Friday, June 16, 2006

Feeling or Hearing?

I have been meaning to mention all week that a lot of the times when I "hear" something, I can feel it. It's like a feeling of momentary dizziness.
My audiologist says that the part of the brain that is supposed to be for hearing, in my case, has re-wired itself for other purposes. So for me, I get tactile (is that the right word?) sensations, instead of what should be true sounds. The first day was really a lot of dizziness. If I turn up the volume too loud even now, I will get the dizziness, but now mostly the dizziness has subsided when I pick up recognizible sounds when I keep the volume at a comfortable level. You know, those sounds I have actually managed to figure out which I mentioned in earlier posts.
My audiologist told me of a patient of hers that instead of hearing sound, in the beginning, she would "see" flashes of white light. Her brain had wired it's hearing area for vision, like mine has for feeling.
After a while, that lady's sense of seeing lights where there was sound went away and she started to hear sound as it was. She became "normal".

My dizziness feels like I just took a narcotic drug. When I take those drugs (remember after surgery I had to for pain) I get that relaxed, cool, heavy-headed feeling, and that is what I am getting when I take in these new high pitched tones now. It isn't as pleasant as it you think it be though. It's frustrating because before I can know what I am supposed to be hearing, before I can figure it out, it all sounds like same echo-y noise and then I have the dizziness to go with the new sounds, whatever they are. It takes time to figure everything out.

I have a volume dial to control what I call my comfort zone. If you think of it like a clock, 12 o'clock is the top, 11 o'clock is a little lower, 1 o'clock is higher. Typically, I'm told, it is programmed so that 12 o'clock is the most comfortable. But for me, I need it at 11 o'clock. If I take it 12, then I get dizzy. I am noticing that I seem to working my way up to being able to use 12 more often now. I can handle what you could say is 11:30 now. The lowest it can go is 8 o'clock and the highest is 4 o'clock. I do not know why there is no 5, 6, or 7 o'clock.

There are three program positions. Program one in the softest of all, this is what I prefer right now. Program two is a little bit more sensitive and it doesn't sound any different to me than prog. one, it's just louder so I turn the dial to 10 o'clock. I don't know what prog. 3 is for. The audi did not mention this one to me. I discovered that one myself, but I haven't tried it out.

So far this morning, I am really frustrated. My kids are not doing as I tell them, I have a headache and I am trying to figure out these sounds. I actually sat down and cried for minute or two. I'm definitely not the nicest person today.

When I think about it though, my hearing does get better each day.

I heard some papers rustling this morning. I knew it was the papers because it made a different sound than the ever present echoes and I could seek it out.

What else will I go thru today? I hope I hear at least a couple of new sounds. Just like I have been every day.

Positive attitude, emotional self-control, and patience. This is what it takes.


gailsirmans said...

I guess all the new sounds will take some getting used to. We who have not had hearing problems don't think about it as we know what we are hearing. I could see that you would be super-sensitive. I don't think I could handle the dizzy part of it. That would make me nauseous so I'm sure that is making you slightly irritable. I think that is so true when the dr. said that your brain makes the hearing part do something different since you are not hearing. That makes sense to me. The fact that you could hear papers rustling is amazing. Hang in there!

Amy Parris said...

Think of it this way. As mothers of young babies we often spend hours wondering why they are crying. After all, we've fed them, changed them, and rocked them. They should be sleeping.

I often think the tears are from pure frustration at the inability to communicate their true needs. Think about hitting yourself in the face repeatedly and not knowing how to stop it. Think about finding your thumb, happily sucking it and then having it uncontrollably jerked from your mouth.

Give yourself some credit. You're in a very similar stage. A few tears of frustration are nothing.

Keep up the good work and positive attitude. Things can only get better...right?

Jennifer said...

You poor thing! I hope that you get to feeling better soon. I anticipate crying days in my future as well...I don't handle change well :( I'm so excited for you, though....things WILL get better...I just know it...and you will have some great stories to tell!!! :) (((HUGS)))

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