Monday, December 26, 2005
I am learning to hear more new things everyday. Tonight I made popcorn - and it was so wild to hear that - it sounded like a stream of explosions, as loud as machine guns kept going off for a while. I recalled hearing that popping sounds with hearing aids - it only sounded like just some toy pop guns popped once a while.
Yes, we CI don't have complete hearing range as normal ear does, but it is alot better than hearing aids alone. What's the difference? It is the amount of information flow into the ears!!!! I had hearing aids for about 36 years. Then CI for more than a year. Wow, what a difference I heard in a year than my lifetime of hearing through hearing aids!!!
I've got some people asking me if someday the ear can be replaced or restored back to natural hearing. I tell them that is a bunch of hokey, because down the road in my life, I don't even expect to see a perfect replacement for ear or cochlear, since it is a nerve, which cannot be repaired or healed. So I had to take my own intitative for my life.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Noise: I can greatly hear better in very noisy areas such as bar, diners, and more. This is very impressive to me and many people told me that I am very different person since I am more responsive than I was with hearing aids. With bilateral hearing, I was able to “cut” and “slice” the echoes and noises across the room and just to hear a person talking in the crowd, just like focusing with telescope.
Speech: My speech has improved greatly, and I had no problems hearing others and speaking as well. I just realized that bilateral hearing helped me to clear out the confusion in understanding the spoken words! I rarely had any confusion understanding the words, even repeating my speech, which is very common with hearing aids. I plan to take speech therapy to greatly improve my new found bilateral hearing and my speech.
Telephone interaction: Wearing the hearing aids, I had to deal with several barriers using the telephones. One of the barriers is the electromagnetic interference from the cellphone. Another barrier using the landline phones is the feedback. Feedback is always constant and challenging when the handset and hearing aids gets too close. With cochlear implants, all the barriers are gone and all I need to do now is learning how to listen the caller. My wife and I are starting talking on the phone more and more than ever because my speech has more clarity and I can understand what she said. I prefer to use speakerphone mode because I can hear much better with my bilateral cochlear implants.
Social Interaction With Strangers: My experience of communicating with strangers are always awkward with hearing aids because I never understood what they said. Now I was able to understand the strangers’ speech better than before. Hearing aids does not help me to hear most critical sounds that speech produces such as /s/ and /sh/.
Family: I live in two-story house with no carpets, and I have a 13 month old daughter. With hearing aids, I recalled that there is so many echoes in the house and I was not able to hear my wife calling me downstairs. All has changed with bilateral implants that my house is very quiet so I was able to hear my wife calling me. One time I heard my baby talking downstairs, too. All and more experiences have assured me I am able to hear these critical sounds with bilateral hearing.
Environmental Surroundings: I recall many experiences that I had hard time hearing the source of the sounds by echolocationing. Now with my bilateral cochlear implants, I was surprised and impressed that I can echolocationing on the first day of bilateral hearing. All the sounds around me such as nature (birds singing, etc…), retail stores (squeaky carts, talking, echos are less distracting), driving (hearing cars around me, listening for 18 wheelers, motorcycles), and many more that I do take granted with bilateral hearing.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I am still continually adapting a new hearing in my left ear. It is only 5 months since first activation so some progress is made but not as fast as my dominant right ear did.
My left ear still has to learn to discriminate the distortions of sounds such as echo and noises. But I still can hear the voices in noisy environments, which is an very important progress. But I am still not able to understand these voices yet, so that is another challenge I need to work on.
But, I really like to be bilaterally and it does makes a lot of difference hearing with both ears.
Thanks for reading my blog!!!
Monday, October 24, 2005
This article by Chorost is now posted at the website:
Thursday, September 15, 2005
that is the sound of cicada - that dominates sounds of night....
One night I was in the garage doing the woodworking. The garage is filled with sounds from humming fans, screaming power tools, and rackets of hammer. Then a sound came into my ears, via electrodes, and it goes like this - sshhh sshhh chhhh chhhh kkiaa kkiaa kkiaa sshhh. I turned around, and I can tell that these sounds are from outside. I walked out of garage and into a darken driveway, and I can hear it again. I follow to the sounds and lo and behold, I found the singing cicada. I have never heard like this ever before, even with hearing aids. The sounds of cicada are long and shreking, and I liked hearing that. Whoa!
Friday, July 22, 2005
When I was growing up, every morning, I was trained to use the battery tester to ensure that I have ample "juice" in the battery for the day's use. Later on, I stopped doing the testing and listen for the sounds to see if it is working fine. I usually talked to myself to check if my battery and hearing are working. Then I start my day from on. I used to keep a stock of 675's in my car, bedroom, and at my office.
