A Great Weekend

What a great weekend. On Saturday i went to London for a beer or 3, might have been a lot more than that, it was my mates 40th birthday pub crawl. I was a bit nervous at first, as i had not been to a busy place with my CI on a drinking session. I soon settled down. I caught the train up, i took my Neptune with me to listen to some music on my MP3 player. I plugged myself in to my Neptune, turned on my MP3 player, flat battery, doh. Ah but i had a back up, i had the same music on my phone, why i just didn’t use that in the first place i’ll never know. So there i was sat in First Class, in the Quiet Coach, listening to music, and nobody could hear a thing, apart from me, and the smell wafting from my Pasty. I used my Harmony once i arrived in London. I got on the tube, cor isn’t it noisy, i remember it was noisy when i had hearing, but forgot how noisy.  I met up with everybody in the pub,it was my first visit to a pub since my mapping session last week, thank goodness for Clearvoice. In the first pub i had it on medium clearvoice, but that wasn’t quite right, so i switched to high clearvoice and turned the volume up. Bingo, i found that better. It wasn’t easy, noisy places are a struggle, but i could chat to people near me. In one pub i was chatting to a chap at the bar, commenting on the good ales, and how the pub was nice, he said glad you like it I’m the manager. It’s a good job i didn’t say anything bad. There was about 10 of us round a table, chatting, and one of the chaps asked about my CI and how did it work, so i gave him a quick run down. My mate turned round and said ‘ i’ve got my mate Dave back’. Well,wow, that was a real nice comment, one i will not forget. People i hadn’t seen for 18 months commented on how i was much better at talking, they could hear me, instead of my whispering, then shouting, that was back in my dark days. It was a real good day out. Everything made it back home safely.

Sunday, er yep, i had a small hangover, well, smallish, i felt awful……….

Today at work we tried different things. I tried the voice recorder again. All the phone calls are recorded for safety reasons. We use the recordings to do random checks on peoples communication skills, and for other issues. I am finding that still a bit of a struggle, i can hear the outgoing person speaking, but the person at other end of phone i cannot understand. I noticed all the voices sounded the same, male and female. So a bit of work needed there. Then it was telephone practice, using my headset. I gave my colleague some sheets from one of our systems with messages that are passed on. He went to the other side of the office, rang my desk, then started to say the messages to me, which i had to repeat back, i got all of them right, i only asked him once to repeat a sentence, which had 15 and 50 in it, but that can be difficult for any person. I was happy with it. I will need to listen in to other phone calls in the office to get used to accents, as well as listening to how people speak fast etc,but we are heading in the right direction slowly, but surely. I’ll get there.Tomorrow we will do more practice as well. I will ring out , and also get my colleague to ring my mobile as well.

Since my mapping session last week i have noticed quite an improvement in sounds. I was walking to the bus stop today, jingling the coins in my coat pocket, i had heard it before with my CI but not as loud as that. I must have really annoyed people before my CI as i used to jingle the coins and not hear it,oops. My bare feet walking across the carpet, water in sauce pans bubbling away, the noise water makes when you pour it into a cup when making a cup of tea, the cat scratching, all noises that are louder. The doors in the office go wooosh as well when they open.

Life is good.

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London, love it lit up.

 

 

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Now thats a proper pasty

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Weds Mapping Session

Weds mapping session went well. The volume has been adjusted on my Harmony, and my IDR has been raised to 70. IDR is Input Dynamic Range, it’s the amount of sound that is let in to your CI. This is a description of IDR i found on Facebook:

For IDR – think of a window on a wall – in the middle of a room you have never been in before. If that window is open 60 inches (as an example) you might see the top of trees. If the window was opened 80 inches you might see that there is also a gorgeous lake and the top of those trees. So you are getting MORE information with the wider window – same applies for the IDR – the wider the more information (more sound) some people like that additional sound – others may find it to be too much. We have the ability to set it to different values as we are each unique individuals. No number is perfect or required.

One of my settings had clearvoice changed to high. That’ll be tried and tested in the pub on Saturday. My Neptune was also adjusted with the same map, apart from one setting is Aux only and no Clearvoice, lets see what music sounds like on that one. After the mapping we did some speech exercises. These were with no lip reading, so it was pure listening. The audiologist read out some numbers first, i had to repeat them, they were done in stages, 1-10,1-20, then 1-100. That went well. After it was words, 2 words sounding the same, again i had to repeat the one word that was chosen, did ok as well. The last was a drawing of a kitchen, with items below, the audiologist read out a sentence, i.e. put the saucepan on the cooker, so i had to draw the saucepan on the cooker, i got those right. But i can safely say, that was quite tiring.The audiologist said my test results last month were phenomenal, i felt well chuffed when she said that, made my day it did      I have 2 Rehab CD’s to try. Which i will try on Sunday. My next mapping session is April, unless i get any issues, which i doubt.

