This morning I went to the audiologist and got “activated” for the first time. Simply put, it was surreal. I’ve personally never done acid before but I feel like I’m on some variation of an auditory acid trip. The best way I can describe the feeling is….it’s exactly that -a feeling! I don’t feel like I’m actually hearing sounds but rather, I’m feeling them in my head. Like seismic waves reverberating through my skull.
Because I was born hard-of-hearing -more specifically, with a high-frequency loss, my brain has never developed a comprehension for those sounds. The nerves are there but they were never used. A classic piano has 88 keys. Thus far, I’ve had access to a little over half, and all of them on the left side. The keys on the right side are there but the strings are not attached. In theory, the cochlear implant will “attach the strings to these keys” but I need to learn to hear and recognize these notes. This is the mapping process.
A major part of this process will include introducing these new sounds to my brain, little by little. The audiologist programmed the processor to increment a little more every three days. This will go on for a few months as I become more comfortable with new sounds. It’s almost like when you buy a new car, you suddenly start noticing that car everywhere. After a while, the newness wears off and you don’t notice as much anymore. That’s what will happen as my brain absorbs understanding of these amazing new vibrations.
For the moment, my brain and nerves are engaged in a fast and furious Broadway show of high-frequency sounds and the starring role appears to be my childhood’s beloved yellow bird, Tweety. Tweety came over and set up his dressing room inside my head. Every time I hear a sound, he screams for me to take notice. It’s wild! In addition, when Tweety screams, he does a quick little dance that makes my eyes vibrate.
I walked to work after leaving the audiologist’s office and I tried to take in as much as I could without working too hard at it. Just as I started to relax, I walked past a man who had just thrown his head back in laughter…my eyes nearly tap-danced right out of my head.
I flushed the toilet a few moments ago and was fascinated by how many sounds it makes! That water was positively tinkling in my ear!
Tweety and I are just waiting for Sylvester to join in the fun….!