Tag Archives: Hearing aid

Changing Environment

Illustration of internal parts of a cochlear i...

Hey Guys!

I know it has been a very long time since I’ve updated, and I really appreciate all of the nice comments and feedback left on my old posts. I still check them every couple of days and I always enjoy what people have to say.

I haven’t updated in a while due to the fact that I had nothing new to tell, but as of yesterday there is some new news and information!

I’ll start in the beginning. I’ve reciently taken on a new job as a Holistic Reader for my university. I’m loving the change of jobs and the semester is going very well. I’m still on track to become an audiologist, hopefully I’ll see that dream come true within the next few years!

I’ve recently been experiencing difficulty with comprehension on both my implant side and my hearing aid side. Both my comprehension and sound recognition have gotten more difficult to work with the past few months. I’ve been putting off going to the audiologist because my insurance doesn’t cover appointments but the difficulties finally became severe enough that I went.

I spent two hours getting mapped (new programming for the implant), and my audiologist decided to start a new stimulation style for my implant. If you would have asked me two days ago if I knew about alternative stimulations on the implant, I would have had no idea what you were talking about. Basically getting the new stimulation means that the way the implant stimulates my nerve is different than before. We decided to try this alternative mapping because the old one was over-stimulating my nerves in my neck and face and causing a shocking sensation down my neck and shoulders. I’m not exactly sure on the science behind it, but I can certainly tell you about how the patient handles the new stimulation.

It seems as if I have just been activated for the first time all over again.

Unfamiliar sounds are all around me, I can clearly hear people on the telephone again. Everything is different and it is definately a learning experience. People’s voices are unfamiliar and my car makes noises that I’ve never noticed before. The toilet is loud and one of my co-workers sounds like Mickey Mouse. The rain was loud last night and I’m still unfamiliar with what a blizzard sounds like. Music for me has changed and my keyboard sounds very loud. All of this is another whole new experience for me.

To some people that sounds horrible and scary, but to me it is one of the best sensations in the world. My old mapping was starting to become ineffective and I was starting to miss out on key things throughout my environment. Although I’m facing a learning curve ahead of me, I can tell that this alternative stimulation style will help me in the long run. As my audiologist put it, “I’m taking one step backwards to go three steps forward”.

After discussion with my audiologist, we are going to start looking into getting another implant on my left side. My audiologist would like to see me wait until the fall to get implanted for newer technology, but it is definately news that we are looking into getting another one. I’ll definately keep this page updated with additional news as it unfolds.

I hope you have a great afternoon and please feel free to comment in the section below, I love reading feedback!

-Connor

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Life Changes

I hope this post catches everybody doing well, I’ve been really working on my writing skills! I’m in three writing classes, and I’m working at my school paper as a reporter. I’m really loving it!

I’m doing really well, and my cochlear implant is working as good as usual. I’m still thankful everyday when I get up and put my implant on. It’s like being reintroduced to hearing every morning. I am still amazed every day that I am able to hear something new, it truly is a blessing to have gotten the cochlear implant.

I’m starting to experience the telltale signs that my hearing on my left side is really starting to deteriorate. My hearing has really been loosing it’s foothold on the left side since about the beginning of the year.

It’s really hard to explain to people what the feeling is like to not be able to hear, many can’t grasp the situation. Most don’t understand the social strongholds that being deaf can bring. I think that’s a good thing, I wouldn’t really want people to fully understand what it’s like!

Some key things that I’ve been feeling is that my clarity and understanding of speech has really taken a turn for the worse. It seems as if my own speech has been affected by my sudden loss of hearing on the left as well.

This loss can be really exhausting, I’m feeling like I’m relying on my implant and lip reading skills to get through the day. This is really something different than I’ve ever been used too.

Sure, life throws you curve balls, and things get difficult, but the thing to remember is that the crappy situation doesn’t last forever. It will eventually get better, patience is just needed.

Another thing to remember is that everything happens for a reason, I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be in life. This time last year I was struggling to understand all of the constant new noises and voices around me. Getting the cochlear implant is still a constant daily journey that I face, learning all of the new sounds doesn’t happen overnight, and I’m still repeatedly asking complete strangers what certain sounds are.

I could get discouraged that I’m not understanding everything, or that people get so frustrated with me for not catching everything the first time. I could let it get to me that I’m not like everybody around me when it comes to hearing, but what good would it do?

