My first bionic Christmas, anno 2009

Christmas is creeping up on us again 🙂christmas-tree

This year it will bring a whole new dimension for me. I can engage in social activities with my family without “burning out” before the presents are handed out by Santa Claus. I look forward to this years Christmas, as opposed to the last few years where I dreaded the oncoming Christmas season.

Hearing-wise, my brain is slowly “repairing” the sound. But it’s still hollow-sounding, glassy-like and voices still don’t have their distinct signatures. But yesterday I could almost tell the difference between my youngest sisters voice, and my mothers. I say almost, because I can tell there IS a difference, but I just can’t tell WHICH one of them are speaking without looking at them. Yet! mind you 🙂

I started listening-training many weeks back, but wasn’t happy with the first therapist, so I made arrangements to get someone else, and this time I am happy. The first session with the new therapist was just like I was looking for, minimal waste of time small talking, and very methodic and systematic testing and a some real challenging sounds to figure out, and hopefully learn from. I’m up for a new session tomorrow, and then another one right over into the new year. I think this training comes at a good time for me.

innenohr The last balance-organ-snafu ordeal is behind me, things are feeling better, just slight imbalance at times. I feel ready to take on the things that needs to be taken on. I want to get back to normal life, even though I have forgotten how THAT was like…  I have to admit, I’m a bit scared and anxious to go empty again. I’m holding back, wisely I hope, but at the same time, I don’t want to hold back too much, stopping myself from getting to where I want to get…

I had real ambition training with audio books, but something has stopped me from engaging actively into it. I started with an English (Norwegian is my primary language) audio book: Ken Follet: Pillars of the Earth. That was two mistakes: firstly, listening to English should be secondary to listening to my first language. Secondly, it dawned on me that I actually have READ this book way back! It took a few pages to remember, but when Toms family met this strange woman and her son in the forest, a suspicion arose in me. And when Agnes a little while later dies from childbirth, I was sure. Tom and this strange outlaw woman in the forest will meet again later. OK, it is a very good book, and I will read it again, in order to pick up the sequel later on (I really want to read that one, and think it will be more enjoyable having the first one fresh in mind). but I need more motivation to work with an audio book.

roy jacobsen So, I will pick up a Norwegian book I haven’t read before, borrowed from Movale, a friend of mine. This book is a classic in Norwegian literature, describing the development of the historic and cultural foundation on which today’s Norway is built on (through the story of one family). It is written by Roy Jacobsens and it is called “Seierherrene” (meaning “The Victors” I can’t find an English translation of that book :-(  ).

I think I subconsciously have been avoiding working TOO hard with sound. I remember I read on one of my good friends blog that it is important to find audio-training that doesn’t exhaust you too fast. I can totally back up that statement. Our brain needs TIME to sort out the sounds. Yes you can help progress by actively listening and try to sort out the sounds, but doing that too much will also be counterproductive. Within a short time it is a real danger that your brain will cease to have the energy that is necessary to do the subconscious and automatic processing of sounds. Also you need to preserve SOME energy for the people you have around you and who wants to talk to you 🙂

I too, think it’s important to find ways to listen to massive amounts of sound in a passive and relaxing way. Then, when you talk to people, you can use that extra gear… That is training enough, if you have people around you a few hours every day.

My beloved girlfriend bought me a new set of headphones for Christmas: “Creative Aurvana X-fi” (review here). (we are like children and can’t wait until Christmas to open our presents :-)  ). I can’t say that I’m in nirvana, sound-wise, but it was definitely a very nice boost in sound-quality for me. Also, knowing that I have very good sound input, close to optimal, relaxes me. I can’t do much more about that bit now. Now it’s just up to my brain and myself. My brain does the hard work with the as enjoyable sounds as possible I need to feed it with. Spotify is a great thing 🙂

(I just understood almost the ENTIRE commercial break: “Hi, this is Jonathan from Spotify…..” hooray! Progress! Yes, I have used Jonathan as a test to see if I make progress.)

Flying_V_guitar.svg.hi Apropos music… It’s so hard to describe the progress I have, but have to give it a go anyway: Bass is coming into place. Bass is the engine of the power in the music and therefore is essential to musical enjoyment. I can hear voices much better; I’m able to distinguish the various instruments, I am pretty good at identifying which kind of instrument is being played (in music I know somewhat from before). Voices have more melody in them. I can hear if the voice goes up or down, if it’s one or many voices simultaneously. I’m listening to much more various bands (my old favorites) now. It’s instantly recognizable, and lyrics are coming fast back to me :-)  BLISS!!!

There is something about the brain-halves… I read somewhere that the left brain-half is pretty much working with semantics and understanding context, while the right brain half is dedicated to the more spiritual, artistic, emotional and colorful aspect of sense-inputs.

OK; this blog post is getting too long, time to round off: I’m focusing much more on listening to voices WITHOUT actively deciphering the information. I’m trying to teach my brain to do it automatically. This refers back to my previous bog post about “Rewiring my brain – altering the language system”. Also my new audio therapist suggested I focus more on that (she did not know I wrote that last post!). I then got the confirmation I needed; I’m pretty much thinking and handling things the right way…

I want to congratulate FUNNYOLDLIFE with her life-altering decision to go for CI, and wish her good luck with that!

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, to all my readers!

Posted in deaf. 1 Comment »

One Response to “My first bionic Christmas, anno 2009”

  1. funnyoldlife Says:

    Oh thank you Ulf! 🙂

    It’s interesting that you say you can work too hard at the training. I will have to be careful not to overdo it then. But I’m really going to give the CI my best shot.

    Would you say the audio books are a good way to retrain?

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