One of the best feelings is taking your cochlear implant off after a long day, and it’s akin to taking your bra off. So freaking good.
It’s been two weeks since my switch-on, and it’s been an interesting ride thus far. I can hear myself typing this. The world has become more fascinating. I never knew how noisy it would be!
The first week was a struggle. I even struggled with putting my CI on the morning after switch-on, so I decided to put it on later on, and I was able to wear it for a couple of hours. I wore it again for few hours at home. Everything sounded quite alien, just as I thought. I played with a few things around the house to see if I could hear the sounds they made, such as the tap with water running, the shower, the radio, and a few more.
A few days later, I was struggling. Wearing a CI was (and still is!) exhausting, and the world became a lot more overwhelming than I realised. My mental well-being took a hit, and I wasn’t in the best mind-frame. After talking to a few close friends, I decided to dedicate the following Saturday to a CI-free day. I was initially worried about what my audiologist would say about that, but I realised I didn’t have to disclose my CI-free days.
The most important thing was that I needed to look after myself, and that I needed to acknowledge my limits.
Wearing a CI isn’t exactly a walk in the park; it requires a lot of work to re-train the auditory part in your brain. There’s still a lot of sounds I haven’t recognised yet, but I’m taking each day as it comes. With assistance and/or being hyper-aware, I’ve been able to recognise a large number of sounds:
- Trackpad on my Macbook making clicking sounds – it annoyed me to no end, but I’ve since learnt to block it out.
- Running water: one of my favourite sounds!
- Wind: it’s a lot louder at Brighton Beach!
- Waves, albeit a bit faintly due to the wind.
- Paddy (my housemate’s dog) panting. SO. ANNOYING.
- Music: Move by Ilana Charnelle was the first song I enjoyed since getting switched-on. Buy her latest album on iTunes and you can thank me later 😉
- Dogs barking
- Clothes rubbing
- My nails – I need to cut them more often; they make SO much noise when I drag them against a surface such as my jeans.
- Cars, and traffic
- Myself walking
- BREATHING. I heard myself breathe for the first time yesterday morning! Dear me.
- People and dogs sighing.
- Paddy walking.
- Gas being turned on in the oven.
There’s a few more, but I cannot remember them all! It’s so overwhelming, yet exciting. I’m constantly amazed at everything making sounds, especially when I’ve never heard those before. Some sounds such as dogs barking are familiar, but they definitely sound a lot different this time around.
I can definitely say that hearing through a CI is a lot different to a hearing aid. A lot more clear, and sharper. I can identify sounds quicker than with a hearing aid, which is pretty good.
In the past week, sounds have started becoming clearer. At last week’s mapping session, I was surprised to find that the beeps had become clearer. I am starting to pick up on speech, although lip reading is still essential for myself to be able to connect words with sounds. I still watch TV/movies with captions, but with time, it becomes clearer. I’ve used captions all my life, so I don’t think I’ll ever stop — with captions, I get more information. I don’t want to have to struggle to understand a video clip without captions, even if I wear my CI.
However, there’s still a lot of work to be done yet. The journey is going to be long, but one I will be enjoying. There’ll be good and bad days. As long I am aware of my limits, that my mental wellbeing is a priority, and that I have my support system in place, I will do well.
Until next time!