Monday, August 01, 2005

Ahh the music!

Sorry for not posting an update for over a month - I've just been so busy lately (particularly with helping my parents renovate their bathroom) that I've been lax.

Things have been pretty good for the last month. I went back to Vancouver 2 weeks ago and Dr Pijl put me back through the word and sentence recognition tests (still wonderful results!) and then removed all my maps except for the "main" two that I've
been using over the last month. No "whisper" settings or background noise cancellation this time, just the two main ones so that I can switch back and forth readily between them and see which one I really prefer. Its making comparisons MUCH easier because its kind of hard to make an informed decision when you wear one map for 6 weeks THEN switch to another.

I have my preference already - though when I go back this coming Tuesday I want him to tweak it a bit because I KNOW it can be better. Because I had previously been using the map I don't care for, before going thru a recalibration of my preferred map, I "over estimated" some of the frequencies and as a result the higher frequencies are too loud and often are overemphasized and making some voice recognition more difficult (especially when I'm using the phone.) I'll get him to
lower the high frequencies for me and we are HOPING that this time we can re-add in those 5 elusive electrodes that caused facial nerve bleed-through since we were able to figure out a way to eliminate the eye twitching by moving the "ground" closer to those electrodes. We'll see what happens. From now on we won't be as grounded and will have more freedom to play around with the maps and not have to worry so much about the study protocols since I'll have made my final map decision (for the time being at least.)

I haven't ventured to talk to anybody else on the phone except my family members and my boyfriend....I know I need to try but there's a bit of nervousness as well, the "well what if I CAN'T understand them?" worries. In retrospect I shouldn't worry, after all its only been (almost) 4 months since I had my implant activated and I've been using the phone for the last two! If somebody had told me that I'd be using a phone every day talking to my family/friends within 2 months of activation I'd have thought they had a screw lose. But its a REALITY. It still blows me away!

On Sunday my family and I went down to Coombs to the Bluegrass Festival. Man was that an experience I will NEVER forget!

Last year we went as well - and I only had my hearing aids. I went mainly because it was nice to get out, walk around, enjoy the fresh air, play with my baby nephew, but the music was totally lost on me - it was just a mish mashed jumble of sounds and a lot of them I couldn't even discern (like violins and fiddles).

Well talk about a change!! With my CI it was just AMAZING!! Now I was told beforehand that there would be a chance I wouldn't be able to enjoy/appreciate music with my CI, but I'm pretty positive that part of the reason WHY I do is because I was exposed to so much music before I went deaf. There was ALWAYS music playing in the house. Dad played his guitar and an omni chord. Grandma had her guitar and her organ. My brother played guitar and trumpet and I had been learning the guitar myself and had just started organ lessons with I already had the "appreciation" there, deep inside albeit hibernating. And most of the music I listened to was bluegrass/country.

From the moment we arrived, I just sat in the stands and grinned my fool head off. It was AMAZING! I could hear every instrument. The guitars, the fiddles, the banjos and ukulele's the bass guitars and violins. It was AWESOME!!!

The only difficulty I had was understanding the songs - which was contributed in part by the PA system which seemed to distort the voices (My brother told me not to worry because he said even HE had trouble understanding some of the songs and he has perfect hearing.) I've found that song recognition depends on whether or not I've taught myself the lyrics first. Since people SING much differently than they speak, understanding the words to a song I've never heard before is to me like trying to understand a different language. Words are drawn out, or emphasized differently than normal speech and while I can often get a word "here and there," unless I have the words there to follow along with or I've already memorized them, its very difficult.

I totally fell in love with fiddle playing. One girl who was there, Robyn Jesson was absolutely amazing and I bought her CD and I've been playing it over and over - its just such an amazing sound! I'm going to search out some more fiddle music later this week - I think one of the reasons I like it so much is that with my CI I can hear each specific note - no longer is music just a muddled mishmash of jumbled sounds.

I'll end this here, and make another post in about a week regarding how the follow up went and if we were able to re-add the missing 5 electrodes and how that's affected how things sound.


Sugar said...

Glad to hear you are enjoying your CI. My husband has one and his progress has been astonding. I wear a BTE. Great blog by the way!

SGT. E. G. ROCK said...

* There is such a great feeling to know that you are able to finally hear the simple things in life that I hear.
* Like the rain as it falls on the roof of the car.
*Children laughing in a playground.
*The sound of a steak slizzling on the barbeque grill.
*The sound of a Lover saying "I Love You" during a tender moment.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm so elated that you can hear... again, ..for the first time.

Sincerely.... E.G.ROCK