Monday, April 26, 2010

Announcement....and a contest?

First and foremost... is up and ready for viewing! Take a look around. I can assure you that many hours of planning and perfecting went into this website.

The other thing that I wanted to share with you all is that Phonak  is having a contest for FM users under the age of 19.  There aren't many rules or regulations, but there are plenty of prizes, which include camcorders and an iPhone. All you have to do is make a video about how your Phonak FM helps you, upload it to YouTube, and submit the video to Interested? You can find more information at There aren't many videos up on YouTube yet, but you've got until August. The videos that are already are GREAT. I honestly don't know they're going to pick a winner, because I know I love all of them. They are so creative. Here they are, with captions..

This video doesn't (yet?) have captions, so  there is a transcript underneath.

This is Andrea reporting to you about my Phonak Inspiro FM system.
There are 4 things I like about my FM. I like to talk into the microphone. It helps me hear my voice. It makes my teacher’s voice sound clear. When it is loud the volume goes up and down. I can take it to different classrooms like speech, computer, and music, but not gym. It is easy to carry. I listen to the story without using the headphones. I can see how it attatches to my hearing aid, and I can do it myself. If I didn’t have my FM, I couldn’t hear better. I couldn’t hear my teachers. School would be hard. I think my Phonak Inspiro is—wait. My phonak and Me.

Question 1:
Well, I like to speak into my microphone.
Question 2:
Well, it helps my, um, teacher’s voice clearer.
Question 3:
School would be hard.
And then?
Not concentrate because it gets harder, and harder, and harder, and I don’t get it!
My Phonak Inspiro changed my life!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

This post was written about a week ago...
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've probably noticed that whenever I get myself in a sticky situation, my dog is there. I'm sure there are some people out there who, from reading these posts, think I spend too much time with him. Trust me, I have plenty of friends...but whenever something happens, they're not there, but Zach is :)

So last night around 8, I was getting restless from studying and thought I could use some fresh air. I grabbed Zach's leash and he raced towards the door for to go for a short walk up and down the block. It was getting dark outside, but everything was still visible. The street and sidewalks were empty.

Whenever we get to the end of a block, Zach likes to cross the street and walk back on the other side of the street. Problem is, he darts into the street at his own whim and without warning. So, when he did this, I noticed a car coming. It was a good distance away, so I just ran across the street with Zach before it got near.

I didn't think much of it...until the car stopped, directly across the street from me. I couldn't see the inside of the car, but the person just sat with his headlights on.  I figured the person was waiting for a friend or something, even though the car looked unfamiliar. I kept walking, when suddenly the car honked loudly. I jumped, and walked faster, just in case. My dog started dragging the pace, and the car started creeping along behind me. I pulled out my phone and pretended to be having a conversation, since I figured it made me look slightly less vulnerable. Zach kept pausing to go to the bathroom, and I finally figured not getting kidnapped was more important than Zach peeing for the 18th time, and dragged Zach by the leash as we ran towards the house.

I stopped in front of my house, and the car stopped across the street. I raced inside and locked the door. The car remained sitting outside my house for a minute, and then sped away.

Zach barked, staring out the window for a solid hour afterward.

It freaked me out.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Year with Two Ears

Yup, that's right. I've been bilateral for a year, and what a year it's been! Rather than write an entire novel about it, (when you consider I've written over 70 posts in the past year), I thought I could just post some flashbacks. So, here's a post that I posted back in July.

April 3rd, 2009. The big day.

I managed to survive the two and a half weeks between surgery and activation. I was super excited to get my new side turned on, not just because I wanted to hear better, but because I was told it would help with this annoying chirping I was hearing. At that point I was willing to try anything, so that came as a relief!

The day my implant was to be turned on was also the day of a big orchestra competition. The biggest competition our class had ever played in, to be exact, so I was determined not to miss it. That's another reason I was excited to get my left side turned on; the violin sits on the left side of your head so it was sounding quieter than what I was used to. Anyway, I went with my class on the bus to the competition, and as soon as it was over my mom picked me up and we drove off to the audiologist! I ran into the hospital bathroom and changed out of my orchestra clothes, then went and sat in the waiting room, anxiously bouncing in my seat while simultaneously repeating the mantra, "high hopes, low expectations" in my head. Yeah right!

The audiologist came out grinning. "Are you ready?" Like she had to ask!

I walked into her office, me and my lonesome self. My parents never come into the room for my mapping sessions, and this time was no exception. I sat down on the chair and we quickly hooked up the processor to the computer and the mapping process began. Only this time it was much more difficult than usual because I was distracted by the noise INSIDE OF MY HEAD. Once we finally went through all of the "fat" electrodes (the only ones you map) the time came. She turned it on. I knew it wasn't going to be an earth-shattering moment, since it wasn't like I'd never heard sound before. At both of my activations we left the cameras at home. It just puts too much pressure for it to be dramatic! I'm not an extremely emotional person, so there really wasn't much to see.

"Can you tell it's on?" asked the audiologist

"Nooo?" I said nervously.

That was the moment of my activation, intimately shared by me, my audiologist, and the observing student. Touching, right?

She turned it up.

"How about now?" she started talking about the weather. "What does it sound like?"

I could tell I was hearing something, but it was more "feeling it" than hearing. That's normal, my audiologist told me.

"Whenever you feel ready, take off your old side and listen to it with just the new side. Take as long as you need." she continued to talk.

I took a deep breath, and flicked off my right coil.

Wind chimes. It sounded like wind chimes.

 To read other past posts about my bilateral journey, click here and here.