When I was a kid, you can only buy these batteries from a hearing aid places, and it would go for about $10 a set. We buy a few sets of these 675's and we always count our battery supply everytime, to ensure that I will not run out of it on weekends. These 675's used to come in many codes like AAA675, 234675, etc... but eventually years later, all became one code - the 675, and then became available at drug stores everywhere.
If I go on a long car trip, all these noises from car would drain the battery. When I was kid, I kept forgetting to take the spare 675's for the trip. By the end of the day, I would have to tell my folks that I need a new 675. My father will get mad at me, telling me why I did not pack these batteries and giving me some "life lessons" examples not to repeat that "stunt" again. (It didn't help at all, thanks to Dad!) He would go on and on telling me, too. .. Then my frustrated mother had to get out of the car and walk to a drug store to see if they have any 675 (in many variations of 675 codes) for sale. Even I did tried to explain them that you can now buy it at drug stores instead of at hearing aid center, but they still believe that 675's from hearing aid center are the only ones that works with my hearing aid.
Now, I no longer have to buy these 675's, since I am now using the rechargble battery. I keep spare rechargable battery in my pocket, because it lasts for about 14 hours. But sometimes it can go dead unexpectly, bringing me back all the memories of my father on the subject of not carrying any spare 675's....
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
The volume settings on each implant goes up and down all the time for "balancing". For example, I turn down on left, and turn up on right, and vice versa. The brain sorts all information out and balances it out beautifully.
I cannot go on for one minute with one implant off. I get a strange sensation that there is something wrong. It is like there were no sounds coming in from one ear while other ear is getting information, then my mind starts doubting about it. In my opinion, what really happens is that the brain cannot tell if each ear is working or not - it simply process all the information and place into the perceptual world in your mind. If the brain senses some missing information, it alerts the emotional state as an warning message.
Don't talk to strangers without implants on - your speech is not same as with implants on. :-)
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
I am reading a book by Michael Chorost - he has a CII implant (as shown in his xray image of his head on cover). He writes as he describes his experiences of having a computer inside him and how it changed his life forever.
I am on chapter 3 now, and I am really enjoying reading it. He has a wonderful thoughts and brilliant perspective that I can relate.
A must read!
Read first chapter (pdf format)
Purchase at Amazon.com Now!
My Comments on this book is coming shortly... ( still reading!!!)
Monday, June 20, 2005
It has been only 18 days since the activation of my left implant - and things are getting stranger and more interesting. Read on:
- I can now understand some of words in the song - which I never heard that before.
- I can understand more new words over the radio, which is unexpected to me.
- I can understand what people said, more than ever.
- Even in extreme noisy places, it is so unreal to hear and understand people talking very clearly and without any problems...
- I cannot use one implant anymore - I believe that my mind gets frustrated when that happens. Ergo, I have to use both implants all the time. For example, several times as the power in the left implant battery ran out, I get "weird sensations" inside me as if my body is telling me to change out the battery fast, fast, fast!!!...
- I really can locate the source of sound much better than ever - and I just spotted a noisy cricket in the dark tonight.
- I really can "see" the room of people talking with my eyes closed...
- I have never felt this confidence this huge ever before in my life...
- I am talking and listening more over the phone than ever, too...
- The noisy places like Wal-Mart, HEB Grocery Stores, downtown, airports, and many more are no longer distracting anymore and was able to take more time there...
The best part of all, is that the sounds around me are even more pleasant and sounded very natural to me all the time!
Thanks for reading this blog!
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
The best thing of being a bi-lateral is hearing the world in 360 degrees and 3-D SURROUND SOUND. Whoa!!! This is way better than anything else I have tried before.
One night, I had a dinner with a large group, I learned that I can hear lots of people talking around me - my mind was able to tell me where they are, how far they are, and more. Then I closed my eyes for a moment, I still can see the whole room just by hearing. Even they moved around, I still can follow them, too. Whoa. I did not even realize to experience that. It was one wild moment for me.
One time, I heard the incoming footsteps in my left ear - and I went to that direction to check it out. But I passed the stairway and then I can hear it again in my right ear as it was from the stairway. I didn't trust my mind, so I waited to see if my mind was right. Yes, these footsteps was coming down from the stairway as a gentleman was stepping down. It was only 6 days of hearing with my left ear and as bi-laterial.
