So as many of you may know, there are a range of different technologies available to help people hear. I’m so lucky that a country like Australia offers a range of services and support. And sometimes I always take things for granted .
At school and university, even at other lectures and events in the community, I always ask the speakers to wear an FM system that helps me hear their voice better.
But lately, every time they ask if they need me to wear it, I tell them no.
While it’s awkward and embarrassing to reject them, as it was to ask them to wear it in the first place, I’m going to explain why.
The FM system is a microphone (the speaker wears) that connects to my hearing aids. While it does raise the volume, with hearing aids and the FM system, my hearing is amplified. That means my limited hearing is amplified. I’m trying to work with the limited hearing I’ve got the FM system amplifies the sounds I can’t hear well. That’s why I get so tired, because I’m trying to hear what I can’t.
But with the cochlear, it is not amplifying my hearing. Rather, the cochlear is creating artificial sounds that mirrors as “normal” hearing. In other words, I’m hearing more through the cochlear, than my own limited hearing. I’m hearing so much more, and at once.
And since I got the cochlear in one ear, it’s been a real challenge for me to wear both. On one hand I’ve got the cochlear Implant bringing in all those sounds, new and old, all at the same time, and my brain is still trying to process and understand everything.
On the other ear, I’ve got my hearing aid, which have started to become really annoying to wear, amplifying sounds I can’t hear well. And then when I connect the fm system and ask a speaker to wear it, again it only amplifies my limited hearing and it gets really exhausting!
Imagine wearing both at the same time!
It’s been so challenging and tiring for me, especially at university.
I even started reducing the volume on the cochlear implant, so I can focus on the lecturer wearing my FM. And I didn’t know that made it worse. It got so bad I would be so tired to the end of the day.
It wasn’t util my appointments for speech and communication training, that I learnt all this.
She was baffled why I was using my FM system and hearing aids while the cochlear is the best method of hearing well.
She told me I have the potential to do really well with the cochlear and with time and lots of listening exercises, I’ll be able to distinguish different sounds and words, and be able to process and differentiate the different sounds.
Moreover, there is an FM that connects to my cochlear and what a life saver that is!
Especially now since the cochlear is picking up all the sounds at once, I still cannot process them all and I still cannot distinguish background noises. With the FM, it focuses and directs the sounds and makes it easier to use in group settings.
Despite being embarrassed with wearing a small device that I clip on, it actually helps me so much.