Monday, June 3, 2013

Here is an article from a new friend of mine, John O'Connor, who has been writing health articles for awhile now on his blog. He is very passionate about hearing loss as it has affected his family growing up. Enjoy reading...

Don’t Let Hearing Problems Stop Your Child

Your child's auditory functions are important. If you know the signs of hearing loss, you can get your child the help they need as soon as possible. A child might be suffering from some form of hearing loss if they don’t seem to feel startled at the sound of loud noises. If they’re not turning toward the source of sound after 6 months of age or saying small words by the time they’re a year old, it’s normal to feel concerned. If your baby sees you within their field of vision, but doesn’t turn toward you when you call out his or her name, this may also be a cause for concern.

For older children, you might recognize different symptoms. It might be taking longer than usual for your child to develop their speech or their words may not sound very clear when they say them. Not following directions may be seen as deliberately disobeying an adult when in reality they simply can’t hear their request. You might find your child asking you to repeat what you said during a conversation and turning the volume up during a movie or television show.

There are a few ways that a child can develop hearing loss.  Hearing loss can be attributed from abnormalities in the ear structure (inner & middle ear) prior to birth.  Hearing loss can also develop because of a head injury, serious infection or repeated exposure to extremely loud sounds.  It’s possible to have damaged hearing from overuse of prescription medication and cancer-related drugs.  It’s very rare that permanent hearing loss can arise due to an ear infection, but it is a possibility. Treatments for hearing loss include a variety of operations, medicines and listening aids.

It isn’t easy having a hearing impairment. Children can feel bullied in school and teased for their hearing loss. Despite the hardships that come with a hearing disability, a person can overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

Basketball player Tamika Catchings was born with a hearing impairment. Inside the classroom, her peers would make fun of her hearing aids. When she began playing basketball, she worked harder than her classmates and always was in the gym striving to get better. She went on to become an Olympic winning athlete. Inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison, also suffered from a hearing impairment. Although many saw it as a disability, Edison saw it as a gift. It allowed him to concentrate on his experiments, and he went on to discover some of the greatest modern inventions.

EarQ has launched a campaign called “HearStrong Champions.”  EarQ who is a nationwide supplier of hearing aids hopes to showcase strong individuals who are flourishing despite their hearing loss. Their stories are meant to inspire those with hearing loss to get the help they need to live the life they want.
Hearing loss is a sense that is often taken for granted until it is gone.  Many people when thinking of hearing loss often think only of adults and elders.  As parents we must always remember that hearing loss can affect anyone even children and it is our job to make sure we are continually getting our children’s hearing checked.  With the right knowledge and support anything is possible!

Hi my name is John O'Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman, sports enthusiast and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Check out my new blog at!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yesterday on 5/29/2013, I went for my fourth mapping and it wasn't the best experience but I put my trust into my audiologist in making the sounds more suitable for my hearing needs! On the way home after two hours of the appointment, I felt like I was back at square one hearing things when I first started with my implant. However, TODAY was much better and I shared this post from my FB page:

I am on CLOUD 9 with this NEW MAPPING...and yesterday, I thought I was going to HATE IT!!! So I was sitting on the bed listening to "High School Musical" with my daughter listening ONLY through my implant. I heard the following on the movie: the basketball bouncing, the crowd roaring and laughing, and the piano playing. Then the movie was over and I thought, well, maybe my daughter had the volume up too loud (seemed like it was very loud--like on bar #4 of the volume control). So I went to lower the volume--it was on BAR #2, where I NORMALLY HEAR the volume with my hearing aid!!! I AM HEARING AMAZING THINGS now...this is AWESOME!! The words are coming in more understandably as long as I am reading the captions! Now I am STARTING to BELIEVE my CI friends that it's going to continue to get better!! Yay!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Well's been 3 months since I've been activated and it has been WONDERFUL!! I have worn my CI (cochlear implant) and HA (hearing aid) everyday since activation and gaining NEW SOUNDS that I haven't heard in over 33 years. Today was the FIRST DAY of actually wearing my CI ALONE due to technical difficulties with my hearing aid....enjoy the adventure:

My head is READY to EXPLODE from all these NEW & EXISTING sounds I have heard today. Let me give a recap of my LISTENING SKILLS today...