I am learning that I can hear many more by being bi-laterial! Whoa. Sweeeet!!!!
Friday, June 10, 2005
I am back from California - and I really had a blast being with Advanced Bionics staffs and also with volunteers like me!
I am an volunteer with Advanced Bionics - the reason I am doing this is that I am giving back to the company for everything they worked so hard for my hearing. And the best thing of all is that staffs at Advanced Bionics are are SO COOL!
The volunteers who came to the meeting are from Canada and United States - and they are awesome! They really gave me lots of pride in being a volunteer. Some volunteers have own cochlear implant and some are parents of children with their own cochlear implants. All of volunteers really enjoyed doing helping patients and parents with cochlear implants and more.
We had a presentations, meals, dinner, beers, and even we had a tour of the plant where they manufacture every piece of implant and processor. These were handmade, done American Way, and often labor intensive. The production staffs do have pride in every single cochlear implant that goes into every patient like me.
It was a great experience being with Advanced Bionics. I am still thinking of it, too.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
This afternoon I am flying to Valencia, California for an advanced volunteer's meeting with Advanced Bionics, the maker of my cochlear implant. I look forward to meet the company staffs and those volunteers who are invited to come. The purpose of this meeting is to extend our skills and share experience among other volunteers for helping bionic cochlear candidates and patients.
Also we have an opportunity for a tour of the plant where they manufacture the cochlear implant, too.
Friday, June 03, 2005
Today is my second day of hearing with left cochlear implant and 435th day (1 year, 2 months, 9 days) with my right cochlear implant... and I really enjoy listening to music more than ever.
The "Great Hearing Adaptation Process" is underway for my left ear. I still hear all those beeps and booppps in my left ear.... very nice, very sweet. SWEET!!!
I always know that hearing the music can help me to learn more of what these the beeps, beeeeeeepppps, and boooeeepps represent... so I can get more out of my bionic cochlear faster and much sooner than I want to. (Being in silence won't do any good!) I listen to many downloaded MP3's, radio, CD's, TV's and more. (try without closed captioning,too!)
Also I like to listening the talk shows - it does not matter if I misunderstand some words I heard, but it helps me to understand the differences between musical and voiced sounds. This is very important and critical for better listening skills.
Someday soon, all these beep's will go away in my left ear, but I will be hearing normally as much as my right ear does. Our minds are so adaptable!
Thursday, June 02, 2005
The cochlear implant surgery has affected my balance in a small way, but it is "recoverable" by doing more activities like walking and exercising. It is no big deal, and what a great reason to spend the lunch hour by walking on the Riverwalk.
As I went outside on a sidewalk I can now tell where all the sounds is coming from! I can tell a incoming motorcycle on my left side, behind me, and is approaching very fast. Cool. I guess I really can see everything behind my back by hearing!!! And the buses are noisy - and even worse when it brakes to a stop.
When I was on the Riverwalk, I can hear and spot the crackles, mallards, and robins... hearing people talking around me and everywhere is great, and it gave me a new sense of perspective about my surroundings... And I can hear tapping of feet and clatter of dishes in a diner... and too many to pay attention to!
I think I am going to learn more about my hearing perception than hearing the new sounds!
I just got my left implant activated this morning. Wow!! It is so nice to hear it again, too. It is so pleasant to hear, and no more virbration at all. The sounds (actually "beeps") are smooth and crispy to hear it. It is very different from what heard the first time on my right ear a year ago. But I really like it!
My daugher, Sophia, almost 8 months old, has been very helpful with me with my "Second Sounds" experience. She made lots of voices, clapping, and banging to be sure that my implant is working. She is right! She smiled big, too! And my wife Lizzie videotaped this moment.
Wow, I really like to hear both of my bionic implants at same time... wow... and I can even tell where all the sounds is from... and I am very pleased. In my left ear, I am still hearing beeps, but it does not matter today because I am learning to hear all over again, with help from the right ear... and I am not yet overwhelmed, but I think I will be very pleased all the way!
I am ready for hearing new sounds!!!
Friday, May 27, 2005
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I wish I can go to see "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" today, but I decided to wait until I get my "Second Sounds" (left bionic cochlear activated) in two weeks! It will be so cool to hear all these sound effects in THX format!!! I'll let you know what I think of the movie soon...
Thanks for all your support and prayers!
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Monday, May 16, 2005
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Two people asked me a good question today - how much of my hearing can be restored with my bionic cochlear? Would the hearing becomes 'Normalized" ?
