22nd May 2018 Well I've done it!
My right cochlear implant has been very successful enabling me to join in the banter with friends; to follow conversations so much more easily even in noisy situations (very tiring). From October this year I will be involved in many functions and events where I will need to be able to follow conversations in difficult environments. I only have 10% hearing in my left ear, so I decided that I should have another cochlear implant and as soon as possible.
I had an appointment with my consultant on 7th March and he thought that it would be a good idea, especially as a hearing test showed that my hearing in my left ear had gone down even further. I had no need for more tests because both ears were tested last year. My consultant has retired from performing operations, so I had a different consultant for the operation. My pre-assessment was on 3rd May and went well and my operation took place on 10th May. All went well, and I was home the same day.
I wondered how I would feel when I took my cochlear processor off at night and could hear nothing - but in reality, I don't think I heard much previously, anyway. I feel fine about it.
Today I saw my consultant who confirmed that all was well and now I must wait for my switch on with my previous consultant on June 29th.
In the meantime, I am still trying to improve my hearing by practising against two DVD's playing, one on each side of me, whilst I try to follow what my tutor is saying. It is very difficult and very tiring. I usually fall asleep for a while after this, BUT it is helping me when these noisy situations occur.
However yesterday I went to see my younger grandchildren. Ethan had been playing football and he talked about it non-stop as we were leaving school. There were lots of other children around who were all speaking excitedly too, so it was a real challenge to make out what he was saying. I told him I thought that he would either be a footballer or football commentator when he was older! Such fun to be able to hear the children again!!
I can also now hear some types of music. I still have difficulty with military bands and with the modern loud music but there are times when I can really hear the rhythm and recognise the tune.
I have become more independent by using the telephone myself. I find my mobile is better for me than the landline, but I am coping much better.
Here’s looking forward to a few weeks’ time when I hope to be able to hear with both ears!
18th June 2018 Another Challenge
Since May 10th I have only had the use of my right cochlear implant. This meant that I could hear quite well on my right side but not so good on my left but soon it is switch on day.
Today I had a challenge! I had a meeting in London with people I had never met before and without my husband’s “buddy” support. I thought well here goes!
The first hurdle was getting to London because there had been an accident on the Northbound line between Tottenham Hale and Cheshunt and the notices said, "be prepared to follow instructions." I knew I wouldn’t hear verbal instructions over the tannoy but there are usually visuals. I sat where I could see the display and to my consternation the display said, “This train is bound for Cambridge North …..” I was horrified but we stopped at the correct stations. Then came Tottenham Hale and it seemed as if everyone was getting off the train. I stood up and was reassured to find that there were still people on the train. I reached Liverpool street and my ultimate destination OK.
Then I went in and was pleased to find everyone was very friendly and I could hear conversations reasonably well. In all I had a good afternoon and felt quite pleased that I had been able to take part.
20th June 2018 Switch on
My husband and I set off for the hospital to meet with my consultant, my rehab tutor and my I.T. wizard!! I wasn’t really nervous but there is always a slight worry that things will not go according to plan. First, I had an x-ray to check that the various parts were in the right place and to see the processor. All was well.
It was exciting to the various parts and to see the array of electrodes on the x-ray. (If you would like to know more you can find information through the Hearing Link website www.hearinglink.org/CochlearImplant/Information or from the National Cochlear Implant Users Association www.nice.org.uk )
Soon it was time for the switch on. I wondered if it would be like my first one.
No! this was much quicker. Almost immediately I could hear noises and then I heard the different sounds and very soon could hear my tutor speaking and understand what she was saying. Amazing
Next, I listened to some different sounds to see if I could differentiate between them and I could. Then I was asked to listen to some days of the week spoken by my tutor and by my consultant (a man). I could not only hear the "days" spoken but tell who had spoken them. It was unbelievable. We were all so happy. My fine tuner was programmed so that both processors could be controlled from one tuner. This would make life easier.
Soon my husband and I were on our way home. For the first time ever, we had a conversation in the car.
We had champagne as soon as we arrived home.