In a previous conversation with a fellow CI user, Scott Moulton I was challenged to remove my hearing aid and solely rely on my cochlear implant. For those who don't know, I was activated on Feb. 18th, 2013 and as a school teacher, it has been often difficult to solely rely only on the implant as it was originally requested from my audiologists. But they understood my working situation and I used both the hearing aid and implant everyday, until TODAY! 

My hearing aid needs a tubing replacement and I'm holding out until next week's CI appt in another town (2 hours away). So I took upon Scott's challenge and decided for the next 3 days at school & home I will ONLY wear the implant (since hearing aid does keep cutting off). If I did that, Scott Moulton will run a mile each day that I left the aid at home and implant on! Well, today has been an ADVENTURE! So here are so many FIRSTS in hearing today, this is what I have heard: 

1) Understanding speech conversations as long as I am reading the lips or hearing simple words/sounds behind my back. 
2) Fingers tapping on the keyboard 
3) Rain drops outside my door (work in a trailer)/Rain dripping off the over hang (sounds like ping, ping, ping!) 
4) Air conditioner kicking on (humming sound) 
5) My coworker eating and SCRAPING her yogurt out of the plastic container with her spoon.
6) My students (sitting behind me) singing "I like to move, move it!" 
7) Telephone ringing 
8) Heard the bubbles going up in the water dispensing machine (that was cool!) 
9) Coworker patting her hands on her lap (that about drove me crazy) 
10) Student opening a cookie wrapper but kept twisting it (drove me crazy!) 
11) Hearing the announcements on the intercom but can't discriminate what they said...Coworker translated :)
12) Understanding my students' conversations when following their lips 
13) My OWN children talking in another room and can't understand them but recognize their voices.
14) Before coworker left, she did the 6 Ling sounds behind me at two different distances and I was able to DISCRIMINATE!! Yay!!

It has been an UNBELIEVABLE ride and I cannot wait to hear more and truly believe this is a MIRACLE in disguise when I haven't heard CLEARLY (or nearly as good as this) in over 33 years!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Good morning, what a HAPPY, SUNNY, day in our area!

Well, this weekend is a BUSY ONE...getting ready for my upcoming surgery this week on Wednesday! So now the question are you feeling about it--nervous, excited, what? My response is "I'm @ peace with the surgery!" Ready to get it over with and begin a new chapter in my life...of hearing again in my right ear--it has been 33 LONG YEARS! So pretty excited!!

Last night, I went to a women's conference and had so much difficulty hearing and beginning to wonder if its my hearing (dropping again) or the hearing aid now working to its full effect--this can't be good!!! So after surgery, I am going to get the aid checked and perhaps, my hearing test again. Aaagghh!!

I have become more aware of my surroundings and the difficulties hearing in different situations....rather frustrating most times!

I will keep you posted on pre-op, surgery, and post-op in the next few days...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Good Morning, everyone...

Well, its 9 more days until my twin (Bionic Lady) arrives!

I was just thinking a few minutes ago...I need to make a list of all the questions I need to ask the audiologist & doctor for my pre-op! Getting excited and want the SURGERY/PAIN part over with...

Yes, I have had some doubts these last few days and wondering if this is REALLY WORTH it...but knowing I have such POSITIVE ENERGY and I am at a PERFECT place now that I need to do this!!

To be continued...(gotta get everyone ready for school)

Happy Monday...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Well, its been ALMOST TWO WEEKS since I last blogged on here!!

Wow! Tomorrow will be the first day of February and in just 12 days, my life will change FOREVER...mixed emotions going through my mind! Amazing NEW ADVENTURES will be here shortly before I even know it...

