Nedsatt hørsel? Sliten? Kurstilbud

Nasjonalt senter for hørsel og psykisk helse arrangerer mestringskurs for deg med nedsatt hørsel. Oppstart januar 2013.

Nedsatt hørsel innebærer for mange en kontinuerlig kompenseringsinnsats. Du må kompensere mentalt for den informasjonen du mister, du kompenserer for muskulære anstrengelser i nakke og skulder, for nedsatt balanse, du bruker energi på å lokalisere hvor lyder kommer fra osv. Stress og følelse av utmattelse forekommer ofte i kjølvannet av nedsatt hørsel.

I forbindelse med doktorgradsprosjektet “Mestring av psykososialt stress ved hørselstap” har vi utarbeidet en kurspakke basert på kognitiv terapi og erfaringer vi har samlet fra hørselshemmede gjennom studien.

Dersom du er interessert, nysgjerrig på dette kurset – eller kjenner noen kurset kunne være aktuelt for, nærmere informasjon:
Sidsel Haaberg, tlf. 22 92 35 02/951 57 782
Maj Volden, tlf. 916 20 315
Jenny Meling Hansen, tlf. 941 54 472

Kurset koster egenandel (for tiden 307,-) pr. samling – opp til frikortsgrensen.

Se for øvrig: her.

How am I doing, 8 days after bi-lateral surgery

A lot of people asks me how I am doing, so I better post an update Smilefjes
If you want to know more about Cochlear-implants, click linked image below to read more…

pic-cochlear

Compared to the first surgery I underwent in 2009, this operation was a walk in the park. My surgeon specializes in gentle surgery, and I can tell you, my first CI-surgeon was a butcher compared to Dr. Med. Marie Bunne.

Some of my blog posts from the days after my first surgery (listed by date of publishing): day 3: Feeling beaten up… , Day 5 – From dull to sharp – in many ways , On the operating-table , Post-Surgery and The Day after , Tinnitus maximus terrorismus and some of the other posts from 2009 mentions the problems with balance (Oct., Nov. and Dec. 2009).

The upside

I have been up and about ever since day two. Today, 8 days after, I’m starting doing the annual accounting work for my company, nageldata.no. In other words, back to work, even if it’s just tedious easy work… First surgery had me bound to bed for two-three months!

The surgery-wound dressing fell off two days ago, and I didn’t bother replace it, since the wound is dry and looks beautiful. I mess as little as possible with it. It is itchy from time to time, but I just rub the skin close to the stiches, that’s enough.positive-attitude

Sleep has been good, except for the pain. The first nights I was, just like after first surgery, just deep into the sleep (medication plus recovering from surgery trauma). Bliss. Now it’s slowly getting back to normal, that is; waking easier by smell, light or movement. I expect pain from pressure from head lying on pillow on the “wrong” side disappears in a day or three.

I’m looking forward to a much quicker recovery this time, and that is not wish-thinking. I have plans to take up swimming as soon as the wound is healed and stitches are gone. That will speed up balance-recovery as well as improve the tinnitus-situation.

Speaking of tinnitus, there has not been much difference in tinnitus this time. The first surgery was followed by an explosion of tinnitus, mostly in the operated ear. But also in my left ear, due to the sudden silence (I could not bear to use the hearing aid, it wasn’t of any use. On the contrary, it was outright painful. This time it has been a few episodes in the newly operated ear, but they have been mild, like they were before the surgery. And there is the same constant sound it has been the last two years, sounding like a power relay station, that humming sound.

The downside

negative-space-9I’m dizzy, on the verge of nauseous. It’s quite constant, but I can’t move my head too much, or it’ll get much worse fast. Especially looking up/down, is a movement my balance-organ doesn’t like very much.

