The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Monday, July 6, 2009]

The Countdown Is on... and Updates

This is going to be one of my "mostly for me" journaling posts. It will be long and boring, but it's stuff I don't want to forget.

At this time next week, Laynie will be home with a second implant in her head. Crazy! The surgery is scheduled for Monday, July 13, and we have to be at Johns Hopkins at 5:30 am. Well, at least she will be out of there early... probably by noon. She won't get the new processor until the end of August, though. BOO! Steve the Audiologist has a busy schedule.

So, with more than four months of implant listening under her belt, how is Laynie doing? She reports that her implant "is like her hearing aid," which is hilarious, because she definitely did not say that four months ago. Before, she described sound through the implant as pulses which were in her chest and head, NOT like sound at all. It was about a month ago that she first said that it sounds like her hearing aid. I wonder how long it will take for the second implant to get to that point. Less time, I assume. Also, I wonder if she will go through that nasty "I can't believe how loud the world it" phase. It lasted a good month with this implant. It was nice when we were able to go into restaurants and malls again.

At church yesterday, Laynie commented that the two young men's voices sounded differently speaking through the microphone to bless the sacrament. She was right.

Laynie responds to sound consistently in a quiet environment. Her own name is quite difficult for her to understand, though. She does well with fricatives (s, z, th, f, v, sh) and stops (p, b, t, d, k, g). She does not do so well with nasals (m, n, ng), liquids (l, r), glides (w, y), and vowels.

Laynie has understood spoken language outside of therapy a handful of times. This is amazing, because she certainly never understood anything with her hearing aid. Always, always comprehension is in context at this point, and with highly familiar phrases. Let me be clear that this is NOT a common occurrence at this point.

When we do listening therapy (unfortunately this has only happened twice in the past three weeks due to Laynie's insane school schedule), Laynie is able to discriminate many minimal pair words. For a while, she had great auditory memory for /s/, meaning that she could tell /s/ words from other words without having the words modeled for her, but she lost that with her mapping almost a month ago. She is still able to discriminate the /s/ from everything else, but it sounds differently now. It doesn't "pop" like it did before, because her low frequencies have been boosted, so the highs don't stand out quite so much. That's OK, though, because she needs the lows for vowels, nasals, liquids, and glides (coincidentally, all of her weaknesses).

We have recently been working on the /t/ and /n/ sounds. Not discriminating them from each other, which would be easy for her, but discriminating open and closed syllables with and without these sounds. For example, tape vs. ape, see vs. seat, neat vs. eat, and me vs. mean. She gets the /t/ words (especially final--she's more accurate with final sounds across the board) very easily. When we used the similar sounds /p/ and /k/ yesterday, she got those as well. 100% in a field of 8 pairs (i.e. 16 words) with and without /p, t, k/ at the end. Yay, generalization! The /n/ words are hard, but she got more than 75% after some practice. The interesting thing is that after working on the /n/ words, she began using /n/ more often in her speech! She used to call me "Allie" and say "low" for "no." We both want to do more therapy, to see what she can do with this new map. However, she has to go back to her friend Steve the Audiologist on Thursday and get it adjusted again, because she "acquired" (her description) more sounds since it was turned down a couple of weeks ago, and she has had some more discomfort with it.

Laynie is mostly ambivalent about music right now. There are a few things she likes and several that she definitely does not like.

Laynie can hear some pretty quiet stuff. I don't understand why she doesn't perform so well in the booth. Well, maybe I do understand: it's probably because those silly sounds are not salient. The important thing is how she hears in real life, anyway. The birds outside were bugging her yesterday. I emphasized that most people find birds annoying. It is actually an annoying sound, not just for her. With the sound on the computer at the very bottom of my comfortable listening range, Laynie just told me (from across this long room) that it's bothering her. She listens to the TV at the same volume I do.

So that's where she is now.


Laynie | July 6, 2009 at 7:25 PM

That cool picture! :D Let me explain why the sound on the computer is annoying. It was very quiet and it was not loud or nothing. I guess I cannot describe why it's annoying. Sorry if it made you curious.

Annie | July 6, 2009 at 7:29 PM

It's not that it made me curious. It's just cool that you could hear it, because it was pretty quiet.

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