14 July 2018 Update
On Monday 25th June I went to an event in London followed by lunch. I was absolutely amazed for the first time ever I heard all the speeches and directions for the event plus I could follow a conversation on both sides of me and across the table. How marvellous!!
On 26th I had another session with my tutor and already we practised against background noise. The following Friday I went to a large dinner event in London and was able to hear quite well. Very tired afterwards but quite pleased with myself.
I had another session with my tutor on Saturday then another re- tuning on Sunday. My hearing is so good now. I think!
On Monday I spent 2 hours with my grandchildren, I could hear so much better and was able to follow their chatting and jokes!!
Tuesday was our last lipreading session for this term. I am so pleased to report that my friend who had had such bad experiences with her cochlear implant joined us and she has made good progress. We were all pleased for her that she is feeling much better and looking and hearing better too. I have heard that massaging the area around your implant can help to ensure blood circulates so I am trying this. If anyone feels there is the slightest problem with this area, they should seek advice as soon as possible.
I had 2 hours with my tutor on Tuesday afternoon and then in the evening My husband and I went with friends to a restaurant for dinner. The difference in the experience for me was superb. Even in a modern restaurant I could join in the conversation.
At the weekend we went to see some of my family and again the difference in the experience was astounding. I just feel so lucky.
This week has been busy, but the main event was an air show to mark 100 years of the RAF and here I was lucky because I could turn myself down. The noise of the aeroplanes was unbelievably loud.
Today (the 14th) we are off on holiday to Greece so I wait to see what will happen next. Speak to you soon.
4th August 2018 My holiday and the next week
Our holiday was wonderful! We did very little except sit in the shade and watch our younger family enjoy themselves in the pool. The pool was welcome when a cool down was needed. This is the first holiday, for a very long time, where I have been able to join in the conversations and have not felt isolated and wanting to go home after 3 or 4 days. Fantastic!! We had wonderful food and conversations, sometimes with a BBQ, sometimes in a restaurant. It was such fun to see the little three-year-old enjoying himself with his parents and grandparents. Great!
It seems such a long time ago. Once back we had many events to go to and I’m pleased to say that I could hear very well and join in the discussions. We also had some social events and I found these much better too.
Whilst travelling to another meeting re hearing loss, my husband and I were stuck in a traffic jam and I found that I could listen to the radio!!! This has not happened since the 1980’s.
With my tutor I am trying to follow what she says against loud background music. I still have a bit of work to do here. Also, at my last re-tune I think I didn’t ask for the right settings. I am still working on my vowel sounds because people sound more normal, but I have lost a bit of clarity. This can be put right next time.
I have started an online linguistics course for interest’s sake. It’s very interesting and so relevant both to lipreading and hearing. Again, I’m pleased to say I can hear what is said and don’t have to rely on the subtitles!!
Yesterday I took my 11-year-old granddaughter out for the day. We had a wonderful time and it was such an interesting and joyful experience to hear what she was saying to me - even in the car and in the restaurant at lunchtime. I look forward to more times like this.
We have a busy weekend with social functions today and tomorrow and visitors coming tomorrow evening. I find I now look forward to going out. What a difference my implants have made.
06 August 2018 Well my weekend was great!
On Saturday, I had dinner with my son and his extended family at a very nice restaurant. It was huge, modern and very noisy but I managed very well. The food was excellent and the service very good and very friendly. I had a tour of the kitchens. It was very hot and again quite noisy, but I could chat to the manager easily. So uplifting. Such a different experience these days!
On Sunday I had two hours with my tutor and then went to my nephews for a BBQ he was putting on for my sister’s birthday. She didn’t know we were coming so it was a real surprise. The two young children were delightful, and I even joined in the singing of Happy Birthday when they came in with their presents and a cake for her. I could follow a lot of what they were saying despite my having difficulty with high pitched voices. My brother in law could hardly believe how much easier it is now to have a conversation.
We left after about 4 hours and our own visitors arrived soon after. We had a lovely evening chatting in the garden.
Today I have had another two hours with my tutor and have been practising listening to sounds with my right implant which has been altered a little to balance more accurately with my right implant. Every time you have a retune you have to practise and get used to the sounds again, but it is worth it. Well off into town now so will catch up again soon.