Recap of this past week: 

Both of my daughters ended up with strep throat--out for two days with them and in the midst of all of this, I had time to reflect and prepare for my next two weeks and contacted my audiologists to make sure about my upcoming appointments for the pre-op. Apparently, I won't be seeing them at my pre-op (BUMMER!); however, they asked me to complete my Neptune Processor form. So what is the NEPTUNE processor...this AMAZING LISTENING DEVICE is WATERPROOF!!! Yes, Advanced Bionics (the proud owners of this type of cochlear implant) has designed the NEPTUNE processor to be worn off the ear (meaning there is NO behind-the-ear device); so basically, I'll have a magnet attached to the internal piece on the side of my head and a long cord (depends on what link you get) connected to the "mini processor" that can be worn on a clip or an armband. One of the reason I chose this processor is because our family does a lot of water activities in the spring/summer and its irritating that I can't hear when I am in the water with my family. I have to CONSTANTLY LIPREAD to understand what they are saying (b/c I cannot wear my hearing aid) or having them YELL at me in the water to get my attention. So with the new AquaMic connecting to the "water processor," I'll be able to swim, splash water, and hold conversations with them!!!

While reviewing the application, I had countless decision-making problems....couldn't DECIDE on color options for the cords. Originally, I wanted to separate the UHP cord colors from the AquaMic, so I wouldn't get confused. However, after talking with several other Neptune clients, it turns out that AB has done an amazing job to design the cord connectors differently. Therefore, if I accidentally plugged in the AquaMic with my UHP cap, it won't work!! So ultimately I decided to with white cords for all of the connectors!! Yay!

Another thing is that ALL MY LIFE, I have worn the light tan/beige colored hearing aids with clear earmolds and since I work with kids who have hearing disability and wear CIs or HAs....why not go with BRIGHT, BOLD colors---its who I am--the FUN-LOVING, OUTGOING GIRL...I don't care what others have to say! If they're aren't walking in my shoes and understanding what I go through...then so be it!!! I am STEPPING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX...and hoping that I can share my stories with many others who are making these LIFETIME DECISIONS!!

So this morning, I OFFICIALLY FAXED my application and the NEXT STEP is Pre-Op Day, then 2 days later is SURGERY DAY!  Happy EARLY Valentine's Day to me!!!

Stay tuned for the NEXT EPISODE...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wow, I was talking to another CI user this evening and she reminded me that in 30 days, I will become a BIONIC woman! Exactly ONE MONTH from today, my life will change for the BETTER! Oh I am jumping up and down with glee!!! I need to WRITE DOWN a million questions!

Friday, January 11, 2013

I discovered a REALIZATION today... 

I was entering the school's office lounge to fill up my 1 Liter water bottle and I went to the freezer to get ice. While I was "digging around the container" to get the ice (making lots of noise for my left ear to not be able to hear any background noise. I accidentally dropped one of the ice cubes to the floor--heard it hit the floor with my good ear. Well, I didn't even hear another person walk in and when I closed the freezer door and started looking for the ice cube, I looked up at one of our TAs and I heard a ping but was thinking she was cooking her lunch in the microwave. So I said to her did you see the ice cube on the floor (continuing to look on the floor)...she said oh I just picked it up and put in the sink! So as anyone HI person would say...oh, thank you...I didn't hear you come in! Felt a little embarrassed but then an AHA! moment....just in a few short weeks--I might be able to HEAR the person walk in when I am digging through the ice bucket!!! OH I CAN'T WAIT... 

Thinking SO POSITIVE! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

So yesterday's mail consisted of TWO important pre & post-op letters came in the mail!! Countdown continues...4 weeks and 6 days to go!!