I know everybody has their differences and there specific situations that may seem to suck, but why should we let that get us down? I was born unable to hear, and I didn’t get any hearing aids until I was four. That is really late! There is absolutely nothing I can do to change being deaf, and being different than everybody else.

But one thing I can do is try to make a positive difference in somebodies life. It doesn’t do anybody any good to sit and mope about what I don’t have, but it does everybody some good to take what I do have and make a difference for the better in the world.

I hope you have a good week!

-Connor

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Summer School’s Done!

Logarithms

Logarithms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

….Well almost, and I’ve gotta admit, that math class was embarrassingly hard. I’ll be glad when I’m back in Norman with my friends and not having to worry about logarithms in math and serving tables at On the Border.

This summer really went by fast, and by fast, I mean it seems like I was just moving into my dorm last year. And it seriously was an entire year ago. It’s amazing how fast it went by. I’m thinking about how much I’ve changed in a year as well, it’s astonishing how much somebody can change in just a short time.

I’ve changed in so many ways. A year ago, I had never heard many of the sounds I come across on a daily basis now. Just experiencing that gift of sound for the six months I’ve had it has completely changed my outlook in life for the better. Honestly, I believe it has made me a happier and less stressed out person. Before college, I had never really grown up, which isn’t abnormal. I mean you really can grow up being 45 minutes away from home.

I feel like I’ve also learned a lot more about people and how many different kinds of them there are in the world. I’ve started to pay attention to other people in my life other than myself, and it’s made me a happier person. I’ve learned that you should never change yourself for anybody, which is something that I may have learned a little late. I remember in middle school, I would go to classes and just not wear my hearing aids for fear that people would judge me. The funny thing is, now I’m the one in college and most of the people that judged me in my younger years haven’t seen the inside of a university. I’ve learned to stop caring what other people think, which is a very late, but a hard lesson to learn. But honestly, it can be extremely hard to learn that lesson as a kid when you feel like you are the only one going through what you are going through.

I know that lesson doesn’t just apply to deaf people too.


Sometimes, people can be cruel, but I honestly feel that everybody in this world has the capacity to be a good person. I hate how people blame their actions on their upbringing. It floors me, I’m the product of three divorces and I am deaf, I mention those because being products of divorces increases the risk of being a criminal when the child grows up (I don’t know how they find that because it seems like everybody is the product of divorce anymore), and being deaf increases the risk of depression and other mental disorders. I’ve never let the negatives in my life replace the positives. I honestly believe in the good in other people, even if I have good reason to not do so. I’ll let you consider that a good or bad quality. I hope that by reading this blog, people are learning more about people that are deaf and I hope that somehow you are able to relate some of my posts to events in your life.

Have a good day!

Connor

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Busy, Busy, Busy

I’ve been pretty busy since my last post, but I wanted to post on my blog the video and news article that Hearts for Hearing had done on them. I am a part of both of them and it turned out pretty awesome!

The video is here, it is linking you to the Thunder interview that myself and some other teachers participated in. It turned out great!

Then I did an article for The Daily Oklahoman alongside some other people for Hearts for Hearing, here that is!

I think it is great that more and more people are starting to take in interest in getting these kids the help they need in order to succeed in the world like every other child.

I really hope that by reading this blog, that people are becoming increasingly educated about how it is to get a cochlear implant, or to go through life as a deaf teenager. I believe that if anybody is thinking about making such a drastic decision as to get a cochlear implant, they really need to think about the weight of that decision. I’m hoping that by going into past articles, that you can learn that it was never an easy decision, it was never an easy choice, it was never an easy recovery, but it was what I needed to do for myself in order to make myself successful. Honestly, it has been one of the hardest things I have ever done though.

Yes, I acknowledge that that wasn’t my only option for success in my life, but it was the one that worked for me. I believe that the controversy about cochlear implants stems from deaf people learning that cochlear implants are the only thing you can do to be successful. That isn’t true. I hope that anybody reading this takes whatever they learn and makes the right choice, not the easy one. I hope that people learn from my blog that cochlear implants are extremely successful if administered correctly, and that it can be extremely beneficial.

Nobody ever said life was easy, or that life was fair. But there is ALWAYS something you can do to improve your situation.

