Post Cochlear Implant Activation Week 3.5 – Small Victories


Image Credits: Dumb Little Man

Hey everyone! I know I’m a bit late on this, but Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a good time celebrating! Mine was good but I was slightly disappointed by how quiet it was. I was hoping to hear a lot of noise and new sounds but it seems like people in Washington Township, NJ aren’t much for holidays anymore (we didn’t get a single trick or treater this year either. :(). I had a nice time celebrating with my family making our traditional midnight 7 fishes seafood fest, making predictions for the new year and reflecting back on the past year. Sadly my boyfriend Larry was on vacation with his family in Florida so we’ll have to wait until next year to celebrate our first New Year’s together. But hey, it just gives us something to look forward to in the new year, right?

I started program 3 on my cochlear implant on Wednesday. For those of you who may not be familiar with the process, my cochlear implant has 4 different programs in it now. Every Wednesday I go to a new one. On the 21st I’ll go back to Jefferson and meet with my audiologist for a new mapping where I’ll get another 4 programs.

Program 3 was a bit of a challenge at first. Not as hard as program 1 (that I think will always be the hardest because it’s when I was first activated — lots of new sounds and a whole new world to get used to!), but harder than program 2. Program 2 was a breeze to get used to! On the first day of program 3 it was a bit weird. I wasn’t sure what was different at first but I kept hearing a musical/whistling sound in the background. Not quite the same as the “baby crying in the background” sound from program 1, but still a bit weird and sometimes annoying.

On the 2nd day of program 3 the whistling/musical background noise lessened a bit but some voices sounded a bit cartoonish or off. I was watching How I Met Your Mother. It sounded much better than it did in week 1. In week one all of the characters voices sounded horrible especially Barney and Ted’s. Now their voices sounded normal but I struggled a bit with Lily’s. She sounded kind of like Minnie Mouse.

I was beginning to get disappointed with program 3 and a tad bit discouraged because I was having some difficulties adjusting to it and wasn’t seeing any improvements, but I had my first small victory on day 3 (Friday).

On Friday night I went to the Cheesecake Factory in Cherry Hill with my family to celebrate my recent promotion to Assistant Project Manager. It was PACKED and SUPER LOUD! We had to wait about an hour to get a table that’s how many people there were. Normally I’d never be able to hear in such an environment, let alone carry on a conversation. I changed the setting on my one remaining hearing aid to block out some of the background noise and I did fine hearing both my parents and the waiter. My parents said I did very well and that they were amazed. They also said I was “glowing” and just so happy. I was. It’s amazing being able to do something as small as hold a conversation in a crowded, noisy restaurant. I could never do this before. This was small victory #1 with program #3.

Small victory #2 and #3 took place on Saturday night. First I went grocery shopping at Shoprite with my dad. I wasn’t paying too much attention, but all of a sudden I realized I was listening to “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow. I could hear pretty much every word of it. It was playing from the store’s radio! I haven’t been able to hear a store radio and pick out the words and actually recognize what they were playing in at least 15 years! I was so excited! I stopped what I was doing and texted my boyfriend, Larry, to share the news. He said “Me too, I’ll take a Snickers.” lol. It’s little things like that that make me love him. The ironic part was I was actually in the candy aisle when it was playing. I began to think how the store might’ve been playing that to get people to buy candy. I didn’t buy any candy, but I have to admit I was tempted.

Shortly after getting home I played one of my favorite radio stations, K-Love. The music sounded great, but the thing that amazed me the most was the fact that I could hear the radio hosts talking in between songs and I could pick up every word they were saying. This is another thing I’ve never been able to do previously. This was small victory #3.

Small victory #4 was perhaps the biggest victory yet and took place just last night. I was bored so I decided to tackle some tasks for work and get a head start on my week. I had to upload and optimize my client’s videos on YouTube. I sometimes struggle with these tasks due to my hearing and will frequently ask my dad to watch them with me and tell me what’s being said. This time I decided to try them on my own. I had headphones which helped, but they weren’t my $300 superior sound quality beats. I had to charge my Beats, so I borrowed my dad’s $20 basic sony head phones. But I could actually hear every single word on my own! I was so happy and excited! YouTube videos have always been one of my biggest struggles with my hearing. I could never hear or understand them unless they had caption (which none of these did) and even then it didn’t come in clearly. These sounded beautiful. I could even hear the wind in the background! My mind was blown!

I’m hoping to see small victory #5 today as I may have to take a client phone call at work. The project manager is out on vacation so I’m taking his place. I will probably ask someone to help me take the call, but I’m curious to see how I do. I might surprise myself! Wish me luck!

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