Saturday, January 30, 2010

High School Fun

I haven't written anything about school in quite a while, and it's been somewhat intentional*. Ever since the start of the school year, I've been struggling to hear in a couple of my discussion-based classes. The discussion is fast, and it's nearly impossible to run a single FM across the room when one of my classes is a double classroom with over 40 kids. Of course, this was only compounded by the lack of closed captioning and the struggles that every other freshman has- adjusting to the workload, reading, lack of free time, etc.

There were/are only two main classes that I was struggling in. They're college level classes, so I guess that's part of the reason so much of it is discussion rather than lecturing. I occasionally have trouble hearing/missing things in other classes, but I can deal with that. It's when I spend hours studying out of the textbook, trying to compensate the discussion I missed, only to score significantly worse than others who don't study at all, I get frustrated. It's not that they're smarter than I am, it's just that I'm sick of sitting in class feeling like I'm missing everything that's going on. Anyway, after much more than my fair share of meetings and tears, I asked if I could try out CART or C-Print and see if it would help me.

I'd already gotten the opportunity to try them out at various conventions and events for people with hearing loss. From these conventions, I also know various adults who are just past college age with CI's. I contacted a couple of them to ask if they'd struggled in high school, and they said they'd also experienced the same issues I had. They were able to get CART (often, after a long and hard fight with the school system) and it helped them dramatically.

The people from Deaf/Special Ed said that they'd have to evaluate me and determine that I have an educational need in order to access this technology. They sent a lady from Deaf Ed to answer any questions we had about the CART evaluation ahead of time. If it wasn't so frustrating, it would have been somewhat comical that this lady had absolutely no clue how the evaluation worked, and answered every question with, "You know, I'm really not sure..."  The only thing we could get out of her was that they would come by and evaluate me, both with and without CART, to find out if it was giving me better access. Okay, then... They were allowed 45 days to complete the evaluation. After 41 days, and not a single person coming to evaluate me, my mom sent an email inquiring when we would find out the results of the report. "We'll have it ready in just a few days," they said. Seeing as they had yet to step foot in a single classroom of mine, I could definitely see where the whole thing was heading...

I've decided to break up the school thing into more manageable segments, since it's an unbelievably long, drawn out story. I'm sure you could figure this out from the fact that we asked for CART in September, and it's now almost February.

*I didn't want to just complain when I actually had no answers to share. There's also the fear of anyone being able to read this blog, but at this point, I really don't care.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm not crazy..

yet :)

Ever since I've gone bilateral, I've noticed I've had residual hearing in both ears. However, it wasn't at all what I was expecting. I felt like I could hear surprisingly soft (for my level of hearing loss, not actually soft) low pitched sounds in my right ear, and can actually sometimes tell if my dog is barking.

With my left (2nd ear) I've felt like I can hear higher pitched sounds, and some noises that I'd never been able to hear before I was implanted. One day after I got out of the shower, I was watching TV with my sister, sans implants. Every now and then, I would hear a faint 'click' in my left ear. I asked my sister if she knew what the noise was, and she shrugged. I tapped her the next time I heard it, and she had a look of awe on her face. She instructed me to look away, and turn back around every time I heard the noise. I did as she asked.

What was this noise?

The smacking of her gum. This was a total WTP (my version of WTF, except in my group of friends, we replace all cuss words with the word 'poo') moment. Gum smacking- how weird is that?!

The weirder thing is, CIs supposedly preserve low frequency hearing (if any). I wasn't sure if I was completely imagining things.

A few days ago, after much kissing up and begging, my wonderful dad bought me my very own iPod Touch. I was scrolling through and looking at different free Apps, and saw one called uHear. It uses 3 different tests to assess your hearing, for free, all on your handy dandy iPod. One of the tests measures hearing sensitivity.

I thought it would be cool to try out, since I was curious about my residual hearing, since I've never had it tested. I know it's not completely accurate, however the reviews were pretty good, so what harm could it do to try it out?

This was my result:

I'm not crazy :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Use it or Lose it

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I used to be an amazing lipreader.

When I was in elementary school, kids would take turns silently mouthing things to me, and I almost always got it right. My best friend and I were able to have silent conversations across the room. Of course, they were one way conversations, since she could never understand what I said back.

With my hearing aids off, I could communicate with my family pretty well when I could see their mouth.

Ever since I've gone bilateral, my lip/speechreading skills have become absolutely pitiful.

If my sister wants to tell me something while my implants are off, it usually involves exaggeration of lip movements, some fingerspelling, and grand gestures. It becomes a frustrating game of charades.

I still benefit from seeing someone's mouth when they're talking, but without audio cues, it becomes really hard. It also becomes painfully obvious when I need a mapping, since I can't exactly get much out of lip reading.

Guess it goes to show how much less I rely on it.. It's pretty interesting. Anyone else have the same experience?

On a completely unrelated note...

I now have my learner's permit! :)
I took driver's ed over the summer, but I couldn't take my permit test until I turned fifteen. When I finally did, life got in the way, and I just didn't get around to it (until now).

On the last day of winter break, my driver's ed place finally opened (they had been closed for two weeks). My mom dragged me down there, with me complaining the entire ride that I was going to fail the stupid test. Half the people who take it fail on the first try, and I'd barely gotten to study. It didn't help that I hadn't learned a SINGLE thing in Driver's Ed.

After grading my test, the lady told me I scored the highest on the rules portion she's ever seen anyone make since she's worked there. Heh. So much for failing...