Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Liked You Better Deaf

I'm definitely a cyborg. Part human, part machine. And I have the equipment to prove it: batteries, cords, wires, magnets, and devices to use with my cochlear implant. I'm a freaking technological wonder. 

My favorite device is my little pill-box sized remote control. I can use it to turn my volume up and down and change my listening programs for my cochlear implant. It's hidden in my pocket at school. I carry it in my purse at other times. It sits on the armchair at home. It's my constant companion anymore. I make sure I have it wherever I go. It's my new best friend.

I've only recently begun playing with the settings to optimize my hearing and listening. I've discovered that tweaking it just a little can bring voices forward or send background noise back. Raising the volume helps clarify speech, while lowering the volume makes lunchroom duty at school a little more bearable.

My students can't fool me anymore. With a simple click on the remote, I can amplify voices so that I not only hear them, much of the time I can even identify who is the talking culprit  -- an impossible feat for me only one month ago. It's quite a wake-up call for them!

They're not the only easy marks of my new hearing life. I can hear my daughter crack her knuckles again. I HATE that sound. And she knows it. "Stop cracking your knuckles," I tell her, without missing a beat -- as I've told her so many times before. 

"Ah, man," she says with a wink. "I liked you better deaf!"

I think my students did too.

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