After a rather uneventful end to October and start of November, I had my one-month mapping session this week and received a much-needed kick in the pants. I had a lot of trouble dealing with volume in the past (the highs were too high, the lows too low), and couldn't quite find a happy middle. Well, all of the levels were re-adjusted yesterday and evened out. Then the overall volume level was kicked up a few notches, while the IDR was boosted to 70 db (as opposed to 60). The world of sound has increased dramatically, and I think it's an important step in my ongoing journey to better hearing.
In order for me to comprehend and understand sounds and speech, I need to hear it, don't I? Well, now I can hear it. Though they still sound mushy and computerized, I can definitely hear voices. Down the hall, in the TV, a few rows back on the bus, etc. I can also hear the hum of my computer at work, sneezes from coworkers down the hall (though sometimes I can't tell if it's a sneeze or a cough. In which case, I don't say "bless you" in fear that it was a cough. Is that rude? Discuss.), the keys jangling in my pocket, my wife tapping on the keyboard of the Mac 10 feet away from me as I watch TV, all that fun stuff. I'm picking up sounds I would never have heard in that ear on its own. That's power, that's how strong these CI's are. Much stronger than the hearing aid ever will be.
Now it's up my brain to pick up the slack. It's time to interpret these sounds, make sense of them, comprehend what the sounds are and what's being said. I'm feeling more comfortable lowering the volume of my hearing aid and letting my CI do some heavy lifting. I need to start leaning on that CI and not be so dependent on the hearing aid. That's a tough thing to do because I hate asking people to repeat things, I hate not knowing what certain sounds are around me.
It's almost like I'm doing those trust exercises where I fall backwards and hope someone catches me. Turning off the hearing aid is like closing my eyes. I'll be saying "What?" a lot, and I'll be doing a lot of double-takes and second-guessing (wait, was that a sneeze or cough? or neither? uh, what's that smell?), more than my daily quota. I need to trust the CI, and someday, sometime, the sounds coming to me will be as clear as daylight.
So do me a favor. If you fart, and I say "Bless you," just say "Thank you," and walk away. I'll figure it out in a few minutes anyway.