Still adapting – my brain that is

In November 2017 I wrote on my blog that after five years with my cochlear implant I was still hearing new sounds. I am delighted to share with you that even though it is now two years older, my brain continues to adapt and helps me hear sounds in environments where there was a lot of difficulty before. Let me tell you about it.

Earlier this year I gave a presentation to a group of about 50 people on a long-term project that I and a team had been working on at the church I attend. We were in a room that is probably the most difficult of all the rooms at the church to hear in and half-way through the session we turned the (very noisy) air conditioning unit on. As luck would have it, it was one of the first warm days of spring.

In addition to a brief update on our work, we arranged for small group discussions plus feedback and questions from the floor. I was very anxious about the latter two elements.

My business before I retired involved facilitating training sessions, but they were mostly with groups of a size I could manage – usually 12 to 15 people. And I always set up the room so I could walk around and get closer to each participant to lip read more easily. This time, not only was the size of the group four times what I was used to, but the set up was several rows of chairs facing the front to accommodate the numbers in the room. So the only people I could safely lip read were those in the first few rows.

I was so anxious about this that I enlisted a member of our project team to take care of getting the ideas from everyone down on paper as I was concerned that I would not be able to hear them. I do have an F/M system that acts like a microphone but the range is limited and would certainly not reach the back rows.

Well, quelle surprise! I not only heard remarks from the back of the room; I also heard some asides which are generally softer. It really didn’t sink in until a few days later when I was reviewing the ideas from the event and realized, “I heard this.” I honestly didn’t think I could manage with this large a crowd. Now I know I can!

I have had my cochlear implant for seven years now. I am 74 years old yet my brain seems to think it is 21! For all of you wondering if it is possible, as the saying goes, to “teach an old dog new tricks”, I can tell you without doubt that it is. To the cochlear implant crowd reading this blog, especially those of you new to this experience, take heart!

10 responses to “Still adapting – my brain that is

  1. Rosemary – Thank you so much for your newsletter. AND thank you for your Christmas card. I cannot believe that another year has gone by without seeing you. I think we are all slowing downnnnnn…..! Do have a good holiday and all the very best for 2020. cheers, Lou O’R

    >

  2. Wonderful news Rosemary ! Your experiences , so vividly and happily expressed will encourage those who are just a few steps or many steps
    behind you. Enjoy the Christmas season.

  3. Wonderful! I too improved each year. I went for a very long time not being able to hear on the phone clearly with my implant, and making do with my other ear. But, one day, my non-implanted ear wasn’t good enough to hear on the phone, so, I tried my implanted ear again (about five years after implantation), and to my great delight, I was able to hear on the phone!
    Everyday is a miracle with a cochlear implant. Happy to “hear” your days keep getting better and better Rosemary.

  4. How exciting to read about the wonders of your brain!! Who knew you would still continue to experience more and more sounds in challenging environments? Thank you for sharing, Rosemary, and for increasing my understanding of your cochlear implant.

    Heather >

  5. What a wonderful post. it’s so great that you are still teaching your brain to accept new words.

    Keep on chugging!

    Love 💕 Dody (I just found the hearts on my IPad)

    Sent from my iPad

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  6. Such wonderful news. It’s good to know medical science and technology can have honestly real consequences. Keep exploring, Rosemary.

  7. So delighted to read this, Rosemary. Congratulations , not only on your presentation, but on the great strides you have made personally. You inspire all of us “old dogs” who are also trying to be better at all we do.

  8. Cant believe seven years since you received your implant ! Thanks for the great update. You are a trailblazer and mentor for many . well done ….as always, Rosemary 👍

  9. Rosemary, you clearly believe the old saying… “Good, better, best…I shall never rest until my good is better and my better best !! What an example you have given us! Cheers!
    Shirley Bush

  10. Hi Rosemary
    This is great news both about your continuing progress and for those who are learning from your experience. So clearly laid out for all.readers

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