The suspected migraine aura thing is just around the corner most of the time. It feels like pressure behind my eyes, and the eyes feel very dry and almost as if it has been overexposed to direct sunlight (the words snow blind comes to mind). I have become much more vary of the symptoms now, and make precautions such as turning lights off, resting or taking time-out. The surgery didn’t make it worse in itself, but the dizziness combined with this migraine aura is very tiring and debilitating.

glassy_soundSound in my first CI is different these days. First i thought it was because I had a flu-bug since 3-4 days before surgery, and finally got rid of it on day 6-7 after surgery. But the “glassy” sound is still there, and makes me a little bit annoyed with speech-sounds. I isolate rather quickly these days. (Sorry about that, wife Trist fjes ) While writing this I’m force feeding myself with Pearl Jam, even though sounds make me feel dizzy. I just want to give it massive amounts of sounds in order to get my brain to get over being seasick. It’s really exhausting work, listening to something I really like, while the sound itself makes my head spin Trist fjes Something has changed inside my head again, that’s for sure. I think the pressure from the fluids inside the newly operated ear has an effect on both the vestibular system, as well as my inner ear. I suspect the situation will normalize sooner or later.

Tired, or constantly near-tired, is my mainly prevalent condition these days. I’m somewhat used to it, but after being on my road to (very slow) improvement the last 12 months, I realize that it comes with a rather significant mental price.

grumpyI’m back to being grumpy, quickly irritated. Having said that, these mental symptoms are milder this time, compared to after the first surgery. I think being aware of the above mentioned is half the cure. Also previous experience helps. I know somewhat what is happing, the anxiety isn’t as strong because of that. The rest of the cure comes when my physical condition improves and I’m going back to cognitive therapy in February again. Well timed, and I hope it will not be too many sessions. I hope to be finished with it for good before summer 2012.

Family life

My wife (we got married December 18th 2011 Smilefjes ) is my greatest support. I might have days where I just want to be left alone and not have to relate to anyone, especially in these recovery weeks. Having a family, including a 10 weeks old baby: Joanna, is more a boost than a burden. It reminds me of what I really want in this life, and how it could have become: without CI and the chance to hear again, I would be in a very dark place. Sure, I would have found a way to be happy and function, but it would probably been a much longer and harder road.

Ulf_091010_0204_biggerNow I get to be a father of a wonderful baby girl (not forgetting our two boys eitherSmilefjes), I have a great deal to look forward to, and I have the special one to share it with Smilefjes and her family as a new branch of my social network as well Smilefjes

I feel I have beaten the odds (of my life) in many ways, but half of that victory belongs to my beloved Mette too… Without her never ending patience, her loving care, her endurance, her positiveness, her stubbornness, her dedication and all those other things, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Thank you for your love, love!!! ♥♥♥

Something wonderful happened today

I am having Easter with my parents, and have my son with me too. The weather is just incredible, with temperatures over 20°C and sunshine. It’s almost like summertime!

Since my first CI surgery, I have had a steady progress with both learning what sounds means, and understanding speech. Of course, my tinnitus makes it a little harder, given the fact that I’m still unilateral. It is hard work to hear with one side only, and at the same time “fend off” tinnitus that seems to have an endless variation to it, especially when listening scenario isn’t optimum. To put it short, I’m struggling, but coping, and getting better at utilizing what I after all actually have been given, through the miracle know as CI!

dozeoffWell, the wonderful part, is this: sitting in the sunshine, listening to birds chirping and tweeting and singing away. Last year it was almost too much, so many sounds and melodies, crisp clear and I had no clue as to what birds I was listening to. But today, I dozed off! That was a first for me, post-surgery, WITH CI still active!

To me this signals yet another level of adaptation that my brain makes. Slowly adapting to the new sounds, and getting used to them, rather than getting tired from them. In other words: a very good felling and a little bit like good news when I realized what had just happened Smilefjes

Great day, great experience Smilefjes

Happy Easter everyone!

Bad “hear” days and other things

Happy New year everyone!

frustration3 I am a bit frustrated these days, and that frustration has several sources. I feel a bit stagnated and stuck, I can’t track any sound improvement. On the contrary I feel like sliding backwards every time I’m a bit tired. It is like this: when I’m tired, my brain has less energy, less stamina, and the automatic sound processing deteriorates noticeably. I’m having some of those bad “hear” days, these days.

