Hanging on the telephone

On Thursday I’ll be going for my second mapping session, so now seems a good time to report on progress.

I had the volume turned up near to its max for the last few weeks in the assumption that I would need more volume as time goes on. But in my case, the volume seems probably fairly close to what it should be. I know this because I’ve had to turn the volume down, and it’s much more comfortable. However, the higher frequencies are a bit strong, and seem out of balance with the middle and lower frequencies, so hopefully the next session will rectify that. I find female voices easier to tune into than male ones, which does suggest an adjustment is needed (it’s usually the other way round, with most users, I think).

My session on Thursday will probably include my three-month baseline speech recognition test. I don’t expect to see a dramatic improvement but I can confidently say it will be probably be better than the 26% I got the last time.

In practical terms, face to face conversations are quite easy now and recently, on a rare visit to a noisy restaurant with my wife Sorcha, making out her voice seemed easier than I remembered.

I’ve also been listening with some pleasure to Stephen Fry’s plummy narration of the first Harry Potter book, and more recently without the need to refer too often to the pages of the book itself. I’ve been listening to the odd radio news report, a couple of podcasts from the BBC Learning English website and a few other bits and pieces. Naturally, it’s all still a bit hit and miss, but I can make out a heck of a lot more than since the early days of my activation, or before my op.

But the most pleasing development is that, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve spoken to my mother, father, and two sisters on the telephone, as well as with Sorcha while she is in the next room. It was a bit stilted at times, and the conversation didn’t go much beyond small talk, but it felt really good. Using the telephone is one of my main rehab aims, so to get the point already of having a brief chat with people I know well is a real boost.

Indeed, it’s not in my nature to get too excited about such tentative signs of progress, but what the hell:

I’m in the phone booth, it’s the one across the hall.
If you don’t answer, I’ll just ring it off the wall.
I know he’s there, but I just had to call.
Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone.
I heard your mother, now she’s going out the door.
Did she go to work or just go to the store?
All those things she said, I told you to ignore.
Oh why can’t we talk again?
Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone.
It’s good to hear your voice, you know it’s been so long.
If I don’t get your calls then everything goes wrong.
I want to tell you something you’ve known all along.
Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone.
I had to interrupt and stop this conversation.
Your voice across the line gives me a strange sensation.
I’d like to talk when I can show you my affection.
Oh I can’t control myself!
Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone.
Hang up and run to me! Oh!

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