Saturday, January 29, 2011


So, I'm taking a class that basically is an introduction to health care careers. The unit we're currently doing is vital signs, learning how to take blood pressure, pulse, etc. In order to take blood pressure, we have to use stethoscopes.

Many months ago the special electronic stethoscope was purchased, and I even got another programming on my implant specifically for use with the stethoscope. Long story short, now that it's come time to use it I am not able to hear any noise that at all resembles a heart beating.

And you know what?
I'm sick of it.

I'm so unbelievably tired of having to try and find alternative ways to do things when for everyone else it's a thoughtless given they can take for granted. I've watched resentfully as all the other kids in my class went around taking each other's blood pressures, and I sat there with nothing to do. And I know in order to get anywhere in life, you have to roll with the punches while advocating for yourself. Most of the time, I get along just fine as far as hearing goes.I can hear better than ever, and I certainly perform well with my implants. I'll tell anyone and everyone that will listen about the amazing miracles of cochlear implants. I'm comfortable in my own skin, and not the least bit ashamed.

And yet..

I'm tired.

I know, it could be much worse. I've heard all the corny cliches. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Don't take anything for granted. Life's not fair.

Call me selfish, ungrateful, spoiled, or whatever else you want. But, right now, if I was given the opportunity to wave a magic wand and hear perfectly?

I'd do it in a heartbeat.


  1. I used to do everything I could to fit in the hearing world and I have decided to quit trying to be something I am not. I am not hearing so I don't try to pretend to be. BUT I know I am capable as they are as long as I have the right accomodation. It was either I could be depress about my hearing loss and wishing I could hear for the rest of my life (and I have a long life ahead of me) or accept who I am. I don't worry about what hearing people can do or what privileges they have . There is an organization deaf people in medical field and I am sure they can guide you to the right stethoscope.

  2. Well, that's why we blog. You've got a community of people who either get what you're going through, or accept it without judgement because we're kinda there, too, even if we don't have the same experiences. Of course CIs are amazing and life-changing -- no question. But.... Well, if I go any further, I'll just degenerate into unhelpful cliches, so I hope the stethoscope thing works out one way or another.

  3. My son has a CI and a HA. He is only 2 but his dad is Doctor and I know there are a couple of docs at his hospital that have CI's and/or HA's and use stethoscopes. I would try contacting the AMA or keep working with the audi to get the right program.

  4. Lesssley!! I thought I'd take a look at your blog since its been a while! I hope you don't feel too down anymore. I know how frustrating it can get, and especially as a teenager, you have a million other things to be dealing with. But only let yourself delve on this for 20 mins, a day at max, then find out what you can do next to improve your listening to the heart beat. If you can find a cardiologist who can practice with you and suggest what you should be listening to, maybe you can sacrifice another program or two on the CI and try out different programs for the stethoscope and see how things sound with the CI? And, if this makes you feel any better, at least you are TRYING this out!!! I have never even come near the stethoscope because..well I can't hear with it!! I am very impressed with you even ordering the stethoscope and practicing -- you're getting an early start!

  5. Hello,

    When I first started taking BP's, I came across a very old reference (ca 1906 reference in DeGowan & DeGowan physical diagnosis handbook) that described a way to get an accurate diastolic BP by palpation (feel). I assume you know how to get the systolic BP by feel (that's when you can first start to feel a pulse as the cuff deflates). As the cuff deflates further, the pulse will feel "rough". The old reference called it a "whip". What you're feeling is the turbulence as the artery wall slaps shut because of the pressure of the cuff. At one point, the roughness will abruptly smooth out. That's the diastolic BP.

    You may have to practice with a couple of partners to learn to feel the change, as I did. Then, because the "party line" is that you can't get diastolic BP by feel, I had to demonstrate that I got the same numders as anyone else. After that, my BP's went into the patient record just like anyone else's.

    BTW, I've noticed most people do not pay attention to what they feel, or see, or smell, or taste, or even hear. The really old-time doctors paid attention to all these and could often tell what was wrong with someone before they ever talked, just by paying attention. The things Sherlock Holmes did are not impossible for regular people if we learn to pay attention to details. (sorry about the sopabox!)

    HTH. If you have any other questions, just ask.


  6. Oh, another thought. Both the BP sounds and heart tones are very low pitch, in the range that some noise filters might kill. Can you hear S1 and S2 heart tones? If not, you might need a tweak to one of your MAP's or possibly a freq-shifting stethoscope, if one exists.


  7. Hi Lesley,

    I'm Pedro Martinez. Father of a 3 year old girl whith an IC. I have a good friend who is a doctor and has 2 IC. She also has an special electronic stethoscope and she uses it daily without major problems.
    Id i remember correctly she has 2 nucleus freedom. If you want to contact her just drop me a line at
    I dont know if she speaks english fluently but I would gladly translate whatever you need.
    Best regards and thank you very much for sharing all your experiences. It is invaluable information for us!

  8. First of all, I would like to thank you all for your outpouring of support, comments, private messages, and emails. Sometimes I'm not sure if anyone reads this darn thing, but you guys are absolutely amazing when I need you most! My audiologist took another look at my MAPs and thinks it might be due to the rate being at 1800, since she already created a program that makes it so I can hear the lowest frequency sound possible with cochlear implants. I left this out of the post, but another girl also had the same problem using it with her CI. Only difference is she was eventually able to get it to work. Her maps are at 900, so my audiologist thinks the faster rate might be giving me too much high frequency input.

    Anon #1- That's a great outlook, and one that I try to follow (most of the time!) Sometimes the stress of everything all comes crashing down at once, but I am clearly not alone!

    Julia #1- I can always rely on your kind words! Thank you for your constant support and advice!

    Anon #2- Clearly, I am not the only one trying to use a stethoscope with my CI's, so I guess there is hope! Also, for those of you in the same situation who may be lurking: check out, which has a ton of info about stethoscopes and other support for deaf/hard-of-hearing medical professionals. Oh, and you might want to start trying out some stethoscopes soon, just to save yourself the frantic hassle later :)


    Julia #2- I feel much better now :) (and will also be sending you an email ASAP!)I think I will have to try some other programs, and I like the idea of finding out what I'm actually supposed to be listening for, which seems to be part of the problem.

    David- This is amazing information! I will most definitely try this out, since as of now taking BP is the only use we have for the stethoscope. This also sounds drastically easier than messing with a stethoscope, but I will probably need it eventually for other uses... Thank you so much for this info!! If I try it out and have any questions, I will post them on here.

    Pedro- Thank you for your comment! I may be emailing you in the near future if another visit to my audiologist doesn't solve the problem. I'm glad to hear others are successfully using the electronic stethoscope (and professionally, as a doctor no less!) Thank you again!

  9. Hi Lesley,

    I've just recieved an email of a live course talking about Amplified Stethoscope Options
    for Professionals with Hearing Loss.
    You can find it here:

    Hope this helps!

    Best regards,


  10. Thank you so much! I have shared this with my mom who will listen when it airs :) (I will be at school)


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