Me (mostly recovered!) and my nieces, Nina and Amandine, at Neutral Bay Wharf in Sydney.
I am back to some semblance of normal life, being able to go back to work, and wash my hair. (Although am still without any sound in my right ear. Only 6 days until switch on.)
But having everything ‘go back to normal’ has had the interesting affect of making me much more aware of the changes to my head and ear.
My ear feels tender to touch now – whereas before it didn’t at all!
I get popping in my inner ear every time I swallow.
And I can REALLY feel the lump under my skin where the implant sits now – and I have to say that it is one thing that freaks me out. Sometimes I just walk down the street, with my hearing aid turned off, in total silence, feeling this lump under my skin on my skull, and wondering what it will sound like, what it is doing under there.
I mean, geez. I have a computer in my head! It’s going to take some getting used to.
One other thing that happened too, today – I was ‘testing’ how much I could hear in the implanted ear (basically nothing, until I get switched-on), but I got Ben to sing against my ear, and all of a sudden, I could hear his voice, though I couldn’t make out what he was saying – I could tell the pitch he was singing in, and the rhythm.
I got all excited, thinking that maybe the sound waves were making the electrodes move, and therefore maybe I would be able to hear without powering up the microchip – perhpas sound could be powerful enough to make the electrodes act like normal hair cells?
A dedicated boyfriend: thank you to Ben for yodelling into my ear when I wanted to 'test'.
But then we realised that as soon as he moved away from my ear, i.e. let go of me, and moved his lips away from touching my ear, it was like the sound stopped. I couldn’t hear it anymore. Even though he was still yodelling away like a mad man. (*sigh* what boyfriends will do huh?)
In fact, I was feeling the sound through my body, via vibrations!
Before I got the implant, I couldn’t understand speech much at all in that ear, though I could hear noise – but I didn’t realise because I used to test it by saying “Ben, talk into my ear loudly”, and then I could make out what he was saying (usually stuff that made me blush). However, it turned out I was actually ‘lip-reading’ by the feel of Ben’s lips making the sounds against my ear – because once he moved away – again, it was like suddenly it became muffled.
But now I can’t even lip-read through my ear, but my body picks up the vibrations, and makes me think I am hearing sounds.
Weird I know. The human body is an amazing thing.
The bionic ear will have to contend with Super Ear!! who will win??
The other weird thing is that since getting the implant, the left ‘hearing-aided’ ear has gotten bizarrely super-sensitive. So I am hearing things out of it that I had never heard before. Like bumps and things coming from the apartment above us. Apparently they happen all the time, but I have only just started noticing it!
And my breathing! It sounds SO LOUD.
So, I don’t know, maybe my ‘bad ear’ was holding back the ‘good’ ear, and now it’s finally free, realised its destiny and become SuperEar.
But all this will probably change after the switch-on. 6 days to go.