Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Proverbial Horse

For Christmas, my daughter gave me the audio book, Ender's Game, to practice listening with my new cochlear implant. I didn't jump right into it, though, being all new with the whole listening rehabilitation thing and wanting to practice easier tasks before I attempted an entire audio book. I'm not sure what I was saving it for, except that I love reading so much, I didn't want my enjoyment of the book to be overwhelmed by my struggle to listen and understand.

The night before I left on a trip, I had my husband help me transfer all of the CDs to my iPod so that I could listen to the book while I was traveling. I could use my personal audio cable (PAC) to listen to the iPod through my cochlear implant rather than using regular earbuds.

I have learned that listening through the PAC is actually better than listening through the processor microphones. One of the deaf education teachers in my school district explained that using the cable eliminates extraneous background noise and makes the sounds easier to discern, thus making listening easier. It's the same circumstance that makes using the FM system to hear my students read so much better than listening without it.

I have to admit that listening to Ender's Game was better than I had expected. I had to resist my urge to read ahead and I had to concentrate on actually staying with the narrator, reminding myself that this was as much an exercise in rehabilitation as it was for entertainment. But once I began, I was happy that I could understand words very well and could even detect changes in pitch, volume, and character voices. The narration still sounded somewhat artificial and robotic, but not nearly as much as I worried it would. I was feeling pretty good about how well I was doing with my CI.

But as I listened to the narration, I began to wonder what the narrator's voice actually sounded like.  I decided to listen with an earbud in my impaired ear to compare how well my CI ear was doing. Without my hearing aid, I had to increase the volume quite a bit, but was able to hear well enough through the earbud to understand the narrator easily.

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

The narrator's voice was entirely different from what my CI perceived. As well as I thought I was doing, it's still not the same. And I thought I was going to cry from the disappointment that gripped me at this revelation.

I need to listen to the book with my CI again -- jump back on the proverbial horse and all. Perhaps my cortical reorganization will be helped by knowing what the narrator really sounds like. 

Or maybe not. This cochlear implant thing is really hard.

1 comment:

  1. You're one of the strongest people I know. You can do this.