Plinkety plink; how do you tell if your ears are working?

Hello signI’ve had a perforated eardrum.  It was the non-implanted side, after a chest infection/cough….sudden sharp pain…..fluid coming out of my ear…..ring 111…..trip to see emergency doctor on a Saturday morning.  It all seems fine now but yes I did panic.  I particularly panicked when I couldn’t hear my hearing aid’s reassuring plinkety-plink-plink sound when I turned it on.  My GP said it might take a few weeks for the eardrum to heal enough to give me my “normal” hearing back in that ear but, just two weeks after it all began, things sound pretty good.  So that’s not the main point of this post.  The point is……what do you say to yourself to check that your ears are working??? Continue reading

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Cochlear implant film: episode four

chapter 4 enlargedEpisode Four is now available.

I’ve had the operation, I’ve had “switch on”.  Here I am talking about the first few days of being back home with a new “thing” on the side of my head.  Getting used to it, arguing with it……and suddenly hearing a wide variety of environmental sounds I hadn’t heard for so long.

One of the original blog posts covering this period was In which I stir a mug of tea and that event (stirring the tea!) is something I still vividly remember. It can still make me tear up.  Continue reading

Cochlear implant film: episode one

Vera Med-El

Emotional breakfast at the Vera/Nigel house this morning.  The first episode of the film was released at 7am so we watched it over muesli (me) and porridge (him). We’d seen it once before, when we went to Innsbruck, Medel’s HQ, to approve the various chapters; we found it moving then and today was no different, looking back to when life was quite, quite different. Continue reading

Things people don’t understand about hearing loss: number one….NOISE

Boom 2One of the things people don’t understand about hearing loss is noise.  They think people who can’t hear live in a quiet world.  There’s a logic to that and indeed, before the invention of hearing aids, they’d have been right.  Without the things that sit on our ears the world IS a very quiet place.

But with hearing aids……WOAH……

Adjusted to ramp up the sounds of speech a hearing aid will, unfortunately, ramp up everything else within the frequency ranges concerned.  Continue reading

Cochlear implant film – a trailer

Med El imageReaders of this blog with long memories may remember me being asked by staff at the Cochlear Implant Centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary, over a year ago, if I would be willing to be the subject of a film about the implant process.  I said yes and, twelve months ago last week, first met Henrique and Sebastian from Med-El, the company who manufacture my particular type of implant and who had decided to make the film.

There are lots of short films (five minutes or so) available about implants.  I watched several in the run up to the operation and very helpful they were too.  But I’m not aware of any other film following one person’s story right from the beginning (being offered the implant), through to the stay in hospital, then switch-on day, then the various stages in the weeks and months that follow.  I’m really hoping that having something available that shows the whole process will convince more people of the benefits of an implant and, in the UK, possibly even help in the campaign to make the eligibility criteria less strict.

The big news today is that a preview is available.  You can watch it here.  Med-El are releasing the film in various “chapters” at two weekly intervals, starting with “before the operation” on 23 October.  They return to film the last episode (“one year on”) next month.  The plan then is to release the full film (all the chapters!) sometime in early-ish 2019.  I’ll post when the various sections are available, or you can sign up to get them via the Med-El website.

Hope you like it.  HUGE thanks from me to Med-El and especially to Henrique and Sebastian – for the film but also for being there at all the crucial points, making me laugh and buoying me up.

(PS For subtitles click on the subtitles icon (CC) at the bottom of the screen).

 

 

Image copyright: Med-El.  A scene from their quality control laboratory.

Is deafness a disability?

101150247 - disappointed emoticon with hands on face“Yes!” I hear you all shouting.  “Yes, of course it is”.  But sometimes I wonder whether people in the outside world have their doubts, or at least don’t think it’s quite so serious a disability as some others.

I’m not talking here about people in the Deaf community (capital D), who have been deaf since birth or childhood and use British Sign Language.  They would sometimes say that their deafness is not a disability – they just speak a different language and otherwise can do everything a hearing person can.  I can understand and applaud that stance but I don’t share it.  Being an adult onset deaf person feels very different.  Having a sense and then losing it is a different kettle of fish to never having had it at all, which is why I suspect that most of the followers of this blog (those of us who are adult-onset lower-case deaf) have no problems with the term disability.  We’ve lost the ability to do something that we used to be able to do.

Moving on from that issue, though, what sometimes gives me pause for thought is when the outside world seems to have trouble accepting deafness as a disability. Continue reading