Yes, I sometimes get frustrated with my situation. I sometimes get really irritated with the fact that I didn’t hear that hot girl at table 45’s drink order, or that I didn’t hear the lyrics to the song the first time, or that I didn’t hear the phone ring. I get embarrassed just as everybody else would about being different, but then I realize that their opinion doesn’t matter. I turn up my cochlear implant, put a new hearing aid battery in, and I go ask that hot girl what she wanted to drink again. I don’t care what other people think. This is how I was born, so being embarrassed or frustrated is a waste of my time. I take that embarrassment and turn it into a joke, which then turn into educating people. Because I commonly get the “Really?! You don’t sound like a deaf person!” That makes me happy. I like that I can make a positive impact in people’s lives.

Have a good weekend and don’t blow your hand off on the 4th!

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It’s Been Awhile

Hello to all, I hope that this blog finds you doing well. Personally, I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve been very busy due to the fact that I am experiencing the end of the school year push, and it is hitting me hard.

Since most people now know, I’m going to make it known to everybody on here. I’ve made my mind up for sure. I’ve since decided to remove myself from the School of Drama’s technical theatre program. I will now be perusing a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders beginning in the fall. I will be doing that to become an audiologist. Interestingly enough, many people do not know what this is; lucky for you, I do and I’m willing to tell you!

An audiologist is somebody that runs tests on people that believe they have a hearing loss, or balance disorder. After the tests are run, if the person has a hearing loss of some sort, the audiologist fits the person with the right things to ensure that the patient will be successful throughout life with the equipment. The audiologist can fit the person with hearing aids, a cochlear implant, an fm system, a bone conductor system, or a combination of the above.

My personal goal is to become a pediatric audiologist. I want to diagnose hearing losses in children so that I can help the children early on in life to get them started on the road to success, just like it was done for me. I believe I would have the upper hand in assisting parents make the correct decision about how to approach the situation, considering I have been through every stage of the hearing loss spectrum. I believe that I could relate to the patients as well, believing that I would be able to help and understand in ways that the average audiologist cannot do.

Surprisingly, I have experienced setbacks with this goal. Many people have questioned me as to whether or not I will be able to be successful in completing my goal to become an audiologist. Some thing it is a poor choice for me to choose to move to this field. They are wrong. I believe that this career is definitely for me. I’m not going to sit here and define every reason for why it is the right reason. But I’ll tell you why it isn’t the wrong decision:

I will be a hell of an audiologist.

Many people like setting little markers for me in saying how much responsibility I can have, or to what capacity I can do something. That is ignorant. They will find out one day, not far from now, that I was able to complete my goal very successfully.

I am looking forward to the days when I can help people with the same circumstances that I’ve been through.

My cochlear implant has been nothing but good news, I’m still to this day recognizing new sounds around me, but the difference is that I’m starting to recognize the sounds as opposed to always wondering what it was.

Every morning I start my day silent, and until I put my cochlear implant and hearing aid on, I’m completely deaf, but when they turn on I am reminded of the array of new sounds waiting for me to hear and learn what they are, it’s pretty exciting stuff!

My Cochlear Implant Activation, Check it Out!

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Waking Up

As I’m sitting in my dorm room, I just put my hearing aid and cochlear implant on. I’m just sitting here observing sounds that I had never heard before I had been activated. One sound that struck me was my roommates breathing as he’s sleeping. Another thing that I’ve heard is somebody unlock their door to the bathroom that we share. I heard my computer’s hard drive slow down just a minute ago. All of these are sounds that I had never heard before. It is truly amazing that something so small can be put in your head and you can be given the gift of hearing.

Something that was hard for me to get over when I was deciding to get the cochlear implant was the cosmetic appearance of the outside device. To me, it’s quite large. Honestly, it probably isn’t any different to any other hearing aids that I’ve had in the past, but the thing that was bothering me was the magnet and the wire that connected to it. It seemed huge. Now that I’ve gotten the external piece activated, and I’ve heard the sounds, honestly I couldn’t care less what other people think about what it looks like.

Sure, I’ve had a few stares here and there, and I’ve had a 75 year old man at Pops point out that we had the same equipment (it isn’t the first time), but honestly I don’t care. I had gone so long without hearing sounds and now to be able to hear them is awesome. Sure, it looks a little different, but it allows me to be able to hear almost everything.