20th August 2018 Update
It has been a long haul relearning the sounds heard in my right implant. At first it was quite demoralising not to be able to recognise sounds that I previously knew very well. However, when I wear both cochlear processors I have marvellous hearing. My tutor has been very patient with me and oh so helpful, steadily clearing the mist and helping me to regain the sound discrimination.
Over the last two weeks I have been to coffee mornings, dinner parties and many other events, including a service where I didn’t need to use the loop system. I still have to pinch myself when I hear discussions, talks etc. and I can hear what is said!! It is a wonderful feeling. One of the most amazing experiences is NOT having to tell people I have a hearing loss and cannot hear them. I know I still use my lipreading skills but these together with my improved hearing make conversations an enjoyable experience and not something I used to dread. My friends have been so supportive and have said how wonderful it is that I can join in the conversation all around the table, in noisy pubs and other places. I couldn’t agree more. I feel as though I have a permanent smile on my face.
In two weeks’ time my busy year begins and I find I am quite excited at the thought of meeting so many new people and finding about more about the different lives they have. The next thing on my to do list is to listen to music again. Fingers crossed!!
06 September 2018 Update
The last few weeks have been very busy. We had some friends to visit but it was a sad occasion as we were attending the funeral of a very dear friend. We had dinner together the night before the funeral and spent much of the time remembering all the happy times that we had had together. The service was very nice - it was humanist celebration of life. I could hear every word so that was good and again we were with many friends for the rest of the day. The following day we set off for Norfolk where we spent a few days; then we spent a weekend in Scotland, the following weekend in Cornwall and this weekend we will be in Wiltshire.
We had a quiet time in Scotland, but we were busy preparing for an event there next September. Although we were working, we found it very relaxing and met some interesting people who were also staying at our hotel. Despite varying accents, I managed quite well. I also found I could listen to and frequently recognise music that I used to listen to before my hearing loss. We played CDs in the car on our long journey to Scotland. I was thrilled to find that I really could hear the tune and understand the words for many songs.
We spent a long weekend in Cornwall for a friend’s birthday and again I was able to join in the whole time. Great!
Yesterday I was in London for a lunch with 80-100 people. I could hear the reports through the microphone – no loop system. I found it a bit difficult during the drinks reception but so did most people. I thought I did really well during the lunch and I met some very interesting people. This has given me confidence for my busy year ahead in the City.
I received an email from Catherine (see information below) and I am going to see the performance on Monday 10 September at 7.30pm. I will let you know what it is like in case you may wish to see it, if there is a performance near you.
"it is a beautiful piece of music inspired by people who are learning to lip read based in Winchester –
with projected sur- titles in the show and a full transcription of the piece (the words in the music) in the programme. World class musicians it is a total one-off visit to Cambridge Junction.
It is PERFECT for people who want to know how the world feels for people with hearing loss and accessible for people with hearing loss."
Catherine Church Artistic Director PLATFORM 4 firstname.lastname@example.org 07711809249 www.platform4.org INVISIBLE MUSIC TOURING MAY & AUTUMN 2018 promo here:
11th September 2018 How wonderful!
I was away this weekend and had a great time meeting many friends and colleagues. I attended two large group dinners and despite the size of the groups and the noise of people speaking simultaneously, I managed quite well. I had a very interesting and enjoyable time. Such a relief!!
On Monday I saw my grandchildren for the first time in a month and heard about their holiday and their first days back at school. Such a joy to be able to hear them reasonably well and to have a real conversation with them.
Monday evening, I went with a friend to see the performance of “Invisible Music”. It was incredible!!!
The words of the lipreaders group, aptly described the emotions, thoughts and feelings that most of us with hearing loss have had. Their stories could be all our stories. The music reflected the ideas put forward as did the visuals. There were some scripts shown and they too became distorted with the music. Sometimes the music was melodic and beautiful and sometimes dis chord. For hearing people, it gave a real insight into the challenges facing those with hearing loss. And it was done through an entertaining medium. It was over too quickly.
There are more performances in the coming months and there may be one near you. If you should go – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Wonderful!
30th September 2018 Busy-Busy!