Other reasons for frustration are personal reasons due to me looking forward to move together with my girlfriend, but have to wait for other parties (paper mill stuff) in order to realize it. And the last prime reason for my frustration is that it is absolutely freezing these days (below –4 F / 20 C), and I can’t find all my winters garments as I’m living at two locations simultaneously and both are a mess at the time.

Alway look on the bright side of life!

But on the bright side of life (as Monthy Python likes to sing about :-)  ), chaos and challenges is almost always a good thing. A new order rises from it, bringing new perspectives and a feeling of a fresh start.

I’m not constantly working as hard as I used to, in order to understand speech. (I think I manage that part about not working too hard quite well these days, partly due to the seasonal darkness and feeling of powerlessness.) I’m focused on resting up…

A big life altering decision – a new career

One big important thing that I recently decided upon, was that I’m going to pursue a new career. I’m going to put the IT-career on the sideline, keeping it as a bi-income via my own company, and as a hobby. The IT-knowledge will be useful to me no matter what.

This new career involves me first going back to school for 3 or more years. That fills me with both anticipation and fear. Looking forward to new input, knowledge, making new acquaintances, experiences and fearing the situations where I can’t cope in terms of lectures, meetings etc. Will it, as before, be too much for me to overcome?

Read the rest of this entry »

CI-activation log no. 7 – day 12 – first re-mapping and feeling of first real breakthrough

Wow, has it really only been 12 days since I walked out from the hospital fitted with a new bionic ear? It feels like a much longer time ago, and so much has happened! Both in my inner self and with the CI-hearing!

small-yard-water-fountain I hear trickling and splashing water from fountains very good, and I have noticed a significant “sound shadow” if I turn the non-CI-ear towards the sound source. In that “Sound-shadow” the sound disappears almost completely.

bird_twitter_full Yesterday I heard a bird twitter for the first time! (I probably have a recollection of that sound from early childhood, because I had strong suspicions what that super clearly defined sound was 🙂 it couldn’t be anything else!) I asked my girlfriend, and the next time the twitter came, I gave her a signal, and she nodded with a big smile 🙂 It was birds twitter from outside all right! That was a wonderful CI-moment! Now I look even more forward to go to Sweden again next week and just discover more of mother nature’s sounds! (and listen to my old 80’s-vinyl!!! My son is going to be SOOO annoyed by his fathers thirst for his old music!)

But, HEY! I’m getting ahead of myself here! Before that beautiful CI-moment, I was so lucky to be able to get a quick new mapping-session at the hospital. Kudos to the CI-team for being so flexible and giving me a new session with only 4 days’ notice! (usual takes 14 days) This time I got a sound-fitting from a new guy (my regular was sick), and he tested my threshold for each of the 16-electrodes (I think it was). I came to that session with two clear goals: increase sound level overall, and to get a better feeling of that much missed bass.

The missing bass has been really noticeable when I listen to my favorite Mötley Crüe songs: “Shout at the Devil”, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Kickstart my heart”, “Same Ol’ Situation” and “Smoking in boys room” (I’m THIS close to be able to grasp the harmonica-part in the “Smoking in boys room”!). I retrieved my car’s subwoofer from almost three years of storage, and has been experimenting with the sound settings both on the car’s stereo and on my CI and in combo with my hearing aid. Hearing aid is not used for music, the recruitment-problem is just too much; sure, the bass is wonderful on that ear, but everything else is just muffled, distorted and just… LOST  😦

Speakers-738120 The subwoofer taught me a valuable lesson: I can “hear” the bass through my body. My hearing aid-ear (with the hearing aid turned off, and earpiece blocking the natural airway into the ear canal and the ear drum) actually used the bass-vibrations I got from the subwoofer and blend it in with the sounds I got from the CI. I suspect my whole body “hears” those thumps and “phat” beats. It’s also the issue of bone transferred vibrations to take into considerations :-)  If the sound pressure is big enough (i.e. enough dB), I guess the vibrations get strong enough to be transferred into the cochlea by other means than through the ear-canal…

Also I have been playing with the iConnect, and that contributed to my understanding of the phenomenon regarding the sensations in the bass-frequencies. The bass was totally missing when listening to the same songs from my mobile (Nokia N82 with jack-plug, very useful :-)  ). When the sound input to my brain are 100% digital, it’s brutally truthful too… No other aids like air vibrations, or sound residue from the remaining deaf ear. Or unconscious lip-reading, with built-in context guessing plus sentence construction for that matter.

