Taking an implant on holiday

38610735 - isometric security checkpoint machineThe thing that worried me most about going on holiday with a cochlear implant was airport security screening.  I was confident that my improved hearing would stand me in much better stead on the holiday itself, but what if I didn’t HAVE a functioning implant because something had gone wrong at an airport?

Would it set off the security alarms?  Could it be damaged by the security screening?  Should I switch it off on the plane? Too much browsing of the internet had unearthed a series of horror stories, including tales of problems at our departure airport (Manchester).  Someone wrote about having a big argument with the screening staff at Manchester, resulting in security guards being called.  Help!  I just want to go on holiday, not have a run-in with officialdom. Continue reading

Radio days

30146659 - boombox on a white background illustrationListening to the radio was nowhere near the top of the list of things I hoped to be able to do post-implant.  I’d not been able to make any sense of the radio for years, but I didn’t really miss it much.  Some things you just put to one side, and forget.

But listening to short bursts of the radio was one of the first homework tasks I was set by the Speech and Language Therapists at the Implant Centre, so I decided to always have the radio on in the car, even if I couldn’t understand what was being said.  The theory is that even speech you can’t decipher is useful practice for the brain.  I discovered, much to my surprise, that I could almost immediately make some sense of news broadcasts (enough to follow the main themes if not every word) even over road noise.

Continue reading

This is who I am

28526932 - cartoon people talking happilyA few weeks ago I was walking back to my car in Skipton, after attending a lecture on an aspect of local history.  It was dark.  It was raining.  I was wrapped up in fleece and raincoat.  And I’m telling you this because it’s a little scene burned in my memory.  Suddenly I thought “this is who I am”.  Not the fleece and raincoat particularly (although you more often than not need those in North Yorkshire) but because of that startling and stunning sense that I was recovering the Vera I am used to being, who had been so distressingly missing in 2017.

On holiday in October, with a group of people I didn’t know, I had tried to explain a couple of times how I was feeling.  I’d said I felt like holding up a placard saying “this is not who I am” because the tearful, quiet, uncommunicative person they were seeing didn’t feel like me at all.  I wanted to tell them it WASN’T me.  I wanted to tell them what I was REALLY like. Continue reading

Selective hearing?

Copyright: tatyanagl / 123RF Stock Photo

I’m not usually at a loss for words but one comment that often leaves me floundering goes something like this.  “Vera, I know YOU are deaf but you haven’t met my uncle John.  He can hear when he wants to, believe me”.  People, often the loveliest people, say it to me surprisingly often.  Just the other day I was chatting to someone in the village, my hearing gets mentioned and then out it pops……. Continue reading

A stapedectomy story

One of the most popular posts on this blog to date was in November 2016 when Deb spoke to us about life with her Hearing Dog Elmo.  Here it is, if you missed it.  Knowing that Deb had recently had a big ear operation of her own I asked her if she would write for us again, and here she is……..

“Vera and I have been running along parallel lines with operations and refer to ourselves as sisters-in-recuperation. A week after she had her cochlear implant, I had a stapedectomy. A what? Continue reading

In which I order egg on toast

A very good book about someone learning to hear with a cochlear implant is Hear Again, by Arlene Romoff.  In it the author talks about the first time she heard someone behind her in the supermarket say “excuse me”.  Of course, for years and years people in the supermarket would have been asking politely that she move out of their way but she would have ignored them.  She would have been completely oblivious that anything had been said at all.  So that first time she heard the words and moved smoothly out of someone’s path was a hugely significant moment. Continue reading

Beeeep

I am very bad at checking the pressure of my car’s tyres.  I know this is short-sighted and no doubt costs me a lot of money in terms of unnecessary wear and tear.  However, I have a deaf excuse.  I’ve been telling myself for years that the problem is that I can’t hear the “beep” letting you know that your tyre has reached the requisite pressure.  Not my fault that I don’t do it, then.  Just another big hassle for hearing loss people.

So, a few weeks before the implant operation, when I went out to my car and saw that one of the rear tyres had deflated quite significantly, my heart sank. Continue reading

Four weeks in

Copyright: tigatelu / 123RF Stock Photo

Today is four weeks since switch on.  Here’s where things are.

My ability to understand speech has dramatically improved.  I still ask people to repeat things and I am still lip reading (I doubt I will ever stop) but the feverish concentration whenever I’m trying to follow speech has gone.  It is as if the most extraordinary weight has lifted off my shoulders.  I can just TALK to people, with so much less effort. Continue reading

At the hospital

A best wishes message from a friend, on the occasion of my new ear

Do you want to hear about the operation?  (A number of people have asked).  Or rather, what happened in the hospital (I was asleep for the operation).  The very squeamish needn’t read on.  No, really, it was fine.

First of all, a big cheer for the Listening for Life Centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), the base of the Yorkshire Auditory Implant Service. Continue reading