Now, I have to get the "little things" over the next few weeks to prepare for my surgery! I have a friend coming with me to pre-op, my LOVELY, HANDSOME husband coming to my surgery, post-op & activation day! I am a pretty happy lady! Now if I could just focus on my work and helping my students...that would be important! So EASILY DISTRACTED by this AWESOME news!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Yesterday as I was reviewing my child's "take-home folder," I saw a "New Year's Resolution" writing assignment that her teacher asked the class to complete. This is what it said, "This year I will take care of my family. But "realya" (should be really) I need to take care of my Mom." I asked her why did she need to take care of me...she said, "When you get your cochlear implant, you are going to be in pain and I want to make sure I can help you be comfortable!" What a SWEET daughter I have!! Thank you Lord for blessing us sweet gals! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Well, exciting news came my way yesterday...I received 2 emails from my audiologist about my upcoming appointments in February. One of them was related to having a friend accompany me on my post-op appointment and activation day (which will be DONE on the SAME day!!!); the other email was about the NEW BTE processor! She said I will be approved for the NEW BTE coming out by AB in the next few months! So excited!!!

So when activation day occurs, I will begin with the AB's Neptune processor and wear that for a few months...which will give my ear a chance to continue to heal more before having another BTE "hanging" on it.

Its a GREAT week so far...halleujah, praise the LORD! Amen!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My youngest daughter (6 yrs old) said to me this morning, "Mommy, I want you to be "normal"!" I asked her what did she mean by that....she said, I don't want you to have to wear hearing aids or get an implant. In my own thoughts, I wondered--should I be "sad" about her saying that or should I embrace it and say, "I AM NORMAL!!!"

Definition of "normal"--The usual, average, or typical state or condition.

Yes, I am normal just like my family members, friends, coworkers, and students. My disability does NOT define who I am...I am a loving, motivated, enthusiastic Mom, wife, teacher, runner, and friend to many and my disability does NOT STOP me. Yes, I have a disability but it doesn't "DISABLE" me to run, listen to music, communicate with take that DISABILITY OF YOURS and you find ALTERNATIVE WAYS to accomplish your goals! Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't any good...everyday, my young daughters say hello to my students (who are identified deaf/hard of hearing). They take the time to stop and wave to them in the hallways at school and even talk with them for a few minutes. I teach my daughters to be patient with others and perhaps explain students' disabilities so they can understand and not have a negative attitude towards others.

Yesterday afternoon at our school we had a "PARTY ROCK" for all the students (grades 2nd-5th) if they had positive behavior in their classroom. So of course, my girls did well and were invited to attend the party--lots of music and dancing. My oldest daughter (8 years old) and her little friends came rushing up to me in the gym and we all started dancing. Then my daughter saw one of my students standing there and told her to come join us in dancing and SHE DID!! That's kindness and that's showing you care about somebody and that's NORMAL!

Everyone is one is PERFECT...we all have a disability, its how you overcome and share the joys with others that makes you PERFECT & NORMAL as who you are!

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

Just got home from the grocery store and started fixing dinner...realizing I had forgotten to get the mail. I LOVE GETTING THE MAIL a kid I always hoped a relative or friend would send me something in the mail instead of my parents getting bills or something relatively important for them to read. So as I walked down my driveway in darkness to the mailbox in the crisp cold area and just happy to look forward to the weekend, there were three letters in the mailbox for ME! Nothing else for anyone in the family. One of the letters was from UNC-CH hospital (where I will have my surgery)...yay, I got the OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION of my pre-op, surgery, post-op dates...WHEW, its DEFINITELY OFFICIAL and VERY EXCITED!! What a great way to start the weekend...its SURREAL!!! In six weeks, I will be changing to a BIONIC WOMAN! Hoorah!!

Annoying Tick

January 4th, 2013

Around 11:30am today, I met with a well-known lady in our state who works closely with teachers to help bring the best in our Deaf/Hard of Hearing students. She is an actual Med-El client with bilateral implants and have been very successful with them. As we were discussing about my upcoming surgery and my many questions I wanted to ask about ranging from the after effects of surgery to how long did she actually start responding to the sounds clearly...she interrupted me and said, "You know I can hear that annoying tick behind me!" I had NO CLUE what she was talking it turned out, there was a preschooler in there working with her before I walked in and she said he was playing with a cooking timer. Once the room went silent, I could barely hear the ticking. It just AMAZED/FLOORED me that she had a progressive hearing loss that led to profound deafness and she could hear with her implants!! How AWESOME and beautiful technology can be!!! I can't wait to start my adventure!