The last few weeks have flown by! I find that I am relying less on subtitles now when I watch the TV – I must try to listen to the radio soon.
There have been so many large events and some smaller ones, and it has been hectic, but I felt so good being able to take part in them. It is still difficult in very large groups and the concentration is immense, but it is difficult for everyone in large group situations. I am also very tired after them but it is worth it to be there!!
I met with my college friends in a pub last week and for the first time in many years I was able to hear and take part in the conversation! Stunning!
One of the most magical events was waving off the sick and disabled children who were being taken on a trip to Paris Disney. It is organised by the Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriages and sponsored by other Livery Companies and other people. I was there with my husband to represent the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers. First everyone, including the children, had breakfast – over 400 people and all before 7am. Then the families got into their taxis -210 taxis- and we waved them off. We spoke to our two families and it was very emotional to see these children and their mums setting off on a magical adventure. Very soon they were on their way accompanied by police and paramedics and many more on their journey to Paris. I was so pleased to be able to talk to the children – what a lovely morning!
This is one of the many aspects of the contribution made by the Livery Companies of London. It was great to be a part of this event.
In the coming year I will be taking part in many different events as my husband will be Master of the Worshipful Company Spectacle Makers. Our year begins on Wednesday and with my newly acquired hearing I am looking forward to a challenging but exciting time!
2nd November 2018 Another month has passed
I cannot believe it has been a month since I last updated my blog!! The time has flown by. We have had many lunches, formal dinners and other events to attend. It has been quite hectic trying to keep up with everything. My husband and I went to Belfast for an evening dinner and were home by half past one the following afternoon. We have met some amazing people and visited some astonishingly beautiful venues. I have been nervous before each event but have managed very well and have met some really interesting and friendly people.
At one event there was live music and I stayed too long in a noisy environment which aggravated my tinnitus. Several weeks later it is getting better. Remember to take care of your ears in noisy situations!! I have been to some large lunches and teas on my own and found that I could hear pretty well. People are very kind too.
Another of my friends is having trouble with her cochlear. The magnet has slipped down and there is no longer room for her earpiece behind her ear. At the moment it looks like she will need an operation to put it right again. Let’s hope it can be put right quickly and easily. I have heard of one other person who has had this, but she had her cochlear implant about ten years ago or more.
Fingers crossed I am still finding my ears a revelation. I find high voices are a bit tinny and more difficult to hear than lower pitched voices but at least I can hear them! I also find that I am very tired after concentrating on hearing for long periods of time, but I am sure I will get better at it. On the 30th October I went with my grandchildren on a miniature railway for Halloween. It was beautiful, a bit spooky but not too frightening so I was alright! We were all dressed up and the children loved it! It was great to hear them chattering about it over their hot chocolate and biscuits.
My husband and I are off to Dublin this weekend for a formal dinner and then next week is the lead up to the Lord Mayor’s Show. This will be a busy weekend as it is Remembrance Day on the day after the Lord Mayor’s Show. Very exciting and I do realise how lucky I am, not only to be there, but to be able to hear what is going on.
Hope you have a good week and enjoy the fireworks if you are going to a display - but again remember to look after your ears.
26th January 2019 Catch up
Hello Happy New Year! I hope 2019 will be very good to you and your family.
Sorry for the very long silence. I had some computer problems and also have been very busy, plus like nearly everyone else I know, I have had a recurring cold and cough.
Christmas nearly overtook me and it was a last-minute scramble to get everything ready in time.
Now here we are almost at the end of January.
Over Christmas and the new year we have had a series of water leaks and problems with our central heating. Now the third one has been sorted let's hope life will be more water tight.
Having been involved in many large group activities, my cochlear implants have been so valuable to me. I still find some situations difficult and these are mainly in the modern restaurants that have hard surfaces and no carpets, curtains or other soft furnishings to help absorb the background noise. I can still manage reasonably well providing I sit with my back to the wall and facing other guests. Lipreading is great for clarifying what I think I am hearing.
Next week will be quite challenging as I am going to China for a week. It is a business trip with my husband so there will be meetings, trips and dinners to attend. I am hoping to have an interesting and successful time with the aid of my cochlears!! Will let you know how I get on.
