It’s All In My Head

20 September 2005
It’s All in My Head!

You know I discovered something rather remarkable about my cochlear implant last week! I was activated on May 13th of this year, and it has been one amazing discovery after another as I learn to hear again. But ya know what? Once in awhile, discoveries are rather embarrassing.

Now normally I’m embarrassed after missing something someone said, and putting my foot in my mouth! All of us who are late deafened have done this, but it doesn’t make eatin’ shoe leather any more appetizing knowin’ we aren’t alone in this blunder! I rarely get embarrassed with just my family. After all, they love me like I am – warts, hearing loss and all! I don’t embarrass my son when he belches, nor do I embarrass my daughter if some young guy from church gives her “the eye”. But I must admit that last week I DID embarrass myself after being given some information from my articulate hubby. This information in and of itself was not embarrassing. The blood rushing to my face, and pounding in my temples, was the result of having every moment leading UP to this moment in time re-run itself in my head!

To explain this a little better, let me begin by setting the scene of this “jerk the rug out from under me” epiphany. We were on our way home after going to a movie with the kids. I was in the process of switching from Program 2 to Program 1 on my implant. After hearing the little beep, I casually asked, “How loud is this beep to y’all anyway?”

Aforementioned and articulate hubby said, “HUH?”

“How loud is this beep to y’all anyway?” I intoned a little louder.

Again articulate hubby said, “Huh? Denise, I haven’t the foggiest what you are talkin’ about!”

“The beep,” I reiterated, “after I change programs! How loud is the beep to y’all, cuz it’s pretty loud to me! I was just curious if hearing people heard it as loud as I do!”

At this point my equally articulate teens chimed in from the back. “HUH?” I could see them over my shoulder roll their eyes at each other.

I begin talking like a hearing person who has never been around a HoHearie person before and say slowly, loudly, and enunciating in an exaggerated way, “Howwww LOUD ISSS the BEEEEEEP when I CHAAANGGE MYYY PROOOOGRAMS?”

Articulate hubby again very patiently replied, (yep, you guessed it!) “HUH?”

“I’m askin’ a simple question and y’all are actin’ like you forgot to plug your brain in this mornin’! When I change programs on my implant, how loud is the beep, and do you find it terribly distracting?”

Hubby grows some manners and says, “Denise, honestly I haven’t the faintest idea what you are talkin’ about! I don’t hear any beeps when you change programs. As a matter of fact I wouldn’t know it did if I hadn’t heard the audiologist explain to you that it beeps once to switch to program one, twice for program two, and so on!”

A horrid realization hits me like a ton of bricks. They don’t hear it? The beep between programs when I switch? They don’t hear that at all?

Now in a flash my brain rewinds to numerous incidents over the past few months.

First re-played nightmare: I have to go to the lady’s room at church. I find an empty stall, do my “thang” and switch programs while I’m in there because it hurts to hear the surrounding toilets flushing. I program down to a quieter setting. As I exit, I notice 3 or 4 ladies at the sinks washin’ their hands like good little hygienic females.

“Sorry about that! I had to switch programs while in there!” I shrug with an apologetic grin. “It hurts when the toilets flush!” I do take note of the astonished looks on the faces around me, but I never imagined until now that they did not hear a thing. No beeps. All they know is that I have different programs in order to potty, and I feel pain when toilets flush. It must be that she calls different bathroom functions programs? Who knows! What a crazy lady!

Second re-played nightmare: I’m in a required teacher’s meeting for the beginning of the school year. My director does most of the talking, but then she switches to question/answer mode. So I switch from Program 2 to Program 3 with fear and trembling as I hear three beeps sound off.

“Sorry! I need a new program to hear the questions down there!” I say somewhat sheepishly.

Well Baa-baa-baaaa. Evidently all I accomplished was a strange interruption of a question. She needs programs to hear people on the end? What is she, a computer? I would have been better off bleating like a sheep!

Third re-played nightmare: I’m talkin’ on the telephone to my mother. Since she’s on her deck while talkin’ to me, I can very clearly hear my dad mowing the lawn. I switch programs to eliminate mowing father, to better hearing talking mother. “Gosh, sorry about that mom I couldn’t hear you and had to go to FOUR.”

Silence. My mother repeats, “Four? Four? You have to go at four?”

“No mom, I had to go to four to get rid of Dad!” I replied.

“You want to leave at four to get rid of Dad? Honey he’ll be here the rest of the day. If you call me back after four, he’ll still be here. Do you have something private you need to say? You can tell me, I won’t share it with your Dad”.
“MOM!” I hollered, “I am just apologizing for the four beeps, that’s all!”

“Are you ‘beeping’ to try to tell me you are cussing? You may as well say the cuss word, Denise! I’ve heard them all before. I probably know a few you don’t!” she replied rather testily.

Now I’m stumped. I have no idea what SHE is saying. I look at my clock and said, “Oh look mom! It’s almost four! I have to go! Bye-bye!” I hang up and stare at my phone angrily.

I have a re-played nightmare number five and six. As a matter of fact I can think of a dozen nightmares. But let me take you back to the car –

“So”, I whisper rather desperately, “so, when I change programs, you don’t hear the loud beeps my implant makes?”

“No honey! We can’t hear it! It’s only in YOUR head,” articulate hubby says.

It’s all in my head? IT’S ALL IN MY HEAD?

So I share all of this with you, why? All newly implanted HoHearies – listen up! Those beeps your particular implant may make when switching from one program to another? They are all in YOUR head!

Denise Portis
©2006 Hearing Loss Diary


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