Three years and almost a hundred posts later, it’s time to end the blog. I started blogging in February 2016 and continued until July 2017, then had a bit of a break. I started again in November 2017 when I’d just had my implant operation and now here we are……..
These days I’m definitely running out of ideas for things to write about so I’ve decided it’s time to stop. I’ve loved this blog. I’ve loved it so much I don’t want it to just fizzle out, with a post every several months, as some blogs do. I want to call a definite halt.
So there you go. End! Thank you everyone – for reading, for following, and for your support and feedback. THANK YOU.
But one last thing. Some of you might want to hear how I’m getting on sixteen months after cochlear implant switch-on day. Some of you might want not to miss the last episode of the film. If that applies to you…..read on one last time. If that doesn’t appeal…..all best wishes from me and farewell.
OK faithful people-interested-in-cochlear-implants – here goes! Continue reading
When I was first diagnosed with hearing loss forty years ago, and warned that the situation was likely to get progressively worse, I assumed that one day I might need to use sign language. Within months of the diagnosis I booked myself on a week-long Intensive Beginners course at the City Lit, in London (I lived in London then).
It was an excellent course. I’ve long forgotten the signs I learnt but some things I still remember, for example the very different grammatical structure of a sentence in sign compared to a sentence in spoken or written English.
When the week was over, though, I didn’t book any follow-ups. Continue reading
The clown with the funny face has gone. Or almost so.
I’ve been putting off writing this post because the initial announcement from NICE* on changed eligibility criteria for cochlear implants in England and Wales was flagged as confidential, with a publication date of 27 February. But the National Cochlear Implant Users Association has gone public so if they can, I can. It’s excellent news. The new criteria are more generous and many more people should qualify for an implant as a result.
What’s with the clowns? They were part of the dreaded Bamford-Kowal-Bench (BKB) test and it will go. No longer will people sit in soundproof rooms and listen to a tape of someone with very clear diction, speaking very loudly, working through a list of sentences and pausing for a lengthy period between each one. Continue reading
Another thing people don’t understand about severe hearing loss; I don’t think they understand the pain of it.
I’ve written before about how helpful I found some counselling sessions in 2017, when things were at their worst. The most helpful thing the counsellor did, in hindsight, was to give a name to my emotions. “I’m hearing a lot of grief” she said. Naming it was powerful. Yes, it was grief. It was a very profound grief, akin to losing someone very close to me, because indeed I had. I had lost a part of myself. Not just my hearing but my confidence, my personality…….quite a lot of “me”, in fact. Continue reading
But people think they do, don’t they? They think you put them in your ears and, lo and behold, you can hear again. But it’s not like that. It’s become a bit of a cliché amongst people with hearing loss that hearing aids are not like spectacles, but it’s true. I’m short-sighted but when I put my glasses on I can see almost perfectly. Hearing aids??? No, no…..not like that at all.
Well, let me have a caveat here. They don’t work like glasses unless your hearing loss is really fairly mild. I meet people and I read about people who do, in fact, put their hearing aids in and experience a huge and immediate benefit. I’m sure when I got my first one, about twenty five years ago, it made a big difference. When there is just a relatively small amount of hearing loss to be tweaked amplifying the “hearing loss bits” works. It’s when the “hearing loss bits” get more substantial that the problems really kick in. Continue reading
One 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
“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
Time to wind up the cochlear implant posts, or at least time to wind up the regular reports on progress. I’ve just gone past the six month milestone and been effectively discharged (no more appointments with the audiologist for another year, unless something unexpected happens). Time to move on.
The six month appointment was quite relaxed. I was happy with the last programme I’d been given, so no changes there. My hearing thresholds were tested again (the quietest sounds I can hear). My ability to hear sounds at one of the frequencies is still below the theoretically optimal point. Research shows that cochlear implant users who can hear sounds quieter than 35 decibels (25 to 35 decibels being the ideal range) tend to do better at speech comprehension, so the audiologist is aiming to boost the signal from the electrodes in the implant until that point is reached for each frequency. In my case, however, boosting that one frequency any more than it already is results in worse speech comprehension, rather than better, so we mutually decided to let things stay as they were. I am hearing just fine in so many situations; let’s leave it at that.
Here’s the point I’ve reached, on an audiogram, before and after implant. Continue reading
On Tuesday I attended a music workshop at the Cochlear Implant Centre; yet another part of their excellent rehabilitation programme. Four recently-implanted-people, plus some relatives, spent a couple of hours with the two Speech and Language Therapists, Jill and Lynne, listening to various pieces of music and talking about what we might do to help the brain make sense of it all. Continue reading
My prize for the most infuriating newspaper ad about deafness is the one for Hidden Hearing Ltd – “Pensioners stampede for new hearing aid”. Really? I don’t think so. How to patronise retired people in one easy lesson? Possibly. Company has no copy writers over the age of thirty? Quite likely. Or perhaps it’s just me and I lack a sense of humour.
The point of the advert is to promote one of the tiny, in-the-ear-canal hearing aids that are totally invisible when worn. They literally fit right down inside your ear, with nothing at all showing in or on the visible bits. Sadly, they are only suitable for people with the milder levels of hearing loss or I’d have put my name down. But the debate about the pros and cons of “invisible” hearing aids crops up quite often in the online deaf/hearing loss community, with a lot of people arguing that “invisible” equates to “something to be ashamed of”. Why should we be ashamed of our hearing loss, they say?
I can see both sides. Continue reading