Several more people have emailed me telling me about their experiences with their implants. We all have the same experience - we have to work at it to get the maximum benefit from them. So keep up the good work and I will speak to you again soon. Best Wishes.
25th February 2019 Chinese New Year
Incredibly it is a month since I last updated my blog. We are so busy at the moment that time seems to fly by.
The visit to Shanghai was amazing. Our group (6 of us) met up at the hotel and went the same evening for dinner with our hosts. It was a large private room in a large restaurant. Our hosts were very welcoming and entertained us royally we had a lovely meal and then went off to bed. The men all had a business meeting whilst the ladies had a day’s sightseeing. In the morning we went for a walk around Shanghai then met two of our Chinese friends who took us on a brief tour including going to the top of the world’s tallest building. 216 stories! It was amazing. The lift was amazing. It is so fast!!!!
Back to the hotel to get ready for the big Company party – 700 people sitting down for dinner!! I was worried about this. I wondered whether I would be able to cope with the noise of so many people. We arrived and met with our hosts and we went straight into the hall and to our table. Everybody received gifts and the evening began. There was a buffet of food, but it was all brought to the table and the dishes seemed to arriving continuously. There were speeches and visual displays and then anyone from the guests who wanted to, performed on the stage for the entertainment of the rest of us. The variety of performances was amazing. I was so pleased that I could manage to hear so well in this noisy environment. All too soon it was time to go back to the hotel. More gifts followed. The next day we all had a tour of Shanghai and then had dinner together in the evening. The following day the men again had a business meeting and the ladies joined our Chinese friends to tour the old part of the city. It was lovely and so alive with colour. Red lanterns were hung everywhere ready for the New Year celebrations. This year is the year of the pig, so pigs featured very prominently. We visited the old shops and then after lunch we visited a temple and some beautiful gardens. Next day we were off to a water town which was very interesting and then on to a lake resort. This was so pretty and the hotel that we stayed in was very attractive too. The next day we were back to Shanghai airport ready for our return journey in the morning. It’s a long flight 12.5 hours. And 8 hours difference in time. It took me a long time to get back into UK time. On the way home I thought I would see if I could hear through headphones. To my surprise I could! The biggest problem was keeping the headphones in the right position for me to hear. Another first.
We are now back into the swing of all the events that are coming up. Life is so busy! But I am so very pleased that I am able to join in and take an active part in all the events.
26th February 2019 What a success!
As the Mistress Spectacle Maker, I was able to host an event for other Livery Company Consorts. I decided to host an afternoon tea with musical interlude.
I issued invitations. The interest was amazing. We had over 100 guests, including the Lady Mayoress and Sheriffs Consorts: Masters and Consort and Clerks from other Livery Companies plus guests from City Lit London; Hearing Link; Decibels (deaf charity) and Hearing Help Essex. My aim was to raise Deaf Awareness. I spoke about what it is like to lose your hearing and what one can do to help oneself. This was general not specific to me. I put a small booklet “about me” into a resource bag for my guests. I had with me two wonderful musicians. A flautist - Ruth Montgomery; and a violinist – Eloise Garland. They are both very accomplished musicians who have played with Dame Evelyn Glennie and many famous orchestras. They teach music and also, they work for Decibels charity. They both happen to be Deaf!! They talked about their life and how they overcame the challenges of being Deaf musicians. They gave an audio-visual presentation of their work with Decibels which was fascinating! They played for us both individually and together and it was truly magical. One of my Consort friends said “I cried when you spoke. I sobbed when the girls spoke!!” Following our presentations, we had our champagne tea with lots of discussions. It was a very successful and worthwhile event and raised money for “The Lord Mayors Appeal” and for the charity “Decibels”.
Such a rewarding experience with help from the Spectacle Makers Clerk; staff from the Bakers Hall and the Catering Company which made it such a success.
10th March 2019 A retune to improve the quality of my hearing.
This has been a relatively quiet week. Last Saturday I had a retuning session. I didn’t think I had been hearing so well over the last month or two.
I had a pre retune meeting with my tutor and tests showed that I was not hearing so well with my right ear.
