Who would have thought even five years later I am still picking up sounds that I hadn’t heard the year before? I have had my cochlear implant for close to five years. I am only mapped once a year now at Johns Hopkins. Whatever my audiologist did this past May enabled me to hear the wind in the trees like never before.
I grew up in Baca County Colorado and we had PLENTY of wind… but not so many trees really. Where there were trees, it meant there was a house there. A bunch of trees in one place, meant there was a town. Many folks think Colorado is all mountains, but a good part of it is grasslands and plains. Yup. I grew up on “Little House on the Prairie”.
When we first moved to Maryland in 2002, I could not hear without the help of two powerful BTE hearing aids. Over the next two years I would lose what remained of my hearing. People with normal hearing do not stop to think about what it means to lose your hearing gradually over time. You don’t even realize sounds “go missing”. I can’t put my finger on when I stopped hearing the phone ring… I only know it was when my kids were little and I lived in NC. I can’t remember when I stopped hearing cats purr, the wind in the trees, or the sounds of a vehicle.
One of my friends who is bilaterally implanted with cochlear implants heard a strange noise in the motor of her car this week. She went by the mechanics and explained that she uses cochlear implants to hear and “I’m not sure if it’s a new sound or just new to ME”. She was so tickled to have been RIGHT about the sound, and very glad to catch something early that ended up being a simple “fix”. Had she not been able to hear it, eventually it may have been a more expensive and difficult “fix” for the mechanic. I was practically jumping up and down for her… understanding what it is like to realize you can hear something! I think especially to adults who are able to recognize something new and understand it’s the result of being able to hear again… these new sounds are special!
With wind it is a little tricky. You don’t actually see the wind, you see what the wind can do to objects both in nature and man-made. I have memories of the sound of a windmill on the ranch I grew up on in Colorado. I’d love to “hear it again” some time! I realized I was really hearing the wind when I parked myself in the yard in a place where the fence acted as a windbreak. If I closed my eyes (so that my brain wouldn’t SEE the wind and influence what my cochlear implant was hearing), I could hear the wind. In the trees. WOWSIE.
So yup! It’s only the wind in the trees. But to me? I’m hearing something I haven’t heard in over a decade I know! I just love my Nucleus Freedom!
© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal