Thursday, 23 July 2009

Talking in Groups

Being in a group chats has always been hard for a deaf person. Lip reading one person to another person is like watching table-tennis following the ball and If you lost where the ball is, then you have just missed out on some information. Before I got implanted with this wonderful Advanced Bionic device, it was so hard to keep up . when I were in a group of hearing peers I used to lip-read all the time but always miss out some information and when I get tired of lipreading I miss more information. I used to hate sitting in groups and would prefer to talk to a friend 1-1. Sitting in groups, my confident wasn't so good and I used to sit there and be quiet, I was afriad to ask them to repeat.

After having a cochlear implant, lip-reading has become alot easisr! I don't get tired so quick and I do get more involved. There are times where I don't understand what they are saying but I do have to say that I am much more confident asking them to repeat, I ain't afriad to ask.

The only thing I find hard at the moment is university there is a student union bar where you sit and chill out with friends. The student union seats & tables are like a "C" shapes and when go with my group of friends to sit round thoses table. I've notices that everytime I sit in the middle - I always hear and keep up with the people on my implanted side and tend to miss some information on my non-implant side. I do try and make sure I sit on the edge, making sure all my friends are on my implant side. It does help, but still not all places have "C" shapes seating. They can be round and that makes it worst when there is no edges to make sure everyone sits where your implanted side is.

Maybe a 2nd implant would help in that situation? Has anyone out there notices the different in group situation after getting your 2nd CI done? It would be great if you could share your experince!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Total Wipeout Gameshow!

Ever heard of a Gameshow that on every Satuday evening on BBC ONE?

its involved: Crashes, smashes and hilarious mud splashes are on the cards as twenty contestants take on one of television's largest and most extreme obstacle courses. They journey across the globe to the purpose-built Total Wipeout course in Argentina to put their strength, balance and bravery to the test in the hope of winning the 10,000 pounds cash prize and being crowned this week's Total Wipeout champion.

I have never really watched it and my dad always wanted to me to try and get on the show. He said he always like to see a deaf person on the show to raise the awareness that "deaf people can do anything except hear" He'd downloaded the application form the other day. He asked me to go for it, and so I did. I can't believe I actually posted the form off, am I mad?

I am an outgoing person and always up for a challenge. So, I thought why not and give it go. After watching a bit of the show on Youtube. I thought If I ever did do the show - it would be good to tell people what a cochlear implant is. It could make Advanced Bionic more visable and maybe more people would be aware on a cochlear implant is.

Another question my dad ask me. If I ever won 10,000 pound, what would I spend it on? I said I would pay to have a second cochlear implant done and my dad was just shocked and couldn't believe I would choose to have that done instead of something esle like a new car or something.

Having a second implant would mean alot to me. Waiting till the N.I.C.E report change in 2011 is a long time to wait and it could take forever to appeal against it. So, it worth a try. If I fail to make it the gameshow there always another way round to it. Better luck for me!

Where to get support and advice?

Looking for advice and support to help you with decision to get a cochlear implant or not? How about checking these useful sites;

Advanced Bionic (the name of my cochlear implant)

Contact Network

Ear Foundation

Cochlear Implant User Group

British Cochlear

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Contact Network!

Last weekend, I travelled all the way down to Cambridge to join the Contact Network group. Friday evening they had a social meet up with a BBQ. I have never really met any of the contact network group before apart from Tiz who I have met at the EF and the two other AB users who I have met during my assessment at the Ear foudation to help me decide wheather I wanted a cochlear implant or not. Oh and there was Elaine from CIUG who I have spoken to loads of time asking her tons of question about the implant. I didn't realise they would be there

When I got to the Mellor Centre, I signed in and went to my bedroom and dropped my bags off. The time we got in our room, it was almost time to join the crew. Richard and I were walking towards the study centre, well we were trying to find the place and as we got near the building, there was a lady walking by waving at me saying "Hi katie-louise" I were like, erm... "Hi" (I didn't have a clue who she was) Untill I got close and I realise after she told me who she was. Michelee has been reading my blogs and so thats how she knew me. (It was great to meet you Michelle) We both walked up to the study centre along with my partner Richard who were also with us for the weekend. As soon as we got into the study centre, Tiz was already by the door way - so, that was alright for me, as there was someone esle already knew - Tiz took control and introduce me to his boss (nice to meet you boss :-) After I got a drink, I spotted my great old audiologist that did my assessment to get a cochlear implant and who has left me for her new job just before my switch on, but hey at least shes working for the 'RIGHT' company, it was great to catch up with kezia again. (hopefully see you again sometimes)

The room was full other AB users. I managed to get chance to talk to most of them. they all seem nice and it was great to know all of their experince too. we also had a good game on the Wii, playing against to the other AB users was so much fun. While we were eating up our dinner, Tiz join us and was asking if kezia has told me something. Kezia and Yvoone soon jumped in quick and told Tiz to shush. They had something exciting to tell us the next morning. I kinda guess what it was, so thanks tiz for the hint :-P They all know how crazy I am with the colours on my implant and what I did to one of the cover (yes, spraying it pink) Thats me and I love to stay in fashion, not just with clothes, but with my implant too.

The next morning, I was ment to go for a run, but after seening the meeting was gonna be from 9ish till 4. I thought I better not and take the weekend off. Sunday morning, I did actually went out and did the extra hour run to make up from what I lost.

Breakfast was nice, so there were more time for us users to enjoy chatting awaying. Finally after breakfast it was time to join the group for a meeting. The people who worked for AB/contact network had lot of presentation to show us - its was all about the history, achievements, future of AB and many more. I thought it was so interesting. I have learnt so much, and still I can't believe how much I didn't know even though I had the cochlear implant for a year and there is still so much more to learn. I was actually impressed with the future equipments for the processor etc - next on my list I want a pink, hehe :-) and also other things they have such as the new T-mic earmould that we're going to try out. Poor kezia haven't done made and ear mould for over 10 months, but she has done so well - It was a good job I learnt how to lip-read, so I could keep up with what the others were talking about while my implant were off. After having the ear mould made, I also made a bouncing ball with the left overs lol. I actually gave that to Nicolas, who is stopping at my families home to play with. The music session was also interesting. I am not really into music that much. I only know a bit of Duffy and The Saturdays because I quite like the beats they played and my sister helped me with the lyrics etc.

The CD software they have and what they showed us seems to be so interesting. She played a few tracks to see if we could guess them and we had to imagine whats happening during that sounds. I thought that was really userful so I am gonna give that a try and then make a post on what I think about it. (watch out for the next post)
In the meeting room, they had a quite a few instruments out, so, myself and the other AB users decided to play with them and make some sounds. Some of thoses instruments I have never heard before. Some sounded good and some were awful. we had fun with them though. We made sooo much racket and I felt sorry for kezia, tiz and the others - I bet we were getting on their nerves. They must be so glad when we had stopped playing them lol.

The Future of AB - justs gets better! I am impress on what they are working on! I am looking forward to help more, and go to more of there meetings! A big thanks for the AB crew - Hopefully see you all again so soon!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Using The Phone!

Using a phone can be difficult for some C.I users. Some can learn quite quickly, some take a while. But for me, I am still not 100% confident and yes, it has only been a year since I've been implanted.

It could take some users months or even years till they could get better, it does take practice. Without practice you probably wouldn't reach the next level unless you've tried. Every users is different, you can't compare yourself with another C.I users. - its all to do with you history of deafness, or sound menmory! Just because you know someone who had the implant around the same time as you, or maybe a few months later and can use the phone quite well, it doesn't mean they are better than you, and your not going to get to that stage. The whole idea of the rehab process is to practise and not to give up.

I once tried calling my granddad at Christmas for the first time and at the time I have only had my implant for six months.. I didn't actually hear him very well or understood him perfectly. My mum stood next to the phone and all I could hear is like a foreigner is talking to me and you don't understand the language. When I first heard voices, that was also like that too. After trying with my grandad at christmas, and it wasn't too successful, it didn't stop me from practicing. I decided to try something differet instead such as doing more listening practice without lip-reading. Doing something different does give me a chance to improve my listening skills to listen without lip-reading.

My lipreading skills were so good before being imlpanted. And thats one of the good thing about being able to lip-read was it able to make things a little bit easier by reading their lips and remenbering how does that word sound ready for next time I should be able to hear that word without lip-reading. I do practice alot with my mum and sometimes she ask if I would like to try again on the phone. At some point I do make some excuses saying nah - I'm off out, which I do have to admit that I just weren't ready and wasn't confident enough to try it. My mum were ok with it - my mum is the sort of person who likes to try and help and also try to encourage you to practice more. That is a good thing about having someone round to help you. I mean, without the support I got, I wouldn't think I would get this far to be able to hear some speech without lip-reading.

Just only a few weeks ago, I were away from home working, coaching young children and to hear from my parent, I would just text them too see how they are. While I were away, I did miss my mum's voice. From where I was staying, it would take ages for me to drive back home and pop in to say hello. So, in the end I sat in my room picked up the phone, thinking to myself should I ring my mum or not. I was getting all these 'What If I can't hear her' in my head. In the end, I thought, I ain't gonna know if I can do it unless I have tried! I decided to dail that number and just ring it....

Finally I could hear the ringing tone and at that moment I knew that anytime now she would picked up and say "hello". When I heard that hello, it was just so emotional. I do miss her voice while being away from home. During that phone call I had with my mum, my mum spoke to me like she normally does to me when we are face to face. At a normal pace, not to slow or to fast. I was able to pick out the main key words on what she were saying. There were a few time where she had to repeat her self untill I understood what is being said. I were so happy that I was able to hear her voice and yes when I got home, my dad did say she were in tears. My mum was so happy that I have given it a try. After this phone call, even though I still need some practice. I have now decided to try it more often and like others have said, without practce you won't get far.

So, hopefully this time next year, who knows, I could be talking to a few more people, or maybe still working on it. No matter what stages you are at, you just need to practice. So, for thoses of you who are new to using the phone with your C.I. Don't give up, it does take time!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Ear Foundation BBQ

Last weekend, there was a big Ear Foundation BBQ held at Sue and Brains house. Sue's garden were filled with stalls, bouncy castles for the kids and plenty of competitions to take part in.

The event went so well, the weather was so nice and it was great to meet even more people with Cochlear Implant! It is nice to see more and more implant users around my age and to share each of our experience! So, I would like to say a BIG thanks to Sue and the Ear foundation crew for organizing it!

The Ear foundation is like my second family - they're always so supportive and they have helped me with a load of things! I look forward to attend more of your events. If you need any advise or any support with anything to do with Cochlear Implant I would recommend you all to check out there site on

The Ear Foundation is now on facebook, why not sign up and be a member - you'll recieve all the latest news and make new friends online.

Anyway, thats it for me. This week I'll be chilling out seening friends catching up with what I have missed and new week I'll be driving up to cambridage to join the Advanced Bionic Contact Network meeting. So, looking forward to meeting new people there!