Monday, 19 August 2013

Hearing the world...

I was born profoundly deaf and had a Cochlear Implant for my left ear when I was young but due to my skin condition the wound couldn't close. In the end, it had to be taken out and the wound eventually closed. After that, I used a hearing aid for my right ear but it was useless and I didn't really hear anything very well. I hated wearing it because I thought it was pointless but I had to wear it in school.
I then decided to stop wearing it in my teens and I was happier without it. So I carried on hearing nothing and relied on vibrations when I went to nightclubs. I loved feeling music!

In early 2012 aged 24, I heard music from fitness class in gym when I was in ladies changing room. I wasn't using any cochlear implant or hearing aid at that time. At first I thought my mind was tricking me and I also thought I must have felt vibrations instead of hearing the music. So I asked my friend if the fitness class has only just started. She replied yes and I then knew I did hear music because I knew when the fitness class started! But not always though which was very puzzling to me.

Then during summer 2012 I was away with a charity with deaf youths. One day we had a music workshop, I froze and realised I couldn't feel the vibrations and could hear the music. I wanted to walk out of the room but couldn't because I had to be professional and stay with the youths. It was so confusing and I kept asking other staff if the music was on and if it was quiet or loud. When the workshop was over, I was so relieved but disturbed about not feeling vibrations.

I then realised that when I did hear something I couldn't feel vibrations 
but when I felt vibrations I couldn't hear anything!

I carried on with my life thinking that I didn't really hear it until late 2012, I kept hearing police sirens which drove me nuts! I hated hearing them so I knew something had to be done!

I then went to my GP and asked for a referral.

The waiting list was so long I finally saw someone in May 2013.
The noises drove me crazy I was excited when the date finally came! 

On the day, my appointment took over an hour I was happy because I felt they took me seriously!
We had a chat and had my ears checked. We discussed about cochlear implant and hearing aids. I hoped they didn't think I was being silly because I heard music and police sirens out of the blue 
even though I am profoundly deaf. 

I had mixed feelings because I didn't know what I wanted apart from being reassured that I wasn't silly. They explained the process of getting new hearing aid if I wanted a new one. I wanted to give it a try so agreed to it. They explained that the new hearing aid would be digital, completely new to me! 

Whilst I was waiting for a new hearing aid, I found my old hearing aid and started using it for a bit, and fell in love with music all over again! Before using my hearing aid, I loved music by feeling the vibrations but now, I can hear music and it's completely different from feeling the music! 
Amazing experience!

I finally got my new digital hearing aid in late July and started to listen music 
when I got home from the hospital.

New Digital Aid
Listening to the songs

I was learning a lots about different types of music I even had to learn how to use music on my iPhone! 
I soon realised I love listening to piano music when I want to switch my mind off!
When I want to feel pumped, I listen to dance music!
Now I would be lost without music!

One day, I was in a bad mood and over tired, I put music on and suddenly my mood changed!
I then knew I had to have music in my life and enquired about getting equipment to listen to music such as head phones & loops for deaf people. I wanted to have something I could use to listen to music on long flights, without disturbing other people.

Now I can listen to music on my trips, make a change from always reading books.

Hoping I am able to sleep on long flights with the help of lovely piano music or something similar.

My life had changed forever!

The process of hearing everything using my digital hearing aid wasn't perfect.

A lot of mixed feelings - one day I felt angry cos it wasn't working perfect, one day I felt upset cos I couldn't hear properly, one day I was hyper and happy listening to music in gym, one day I felt so annoyed trying to work my hearing aid out.
I then knew it was a major learning curve and I accepted it but now and then I would love to throw my hearing aid out of the window when it decide to play up!

But now and then I can't hear anything and everything would sound soft but still, I would be lost without my hearing aid and need it in my life so I have to be patient and hope for the best that it would improve. But then, some days it would behave and let me hear things making me happy.
My digital hearing aid is now a part of me.

So many mixed feelings but I felt something new lately and realised it was feeling embarrassed!
I then realised that since getting my new hearing aid I felt pressured of being able to talk properly and hearing people talking knowing what they are saying. I felt sad about that because I never felt embarrassed about not being able to talk like hearing people!

I understand why people around me would get excited about me hearing things again but it would be a long process as I never heard anything for years and years so my brain would need to re-learn again.

I wanted to get a hearing aid again so I would be aware of sounds happening around me 
I thought it might be useful for future jobs.

12th August 2013
I was watching The William Keown Trust Awards DVDs when I heard my laugh on it 
 it was a weird experience!

Also I was replying to emails on my iPhone when I suddenly heard alarm noise, at first I thought it was my doorbell going off but then I thought it might have been car horn! It did take me a min or so to realise it was my iPhone! I checked sound settings and found there are different sounds for each ring tone, text tone, new mail, and many more. I had to laugh! I had to change sound settings so I won't jump up thinking it was the doorbell going off when I send new emails! Strange experience but also it was lovely learning new things! 

I will be able to hear kiddies talking away - but won't know what they say unless I'll lip read them - and I heard my beautiful godson's new baby sister crying. It was lovely for me to hear her cos I like the idea of being aware of babies crying and it was a sound that I never heard.
A different experience!

Since getting my new hearing aid, I found I've gotten more tired when I have a full day of hearing new sounds in different places. I'm now used to hearing sounds in my local gym. As I am new to it, I've not always learnt how to separate sounds when more than 1 sound are happening but music stand out in gym so I can't hear other people talking or men dropping heavy dumbbells!

Heading to few nightclubs soon so it will be strange to hear music blaring! Even though I listen to music on my MacBook/iPhone but I am sure nightclub will have music blaring very loud :)

My iPhone is no longer on silent, but now and then I do like having a break from using hearing aids I have to remember to put my iPhone on silent again so I don't annoy people when it beeps loud and I won't hear it. But happily put it on loud when I am home so I can react quickly when I get messages :)

It will take me a long time to learn new sounds and recognising each sound.

Many learning & new experiences ahead! :)

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