After discussion with my tutor and my audiologist my right processor was checked and amazingly, it had reset itself. This was corrected and I could hear much more clearly with my right ear. Now the tests showed that I was hearing much more clearly with my right ear.
We were going to adjust my left processor but every time it was altered, voices sound like frogs under water. The setting was restored and with both my processors I can hear very well again. It was very strange and I’m glad that all is well now.
Today my sister and brother in law came to lunch and it was such fun to be able to join in with the jokes and follow the conversation without straining all the time to hear and lipread. Fantastic.
The coming week is very busy with events every day and visitors at the weekend. Before I had my cochlear implants, I restricted the number of functions I went to so that I could rest in between them but now there seems to be something every day. I’m so pleased that I am able to join in like this. I’m often tired but it’s a HAPPY tired feeling.
Hope those of you have had cochlear implants are as happy with them as I am!
30th March 2019 Amazing experience
Last week was very hectic but this week has matched it.
Wednesday, we had a really interesting visit to Treloar School and College, Alton, Hampshire. It is an outstanding educational establishment enabling education for disabled young people. The age group ranges from 2-25 and is an inspiring place for all!! The school started in 1907. The then Lord Mayor Sir William Purdie Treloar wanted to build a hospital and school outside the city for children with non-pulmonary tuberculosis. He set up a “cripples fund” as his Mayoral Appeal. He raised money and noted that Queen Alexandra went to the Mansion House to open a fundraising fete in aid of his “cripples fund”. Treloar’s Hospital and School opened in 1908. Since then it has grown to become one of the leading providers of education, care, therapy, medical support and independence training for disabled young people in the country.
It is a wonderful place – so happy and positive and using up to the minute technology to allow the children to participate in their education and to become as independent as possible. They are encouraged to develop their skills and talents.
When the Lord Mayor of the City of London is elected, he automatically becomes a trustee of Treloar Trust.
The staff of the school are a dedicated team and all looked so happy to be working with their students.
Every year an event is put on for the Lord Mayor. This year I went to this event and visited some of the classrooms of the College. It was amazing. The children were enjoying their classes and eager to show us what they were doing. Some of the older children had put on a display of their artwork and others performed at a concert for us. It was awe inspiring to see the children able to make music using various techniques and technology. They were fantastic.
This is another example of the livery companies helping to enrich the lives of others and what a worthwhile thing to do. The school needs to raise money to meet the needs of their children and to enable the students to realise their full potential. Many events and activities take place to raise this money. To find out more visit Treloar’s website:
The rest of the week was more events, finishing on Friday night and then home for the weekend to relax and catch up with other parts of our life. Once again, I was so pleased to be able to hear and to take an active part in these events.
18th May 2019 Under the Weather
I am so sorry for the long silence. I have been very busy but also, I have had an infection and so was not feeling up to writing my blog.
I am very much better but now I have an earache. It is not continuous; rather – intermittent; but painful when it comes. Because of my friend’s problem with her cochlear implant, I went to see my Consultant this week. I had a very thorough test and thankfully, I have no problem with my cochlear implant. The problem seems to be with my jaw which moves about a bit. I am going to investigate this now.
The pain does not interfere with my hearing but if you have a prolonged earache, it is always best to get yourself checked by your doctor. Yours ears are very precious!!!! Don’t let any problems go on too long before seeking advice.
I have had another week of meetings and events and have again been so grateful to be able to hear what is going on. I still have problems with microphones if there is not a loop system, but am able to hear so much better than before.
I saw one of my lipreaders who has recently had a cochlear implant and she seems to be getting on well. That’s great news!!
Recently, I have recorded 12 new passages for more practice. They can be used for lipreading or hearing practice and should become live in the next week or two. I do hope they will be useful to anyone who uses them.
I wonder if any of you went to deaf awareness events in your areas. I was not able to do anything this year but put an article about hearing loss in my local newspaper.
More people are now able to receive cochlear implants, but I hope too, that support and training will be provided. It makes such a difference to how well you are able to make use of your hearing and the cochlear implants!
Well, have a good weekend and I’ll speak to you again soon.