Third Year Anniversary

Today I went for my 3rd year mapping at Johns Hopkins. I haven’t been to Jennifer, my audiologist, for one full year. One of the first things she asked me was “How is everything going, Denise? I guess since it’s been a year, things are good?”

I hadn’t thought of it in quite that perspective before, but I guess I have had a very good year since I’ve not emailed nor called her begging for a new “map”! Actually, it is a little unsettling to go in to have your cochlear implant checked and “tweaked” when you feel like you are doing great! I always remind myself that Jennifer doesn’t push me to change anything if I don’t like the new maps.

First stop… the sound booth. (a.k.a. “the torture chamber” if you listen to some late-deafened folks!) The orientation of “the chair” was different this time, and I had Chloe (my hearing/balance assist dog) with me. I got kinda tickled a couple of times, as my audi would sometimes “pop in” with her voice and say, “Denise… this time we are going to…” Chloe’s head would jerk around and stare at the speaker. I could tell she was trying to see if my name was repeated for a genuine “name call alert”. One of the tests (my favorite – NOT!) is a man who says… “Ready? and then a word” It goes on for what seems like FOREVER, but actually I’m sure it’s only several minutes. I missed “when”, as I thought it was “whim”, and I missed “nice” thinking it was “mice”. As there is a “white noise” as well, I was pretty proud I only missed two! The sentences given are harder, but they are more indicative of actual conversation I believe. I didn’t miss any of these! (patting self on back…) The only thing I would change about these tests is that I believe two more options of “noise” should be used as well as the “white noise”. I think “traffic noise” and “restaurant noise” would be wonderful options for the audiologist to track how well their patients are hearing in “real life” situations.

My audi then took me back to her office and showed me a printout of the test results. I’m always amazed to see the scale, as it seems such a short time ago I could hear very little. Below is an audiogram from a couple of months before my surgery in 2005 (on the top), and below it is one of today. The up-to-date audiogram is labeled with “M’s” for the implant and “S’s” for both the implant (on my left side) and hearing aid (in my right).

She then hooked me up to her computer and gave me four new maps, carefully explaining what each were.  We then “sat and talked” so that I could “listen” to the new maps and be able to give her feedback.

When I got home, my plan had been to go right out to Wal-mart. The list from my family had gotten longer and longer over the past week. However, the sound of the rain, had me lingering at home.  For over a year now I have enjoyed the sound of the rain on the roof of the van, or on the roof of the house. Funny how something you now think sounds TOTALLY GRAND, was something you don’t remember registering as “sound” prior to becoming deaf. It most certainly wasn’t something I thought was a spectacular sound! The map I am now using as my primary, mixes both ADRO and ASC. (That probably only means something to folks with the Nucleus Freedom!) I am amazed at how wonderful the rain sounds with my new map! And it sounds… different than it did twenty-four hours ago! (It’s been raining for four days, so I very easily recall what rain sounded like yesterday!)

All thoughts I had of rushing off to Wal-mart with shopping list in hand went right out of my mind! I couldn’t help but pulling up a seat and just listening. It’s amazing how the rain sounds as it hits the wood on our deck. It’s amazing… when you are “hearing again”. Wal-mart? It can wait until tomorrow!

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary

2 thoughts on “Third Year Anniversary

  1. Yes, I love the sound of rain on a roof, too. There are so many things I like the sound of. My dear Ol’ Curmudgeon and I were talking about losing senses, and he said that hearing was the sense he thought would be the saddest to lose. He is an avid classical music fan, and the thought of never again hearing a Bach Fugue or a Corelli Concerto, or a Russian choir chanting the Paschal Liturgy would just about kill him.
    I, on the other hand, said sight was the sense I thought would be the saddest to lose. To never see another sunset or dawn, or a grandchild or to SEE the Orthodox Paschal Liturgy – these would just about kill me.
    But any of these can be horrid to lose. And I am so glad that you have your cochlear implant to help you. It isn’t the same. I know it isn’t the same. But it allows you to hear the RAIN!!

  2. Denise, that is just so cool! I loved seeing the comparisons between your two audiograms. Amazing!

    Heck, I’d put listening to rain above a trip to Wal-Mart any day. 🙂

    Also, I love the ‘bling’ on your CI. How did you do that?! So pretty!!

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