The cochlear implant allows me to be able to turn around when you say my name, it allows me to hear the punch line to the joke that everybody is laughing at, it allows me to be able to hear the full lecture in class, it allows me to understand the TV show without captions, it allows me to go to the movies and do more than stare at actors, and most important: it allows me to connect to people, because being deaf can disconnect you from people if you let it. Just as anything else will.

Have a good day!

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Ten Days After Activation

Illustration of Electric Acoustic Stimulation,...

Illustration of Electric Acoustic Stimulation, a combination of hearing aid and a cochlear implant in the same ear. Deutsch: Schemazeichnung Elektrisch Akustische Stimulation, eine Kombination von Hörgerät und Cochlear-Implantat im selben Ohr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been ten days after activation and things are going very well. I’m already talking on the cell phone on the right ear (something I would’ve never even tried beforehand). I’m hearing sounds and retaining that auditory memory much more than earlier. As I go through my day’s now I’m getting better at locating where sounds are coming from, I’m no longer doing the full visual sweep trying to see if somebody is looking at me after I hear my name said, I know where the sound came from. I’m very happy with my choice to have gotten the cochlear implant, best $70,000 I’ve spent to date!

I’ve been required ever since I’ve been activated to go to my audiologists office for “mappings” and therapy twice a week. After my third mapping and before my fourth mapping I went into the hearing booth to receive a hearing test. As I was going in, my audiologist said that I was going to be tested on my hearing on only my cochlear implant side. I was thinking in my head that I had read online that usually people suck on these things. It turns out that I made a 100% on the test. I was told that that is better than some people that have cochlear implants for years test on these things.

I was thinking yesterday what it was like to be in two hearing aids all of my life, and how I wish I could’ve done this sooner. I mean for most of my life my right side had been silently dead. Now with the cochlear implant it has been completely turned on and it is really awesome how great it is. I anticipate that I’ll be needing some adjustment over the next month at school, but it will be worth it. The sound from hearing aids is so different from a cochlear implant. Hearing aids literally try to BLAST sounds in your ear, and if you have a severe hearing loss like I do, it doesn’t work. Cochlear implants work differently, they send sound straight to the nerve so there is no need to blast. And I’m getting to where I understand everything on that side. Something I would’ve never expected.

So I’m getting ready to go back to OU, and that is going to present itself with a whole new set of challenges. A whole different array of sounds and voices that I need to learn, and quickly. Ever since activation I’ve had the luxury of being surrounded with all of these people who have gone to therapy with me and have heard explanations from my therapists and audiologist about how difficult it is to adjust. I’m not going to get that any more. Now I’m jumping in headfirst into school, I’ve got the feeling that the next couple of weeks are going to be very crazy.

The video is coming, slowly but surely. I’ve been working on several different projects and that had fallen on the back burner, It’ll get done though, I’ve got one of my friends working on it.

Have a good weekend guys! Thanks for reading!

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One Week After Surgery

christmas 2007

christmas 2007 (Photo credit: paparutzi)

First… I hope everybody had a good Christmas, I did. I think I like quiet Christmas’ better!

So it has been a week since I have let a drill have its way with my right ear and I’m feeling much better. There is a lot of things different that nobody else would notice.

Since I got the surgery it hasn’t stopped hurting, but now its gotten to a dull throbbing that I can bare without having to take Tylenol everyday. My incision is now healing, and the pain has died down tremendously, so I can feel around on my head and it feels strange. I felt around on my head and the internal piece feels huge! It wraps around a lot of my right side of my skull and it seems really thick. I can also feel where they hollowed out all of the bone to insert this device.

Obviously communication with me has had a strain lately. I wasn’t aware that the 10% of hearing that I had in that ear really made that much of a difference when it came to functioning. Everything seems vastly quiet, even though I never relied on this ear. Every time my hearing aid would go dead or something, I would always take a battery from the right side with no problems. But now it is complete silence on that side, different from before. It is really hard to explain without you having already experiencing this silence weirdness. It is like this because I haven’t been activated yet (January 5th!) I am excited for the day I get to have my right side turned on.

Even when you put in ear plugs, you still hear something. And when your done being “silent”, you can just take them off. But this is something permanent. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m very excited to get activated and everything, I’m just not really digging this step of complete silence.

Although this step towards a cochlear implant isn’t the funnest step, I’m still very excited to move on and get activated. I really appreciate all of the continued support and prayers that everybody is still giving me.

I hope you guys have a good day!

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2 More Days!