The songs I listed above, are so well known to me, after listening to them a million times in my youth and throughout the years. They still give me a kick, even if only hearing 20% of it 🙂 (or are just beginning to) I have found them extremely useful for training and identifying which sounds I get and which sounds I don’t get. Vocals have improved, and high pitch has improved. The missing part was the bass…

I threw the 16-electrodes-program out. Bye, bye. It doesn’t sound good at all, already, so I have absolutely no need for it, except maybe for later when I want to assess my 16-electrode hearing again… But that’s not for another 6 months or maybe even a year. (if ever)

Program 1 is my primary program, and this time we raised the bass and the mid-level frequencies as a result of the single-electrodes-test. The high pitch (is this the right phrase?) was left as is, since I get those sounds really well. After that we raised the overall levels quite a bit, I imagine (will get the documentation later).

Program 2 now has increased bass-levels. I have strong suspicion I will use that a lot with my mp3-playing mobile phone…

Program 3 has increased levels for high pitch sounds. This will be used for training purposes (increase my ability to take in as much high pitch sounds as possible, since this part is what really makes my head tired, and it’s the sounds I have lost in the last 10 years.)

OK, that was the re-mapping session. Now for the real results:

Music is beginning to sound real again! I could detect (through the iConnect), some of Tommy Lee’s beats now. I still miss Nikki Sixx’ bass, clearly defined, but hey, it’s only been 12 days! I’m not complaining, but I know where I want to go and what I want to get. Even Mick Mars’ guitar is starting to emerge from the sound wall!
Best part of all; I’m getting a feel of harmonies in the music again! Sounds and instruments working together where the end result is far greater than the actual sum of the combined instruments…

I am now able to understand, with the aid of lip-reading, sentences spoken by my girlfriend! Haven’t tried it really hard today, been too much else going on, some work that needed getting done, cranky kid in the house, listening to birds twitter and all 🙂

motley_crue_logoIn all fairness to Mötley Crüe; it is a coincidence that I happened to have their music on both my mobile phone and on mp3 in my car. It’s simple, energetic music and with Vince Neil’s rather boyish voice that breaks through the sound wall from the instruments is perfect for me to train my bionic hearing on. Will keep working with Mötley Crüe for listening training until I get sick of the songs. They have been, and will always be a big part of my musical life.

Aaahhh, I look so much forward to revisit music again! It’s certainly coming alive! Right now it feels like my brains’ got some rusty, creaking parts that only needs greasing! Good thing I like mayonnaise, diary butter and the fat greasy parts off the chicken, fish, pork/lamb chops or steak:-)

I’m definitely on the right track! And perhaps now I can concentrate more on training for the verbal understanding to increase.

This is the point where I for sure can say that my decision to go for CI was a good one! All the pain, all the obstacles, all the waiting, all the crying, all the frustration, all the anger, all the angst, all the hardships has been worth it. I did the right thing!

Today was a good day 🙂

Post-Surgery and The Day after

Last thing I did before getting out of the hospital bed was to eat two slices of bread, they observed that I could hold it, and was then released. But they insisted I stay in the hospital hotel, also because Prof. laurent wanted to check my wound early next morning.

Food at the hotel was the worst I have ever experienced. The vegetables were served still frosen, and the fish was lukewarm. But down it went, since I had not eaten much that day. That pissed me off… grrrr

grumpy food

Then, Mette, being the sweetheart she is, just smiled and took pictures of me (as you can see above) :-). I couldn’t stay irritated for long with such companionship… Which was a good thing considering it was less than 3 hours after having drilled a hole in my skull!!! Time to become patient and relaxed, and let the healing take it’s course.

My sister came for a visit in the evening, and we talked a bit, and then my hyperness (dope) wore off… Getting ready for sleep.22072009703

The night was OK, still drugged somewhat, and taking more painkillers to render me semiconscious, but constantly weary of moving my head and placing any weight on the dressed wound. Not much sleep, just looking forward to get back home in order to settle in.

