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Activation: Part 3

Note: Copied from another mass e-mail…

I just got it “upped” last Friday. I always need a few days to adjust before I can write about it. It’s really hard to describe my new hearing. It’s only been a good six weeks since I’ve been “activated” yet it consumes so much of my energy. Before having the implant, I was so exhausted just from trying to communicate with people—my hearing was so bad that I really had to squint to hear—pay close attention to what a person was saying and because I couldn’t hear myself, I spoke louder than I needed to—another way to lose energy. Now, that tiredness is gone–but I do have a different kind of tiredness–it’s from the overwhelming amount of sounds that I hear daily. But, it’s takes a good year to fully use the implant. It seems hard to believe because I always think that what I’m hearing at the moment is a much bigger improvement than just a few months ago.
It’s hard to imagine that there will come a day where I won’t have to always lip read—I do so now because the sounds of voices are new and I’m still trying to get used to it—and will be able to communicate better on the phone. I probably don’t talk on the phone as much as I should—there’s still some insecurity–and I worry that someone will say, “You’re still not not hearing on the phone so it must not be working…” the pressure is probably coming more from me than anyone else. Still, in due time, I know I will be brave enough to talk on the phone.
Ok—what’s the biggest change? Birds. They’re singing before the world wakes up. I had always heard tweets—but they all sounded the same to me. I had absolutely no idea that each bird has its own song—it’s own pitch, melody, frequency. I must look like a crazy woman standing outside so early in the morning just staring at the trees. I’m just in awe of the sounds—not only that, there could be as many as three different birds singing yet, they create they create harmonious music when all sung at the same time. It’s really quite a miracle that there’s a world of music naturally made. I now have deeper appreciation for my grandparents for they are bird lovers. Next time I see them, I will stand in the middle holding each one by the arms and have them point out each sound the bird makes. I really would love to learn which bird is making which song.
The biggest pet peeve? Cars and motorcycles. God, how they are noisy! I can only imagine what it must be like for cats. They flatten their ears all the way to the back of their head, their eyes become slanted when they hear very loud noises. Every time a car passes me by while driving, I swear, I wish I could turn my ears to the back of my head to lessen that awful noise. Yet, the irony here is that they sounds of birds make me respect nature more and makes me more angry at mankind—for the first time, I’m really noticing that much of the awful noise comes from mankind.
Music—oh how I really love music. As a child (secretly, even now) I would watch my father close his eyes and strum his fingers in the air and just go so deep inward as he would listen to jazz. I would find it so beautiful that a person can get so enraptured into music–now I can see why. I want to listen to music all the time—I now find myself closing my eyes, moving my fingers with the beat and letting it carry me away. It really gets more beautiful each day. Interestingly enough, BFH (Before Hearing) I would go to dance clubs and sit. I would sit because I loved the feeling of the bass strumming through my whole body—if I danced, I couldn’t feel the music, so dancing wasn’t fun. Now that I can hear the music (sadly though, I don’t feel is as much. I guess I can’t have both) and it makes me want to move my body—I often find myself energized and dance around the house. It feels so good to dance with music and not have to guess what beat I should be dancing to.
Ok, my daughter? Oh yes, I still love her. She has learned to lower her voice tremendously after being told repeatedly (with a lot of effort not to scream at her as a reaction to her high pitch whining), tell her, “Mommy has a new kind of hearing and you don’t have to yell anymore.” But the amount of times she says, “Mommy” can rub my nerves raw—and yes, I realize that is something that I will have to live with for life because, simply, it’s my name. Right?
I also find myself more patience with my students–because I can now understand them, and not a lot of energy is wasted on trying to communicate with them. Really, looking back, I”m amazed at how I survived the hearing world, yet alone teaching at all.
Ok, lastly, but not least, last Friday, I was given more “hertz” where—ooh, this is hard..I can only thing of one analogy: your TV. You think it’s fine. You don’t really notice or thinking that they quality could be better UNTIL you’ve seen a plasma TV. Once you’ve seen and heard from them—you really realize how shitty your TV sounds and how unclear your screen is. My point is that before last Friday, I thought I was hearing a great deal and couldn’t imagine that It could possibly be clearer. My lovely audiologist performed some magic and now I”m hearing things with more clarity. It wounds even more crisp and not as obnoxious (though I didn’t think it was obnoxious prior to Friday–just like you probably loved you TV until you saw a plasma TV, right?
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About Amy Pogrebin Bremenstuhl

Life is noisy~ in a messy way. I thought I'd try writing about surviving the hearing world every day for 365 Days.

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