CI Boot Camp hasn't been much fun. I really can't hear as well with only my cochlear implant as I do with both my CI and hearing aid. Last week, I began going without my hearing aid to strengthen my CI ear. It isn't easy. My other ear has severe to profound hearing loss, so without the hearing aid, it's really bad at best. Being one-sided "deaf" again has been a struggle, and straining to hear and understand speech is an even bigger challenge. I had a migraine with aura on the fourth day and a tension headache by the end of the week.
During this second week of camp, I've been putting a plug in my other ear. It doesn't block all sound from my ear, but it greatly diminishes what little hearing I have left in it. It's been interesting hearing the world only through the implant. It's hard to describe to people who've never experienced it. The best description I can come up with is that it sounds somewhat like I'm listening to an old portable, AM transistor radio -- you know, the one you begged for when it was 1969 and you were eight years old and your parents finally got it for you for Christmas. Static-y and distant. It took a lot of effort to hear and understand that little radio box, but you were so happy to finally have one, you played it constantly and thought it was the Best. Radio. Ever.
On this 13th day of boot camp, I accompanied my husband to the hardware store. Along the way -- and in the middle of a conversation -- I suddenly became aware that he didn't sound so mechanical. I thought the earplug had fallen out of my other ear. But upon checking, I found the plug tucked securely in my ear. I even pressed my finger against it to block as much sound as I could from that ear.
It was true.
My husband's voice sounded almost completely normal.
I know there will come a day when listening through this cochlear implant will be routine and normal. But for now, these little revelations are amazing and noteworthy.
It's an incredible journey that I am on.