So tomorrow morning, i’ll give the Neptune a morning out, and if its doing ok, it’ll have a day in use at work for a change. Thats what i like about having the 2nd processor, if i fancy a change i can. Don’t you just love AB.

I was given a copy of the latest newsletter from the National Cochlear Implant User Association, there was a very interesting tip in it about AB’s T-Mic:

Sound quality can of the microphones can be affected by dust and moisture over a period of time, but this may be so gradual it’s not noticed. It’s a good idea to try the spare t-mic every couple of months to see if it sounds better than the one in use, if it does its time to send the old one back to AB, or contact your audiologist to get a new spare.

I learnt something reading that newsletter. Here is a link to the NCIUA website, quite alot of info on it:

http://www.nciua.org.uk/Welcome.html

 

 

Mapping session tomorrow (Weds)

I have a mapping session tomorrow at 1500. I’m glad i have it too, i need turning up. The dial on my Harmony is pointing to 2 – 3 o’clock. I shall take my Neptune as well, as that needs adjusting.

I put on my blog last week that i lost my Bronze Headpiece cap, well, we decided to Hoover under the sofa this morning before i went to work, and there it was, my bronze headpiece cap. I thought yippee. My black one was keeping it company too. The funny thing is, i thought i had lost my bronze cap at work. I had 2 people searching the office for me last week, when i realised it was missing, they even searched the toilet. Think i’d best keep quiet on that. But, on the train to work today, was one of the people who looked for my cap, she sat next to me, on my right side, phew, glad i’m implanted on my left side……..

My bronze cap is no firmly attached to my headpiece. I put 3 small bits of Blue Tack inside the cap, and it holds it on real nice, the only way that cap will fall off is if my head falls off with it. I shall be asking about a snuggie for my CI, something that can be attached to the Harmony, and goes around your ear, it keeps the processor on better, and will stop me having anymore near misses, plus i am out on an all day drinking session Saturday, so I’ll want something then. For my own safety.

So far, my top 3 favourite sounds this week:

  1. Birds singing, i just love that sound
  2. My cat purring, i have to hold my head close to hear her
  3. My cats claws going tick tick tick across the floor

I still hate the clip clop of shoes, and the tapping of keyboards in the office at work.

 

 

More Birdies

I heard the birds in the trees again today, and what a lovely day it was too.

At work i had a meeting to attend. That was a struggle. There was 8 if us, and i found the people with the strong voice who spoke clearly were spot on. Some of the quieter speaking people were a bit of a struggle. Then people were talking together and over each other, ooo, that was me confused.com. People with normal hearing and both ears working will find it easy in a group conversation, but a deaf person, or someone with only one working ear, be it with a HA or a CI will only be working on ‘half power’ so will struggle to hear and also work out where the sound is coming from. At the end of the meeting before we left one person asked how it was, i said it was ok one at a time, but when you all talked together it was too much, so from next week, if people start talking over each other one of us will say so and put a stop to it. Which was really good. I did have the volume turned up to as far is it will go to hear people, then the bloke next to me coughed a bit loud. That was me stuck up on the ceiling. We all laughed as i did jump a bit.

After the meeting i went back to my usual office floor. I then thought, mmmm, time to try the phone again, got to practice it. But this time i decided to try it with a headset.

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The headset i used. It has a perfect cushion on the headphone side. And put that over the t mic, and bingo, it cuts most of the background noise out. My colleague rang me from downstairs, and i could understand him. When he spoke faster, i was lost. He tried speaking softly, and that was ok, again tried it fast, i lost him again. So we have a fair bit of practicing to do. Which we will be doing the following week. I was happy we tried it again, it was far better than with just a normal telephone. It was also a bit of a confidence booster as well. My colleague did ask why it took me so long to answer the phone, well, i got a bit tangled with all the wires.

I have got myself a nice pattern going now with my batteries. Yesterday morning i put the small battery on when i got up, when that went flat last night, i put the powercell plus on, turned it off when i went to bed, and put back on this morning. It will be charged tonight, then tomorrow morning, the small battery again, when it goes flat, the powercell plus. By doing this all my batteries are getting a chance to go flat and be recharged.

 

Birds, the feathered variety

I decided to walk to a different bus stop today on my way to work. I’m glad i did, i stopped by a few trees and could hear the starlings in the trees. I stopped and looked up, there was about 20 of them. It was such a nice noise. Something i could not hear with my Hearing Aid, i thought all the birds had lost their voices.

Work was a bit more challenging today. I decided to sit with one of my colleagues who was doing 1-2-1’s with his team, i found it a bit difficult in following 2 people at once. The room we sat in wasn’t very good either, a lot of background noise, even with clear voice setting on medium it was a struggle. As my colleague said, things will fall into place when they are good and ready. So that’s something i have to work on. I have a meeting to attend tomorrow, something new to try out, there will be 8 of us in the meeting. I think i might struggle on that, but i will not give in.