The answer is "in theory", that 100% of hearing can be restored. But in reality, to achieve a remarkable 100% of hearing, it all depends on how well a person adapts to hearing these beeps", the bionic cochlear programming, placement of the bionic cochlear, and the environment
around the patient.
In my case, I felt that I reached about 90% of normal hearing. For example, I have a few more phonemes I need to learn hear - they are "p", "k", and "t"; these sounds are so soft spoken and lasts very briefly, so I have to pay more attention to it. Even there are some sounds has occurred around me that I missed because I did not paid attention or recognized it.
It's fun to learn new sounds every day... gotta listen to music now!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
It is 8 more days - and I finally decided to put my left hearing aid
back on after 3 days of silence in my left ear. Yes, hearing with both
ears is better. And I can spot the source of sounds, too. But it is not
comfortable, either. But I will miss these hearing aids because it is a
part of me and it was wonderful. I
Thursday, May 05, 2005
- Reason #1:I am not getting my cochlear transplanted, replaced, or removed. It stays there.
- Reason #2: An ear has many tiny parts, each part is no bigger than size of a pea. Image how a tiny part can affect a person's lifetime of hearing, personality, and well-being. Pretty sobering, so please wear ear plugs all the time if it is loud and everybody should have a hearing test often.
- Reason #3: My right cochlear was upgraded to "Cochlear Version 2.0"
- Reason #4: I have a serious hi-tech device, called bionic cochlear, implanted inside me.
- Reason #5: Nothing can repair or replace a cochlear.
- Reason #6: Nothing in the world, even in distant future, can create something to help one to hear more and bring a very natural hearing experience instantly. It all relies on the ability of a person's mind to perceive the surroundings.
- Reason #7: Today's bionic cochlear gives me a very "close to natural" hearing experience than amplified hearing aids can do.
- Reason #8: The bionic cochlear does not replace the ear, it merely supplement the current cochlear and uses electrical pulses to represent the hearing simulation.
- Reason #9: With the bionic cochlear, I have to re-learn the hearing all over again, and the advantage is that hearing will be much better, million times over.
- Reason #10: What is like to hear with implant...? Not much different from what you hear. "It's all in the ear of the beholder"... it means it's all in the mind. All the information from the bionic cochlear to my mind is all beeps. Using my mind, I try perceive these beeping sounds as an impression of a source. By doing lots of concentration like telling my mind where and what these beeping sounds represent... And time will tell when I can finally understand these impressions as natural hearing. Enough said!
I am getting another bionic cochlear implant! It is for my left unaided ear. I will become a bi-laterial Bionic Cochlear patient. The long draw-out process for getting insurance approval was a success. The motto is "Never give up, never give up!!!"
The date of implant will be May 19th, 2005 in San Antonio. My doctor, Dr. Wesley Krueger, (210-697-0880) will be performing the surgery. I am so looking forward to it.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Hearing Loss Levels:
-10dB to 25dB = Normal range
26dB to 40 dB = Mild hearing loss
41 dB to 55 dB = Moderate hearing loss
56 dB to 70 dB = Moderately Severe hearing loss
71 dB to 90 dB = Severe hearing loss
over 90 dB = Profound hearing loss. <--- My hearing loss range... next to total deafness.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Hearing music through hearing aids was like seeing underwater-no crispness or clarity at all and very lifeless and distracting at times. Since I got my [bionic] cochlear implant, I can now feel the vibe of what music is all about, and it really rocks my soul like never before! Almost every night I listen to music for an hour before going to bed. Sometimes, I follow along with the lyrics downloaded from the Internet, which really helps to sharpen my ear for music. I listen to different kinds of music to learn the meaning, cultural aspects, and purpose of the songs. I think I have downloaded 500 songs into my digital music player since I got my [bionic] cochlear implant!
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Why two ears are better than one:
Left ear for vocalization, Right ear for musical:
Why there are many patients with one bionic cochlear? Blame it on that old Medicare guideline, which is a bible for all private health insurance policy, too. Medicare policy writers felt that having a single bionic cochlear [unilateral] is sufficient for a patient. So the doctors had no choice and offered only one implant on a patient for each timeframe that Medicare allows. One believed that these Medicare policy writers had no idea how much impact a bionic cochlear can do. Today, there will be lots of push for a re-write of the policy to allow the payment of dual implant, aka "bilateral" implant. Most insurances do offer "bilateral" implant, only if a medical professional makes a good case with promise of a successful outcome.
Sources on Bi-lateral Implants:
Results of Google Search