loss in November. But I can say that the concert was quite enjoyable. Either my expectations had dropped so low that it was not nearly as bad as I thought or I was having a better hearing day. Who knows. Maybe the bands were so spectacular that they prevailed over my bad hearing. Yeah, we'll go with that. They were good.

I know I'll still have "bad hearing" days after my CI is activated, but I am hoping that they will be minimal. I am setting high standards for my bionic ear to hear and UNDERSTAND that voice in the drive-thru speaker, go into a meeting and UNDERSTAND the whole conversation, no matter who is speaking. I am not as confident on the clarity of music as I have heard mixed results from other CI recipients. That will have to be determined.

Just 2 days until activation. I am very excited. I am not nervous, more of a feeling of uncertainty. I do not want to set my expectations too high and be disappointed in the first few days. But I do put a lot of hope into this device. In my heart, I want to hear NOW. In my head, I know it can be days, weeks, months, even years of mapping for some people to find the settings that give them the best hearing and clarity for the situations of their lives.

Four weeks. When you are waiting for something, time usually goes by so slowly. I am amazed that surgery has come and gone and my activation date is upon me. I am ready.

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