My right ear is playing up again, poxy thing, not my implanted side luckily. Might be a visit to my GP on the cards. That ‘thing’ inside is a real nuisance, i’ll be glad when they operate on it.

Ctoma

The picture shows the ‘thing’ that has caused all my problems. It’s the white/grey thing above the ear drum (the blue shape on the picture).  It’s not a bad picture of the inner ear either. The cochlea is to the right of the picture, the curly thing. That’s where the electrodes go. Amazing how it all goes in there. Glad my surgeon had a steady hand that morning.

 

 

 

Update

I have been having some fun and games. Good ones and annoying ones. My wind shields turned up on Saturday. I ordered them of Ebay, 4 mm size ones. They are a real good investment, and work wonders. I tried them out on way to work Monday, and it cut the wind noise right out. I walked to my local bus stop, and noticed wind noise, so i placed the shield on, and hey presto, it stopped.

DSC_2148DSC_2147-1These are the little beauties. A must if you hate wind noise.

 

 

 

Here it is attached to my Harmony T Mic

 

 

 

 

 

Somewhere yesterday the bronze cap fell off my headpiece, which is a bit annoying. I have found they are not held on very strong, even though they are held on by a magnet. I have a black one upstairs, but i will leave it plain for a while. The Neptune cap is a far better fit, and a lot stronger.

I’ve heard some new sounds this week:

  • My shoes squeaking through the subway at the station
  • Seagulls squawking, and oh my that’s annoying
  • The air conditioning unit hissing on the train, but it was very quiet on the train
  • The printer making a right racket in the office
  • The air conditioning unit rumbling in the office

I tried to use the telephone in the office yesterday.It wasn’t as easy as i was expecting.It seemed very quiet/faint. I have used my mobile twice, but that was a simple call. My colleague tried a few examples of the type of communication we use in the office. I could make some of his voice out, but if he spoke faster,like a normal person would speak, i struggled. The more he raised the more clearvoice cut the volume down.But it was my 1st time, so i need more practice. I need to speak with my audiologist next week to see if we can make any adjustments.

It has been good being back at work, as everybody wants to ask me how i am getting on, people are amazed at how i have improved, and are fascinated at how clever a CI is. Well they are right there.

I had a pint (or 5) after work last night. I met my mate and we tried a new pub that has opened on Bath Spa station. And its run by one of my favourite Breweries, Bath Ales. I was expecting conversation to be a struggle as its a big open planned pub, but i was totally wrong. It was brilliant, had right good catch up. We walked to another nearby pub, and again we had a good chat. My mate was one of the first people to meet me after activation, he was surprised then of my progress. He said last night he had noticed an even bigger jump in progress. I was quite surprised myself, as i know i need some more volume!Whilst we were out, i changed my battery to the power cell plus, that was around 1900, i took the battery off my CI at 0030 (Or around that time, i had been drinking) when i went to bed, put it back on this morning at 0910, i have just checked it and I’m still on 2 flashes. That’s pretty good going.

 

 

HJ Chat last night

Well what a wonderful evening on Hearing Journey chat last night. We were joined by 2 other people who are under the same Hospital as me, Southmead Hospital, Bristol. It was brilliant to chat to them. We are all aiming to meet up next month for some liquid refreshments and a good old chat. Michele was on line too, and said she doesn’t thing that 3 people from the same hospital have ever been on chat together. Also on line was Yvonne who works for Advanced Bionics, her job sounds very interesting. We were laughing about my earlier post about my crop circle! Now, if grew my hair and a beard…………….Crop Circle
I am currently sat using my Neptune, with it connected up to my MP3 player, listening to some Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. I used to listen to these bands a lot before i lost my hearing so I’m hoping it will help me understand music again slowly. One of my favourite Pink Floyd songs is Wish you were here, below is some lyrics from it:
We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have you found? The same old fears.
I think those lyrics sum up my dark days when i first lost my hearing in both ears. Not anymore.
Now tapping my feet away to an album by Depeche Mode – Violater, probably the best they ever did. I can follow a good beat to music quite well. A song with a strong guitar is a bit difficult. The lyrics are what i need to practice on. I find clearvoice does remove some of the music and lowers the vocals when a song gets towards the best part.
I have heard some sounds I’ve not heard in a long while yesterday and today. Whilst making our curries for tonight’s tea, the plop plop of the sauce cooking (all homemade, none of this jar rubbish). Last night, when everybody was in bed, i went into the kitchen, the cat followed me, and i could hear a tick tick tick tick as she followed me, it was her claws on the laminate floor, now that was a wow moment for me, the cat looked at me confused as i was trying to make her follow me again!