I know it’s been over a week since I’ve updated this blog, but I’ve been busy. As usual a lot has happened though.

Everybody should know that when your getting a surgery done, that the hospital is more than likely going to expect a down payment. I wasn’t aware of this small fact. There have been small hoops coming up all this past week, the hospital has been calling me saying that they need a $400.00 down payment before the surgery can be performed. I called the hospital to get it in writing that I needed to, in fact, provide that down payment, and then they told me it was just highly suggested. That wasn’t what they said before. So lesson to learn from that…. Hospitals may or may not expect down payments on procedures done. I’ll keep you posted on whether or not they made me pay!

Don’t even get me started with insurance.

I feel like this day really jumped up on me. I kept telling myself that I would start really paying attention to how close the date is for this after my show was done, then I said after my birthday, then I said after finals. Now it’s two days away.

Everybody keeps asking me if I’m nervous, I’m really kind of indifferent to what is going to be happening Monday. I mean before you think I’m a big insensitive weird person, let me explain what I mean.

What is happening Monday isn’t going to be anything but the actual surgery. They will not be giving be the part (called the processor) that allows me to hear all of the sounds God intended me to hear until January 5th. THAT is the day I’m excited and nervous for. But Monday is a surgery. January 5th is the activation.

“Why does it take so long?” – You might ask.
Because We have to wait for my stitches to heal and for Christmas and New Years to pass. Yes, I will not be hearing a sound out of that side through Christmas and New Years.

“Aren’t you already deaf on that side?”
To a point, I cannot make out any sounds without hearing aids any more, and even with the hearing aids it is a hit and miss. When I’m getting the procedure done it is going to remove all residual hearing. I will never be able to hear out of my ear without the processor.

Honestly I’m just ready to get it over with, I had to cut my hair really short, I’m not a fan of it. I liked it longer. I promised one of my friends that I would post a funny story again so that will be my last post that I make before the surgery. Thanks for the continued reading!

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The Man That Left For Dinner

pepsi

pepsi (Photo credit: *Sally M*)

I’m sitting here in the greenroom, not much has occurred these last couple of days since my last update. I’ve been basically going through all of the end of the semester things that a usual college student would go through, worrying about finals, finishing up papers, crewing my show for the semester, preparing for cochlear implant surgery. You know, the usual stuff.

I oftentimes have some different worries or things on my mind that I have to deal with, being a deaf college student. Stresses that other students wouldn’t have to think about. These worries are more common for your average 72 year-old grandfather walking the street. Nonetheless, I deal with them.

One thing that is common about all deaf people using assistance devices of any kinds, is that they have to constantly worry about batteries. I know I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post, but this is very important. Whether it be for the wireless microphone, your hearing aids, or your cochlear implant, it must be on your mind. The feeling of having a battery go out and looking in your backpack and realizing that they are all gone is to the equivalent of waiting for that text message from that hot girl you’ve been talking to, and then having your cell phone go dead. It isn’t a fun situation. So to relieve that stress, one often carries more than one pair on his person. Such places can be in a backpack, pocket, hide them in the electric shop, whatever works. They are my drug, and energizer is my dealer.

Another thing that you must always think about, is how loud you are talking. I’m constantly doing a mental volume check on my speech. Now somebody who has normal hearing obviously does this subconsciously, but to me, you must always do that. You definitely don’t want to be talking too loudly in class, or in a public place and draw too much unwanted attention to yourself. Believe me, from somebody that knows, you don’t want that attention because you just yelled what could be perceived as weird, dirty, gross, inappropriate, or distasteful, when in reality your honestly just trying to have a private conversation.

Another thing that you’ve always got to think about is your surroundings. Now I wasn’t going to say this because I believe this should be a common worry for everybody. Such as worrying about cars, bikes, or… trees. But anyways, I wasn’t going to mention it until yesterday. Yesterday I was walking to class when I noticed people kept looking at me.

A lot of people.

Like everybody.

And there grandma.

As it just so occurs, after my daily coffee run, there was a Coke truck behind me on the road honking his horn and trying to get around me, making very Jesus-like gestures. Apparently he had been following me a long ways and I hadn’t heard him. I was in the middle of the road.

So I did what was smart, I turned around, pointed at my ears and got out of the street. He blew his horn as he sped by.

I don’t even like Coke, I’m more of a Pepsi man.

Have a good day tomorrow folks, enjoy a Pepsi Cola!

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