The next morning we had a quick, light breakfast. I felt hungry as a horse, but couldn’t eat much. No room 🙂

23072009706 Then we went to see the surgeon for a final checkup before heading home. No problem there, everything looked just fine.

I was unstable balance-wise just like since the surgery. I didn’t dare to let go of Mettes hand or shoulder, fearing that I might just fall suddenly. I walked slowly, and head movement were kept to a minimum. Even more so the coming days. The effect on the balance has really been the worst thing for me, disabling me. But that was also a good thing, keeping me still in bed, where I was supposed to be for as long as it took.

The balance-thing is another story coming up 🙂

On the operating-table

First of all: I had the fortune of being accompanied by my girlfriend throughout the ordeal. Thank you for being with me; Mette! Love you hon! We got up at 0530 in order to be present at the hospital no matter what at 0700. This was the day I had been waiting for for 4 years!!! No food and no liquids for me. No traffic, smooth, unstressed morning. I was a little nervous and scared. Found great comfort and support in you, Mette!

Upon our arrival 20 minutes early, the halls were empty, the light over the reception desk was turned off. It looked like the hospital was closed! Hmmm :-)  We walked a bit, aimlessly, but soon enough, hordes of hospital employees began to arrive in groups as buses and trams offloaded just outside. The hospital slowly became more and more busy. We were greeted by a nurse who gave me a bed, a hospital shirt and 4 pills. I changed into the shirt and swallowed the pills right away. Good boy 🙂

22072009689_modified Wham! It took me 10 minutes to loose consciousness, right in the middle of writing a text message on my mobile (I found it in the Drafts-folder later :-)  ). My memory has failed me from this point onward. Luckily my girlfriend was there and has “recorded” all important information. However, she didn’t like it when the pills forced me down. “It was as though you died”, she told me… I can’t even remember meeting the surgeon, whom I had looked forward to talk to about several things. All I had in my mind while trying to fight my painkiller/valium-induced sleepyness was how long it would take before I could go splitting logs of wood!!! (I even asked the same question the next day upon waking up from the narcosis). We had a few laughs over that one 🙂

I have a flash of memory arriving at the OR, shaking hand with the anesthesiologist. A huge operating lamp looming over me… And a nurse preparing for the procedure. I said something, but can’t remember what. I was really far out there even before the narcosis. Tuned out.

 

Post-Op

Then the post-op awakening… I couldn’t believe I was already through it. For me it felt like I just dozed off from the pills. But I was gaining consciusness so slowly that at some point it dawned on me and I just felt relief.

The nurse asked me about pains, and suddenly I noticed I had my hearing aid and glasses on, just as I had asked for before dozing off earlier that morning. That was nice :-)  I could understand the nurse, even though she was swedish. Lucklily I have spent many summers in Sweden throughout my life, have no problems understanding it. Well, the nurse asked me about the pain, and yes I was in pain. How much pain, she wanted to know… On a scale from 1 to 10… I answered 4, I think. It wasn’t bad, but I could definitely feel pain.

She then injected that nice hospital dope… And my pain was down to 1 or 2…  No problemo 🙂

22072009690 I sat up a little bit, and less than one hour after (my bloodpressure was taken automatically every 15 minutes, and I counted three of them) I was clear enough in my head and needed to see my girlfriend badly 🙂 I was wheeled out and returned back to the the same room I was given that morning. And no girlfriend there… As I immediately asked after her, she appeared in the door. A lot of emotions flowed through me at that moment. A lot of relief, gratitude and sheer great love…  A nice looooong hug…

The surgeon came by a little later, and in my memory that was the first time I shook his hand and saw what he looked like. A very mild and friendly gentleman by the name of Prof. Claude Laurent. To whom I’m forever grateful for his professionalism and expertise!

The surgery had taken 4 hours, even though they had booked the OR for 2 hours. I have not as yet queried upon the reason for the prolonged surgery. My girlfriend was a little worried, but luckily they assured her that it was a common thing for surgeries like mine to drag out an hour or two. She had a long, boring day.