Did You Say HOMEWORK? – By ‘Daddy, Watch Me!’

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It sure feels like I am growing younger these days. Sure, we all know that I am on a journey of learning how to hear again- and that should be enough of turning back the clock, but of course it IS NOT… now it comes the….HOMEWORK.  I kid you not, I have now been assigned ‘activities’ to do in my own time, as if that ‘own time’ even really exists with two youngins to entertain and care for. I most certainly do not want to do this ‘homework’ in my precious personal time–please pay me. I’d rather wash the dishes, I don’t like being told what to do in my free time, that makes it NOT free time, right? Besides, I honestly thought ‘homework’ had been eliminated from my life once I receive this fancy sheet of paper called a college diploma! Sigh.

On top of that, I have not updated you all lately, please forgive me. I have a legit excuse, so don’t start hammering me just yet. I came down with pneumonia AND bronchitis. Hey, I don’t always get sick, but when I do, let’s make my body pay for it, right?! Of course that is not my outlook on illnesses, but let’s just say it was not a fun few weeks, and my body did pay– I returned to work a full 10 pounds lighter, which is 10 pounds of strength I need to regain! Speaking of feeling younger, I even received a doctors note during all of this, I can’t tell you when I last received one. “Please excuse Eric for the rest of the work week- Doctor” It truly felt like I was back in middle school here, of course my bosses were not interested in seeing the note anyway.

So, what happened all this time?, its been approximately 3 weeks since I last posted? Well, life did go on. I had two remapping/adjustment appointments done on my Cochlear Implant during this time. To make this short, because it would be too much to update you all on every detail of both appointments….. the first adjustment went terrible. Many high pitch sounds were activated and speech returned to a blurry overwhelming state and my brain and ear just never adjusted in 2 weeks of living with that program. I was down in the dumps with this program–unsure that I will every be able to adjust, because my body just was not having any of it. Literally a couple hours after this appointment, my body began to fail me (this is when I got sick). I can’t tell you that the new ‘horrible’ adjustments set my body into a downward spiral, but it did cross my mind (and it pissed off my Audiologist that I thought this was a possible reason). I felt like the new program was adding/piling on stress to my body –so I ultimately went 4 days without wearing the Cochlear Implant at all, to try to restore my body, and for it to not be overwhelmed between fighting off the sickness combined with trying to figure out what was going on with the new sounds activated.

Anyway, as it turns out, the part of my ear that was activated was not working–or at least not very well. I know that sounds bad, because the surgery was suppose to help, right? But, this is actually okay, and it’s a good thing that we came to this conclusion– and figured out what part of my ear is struggling so that we could turn that part of the electrode off and not bother it again. But, we’d have never known if we had not tried it –or that particular program.

Basically what happens now is that other electrodes that do in fact work will have the work of the ‘bad electrode’ distributed among themselves. I’m not quite sure exactly how that will work, but Dr. Snowden did a great job explaining it to me at the appointment. I guess we will just have to wait see. So…. we decided to go back to the previous program that I had success with (duh), the one where I recognized some speech. We made a few minor adjustments to that program and I was placed in the testing booth for a word recognition test. Of 50 words, I got 8 correct! Which doesn’t seem like much, but it is an improvement from 2. Although I am continuing to struggle hearing/recognizing certain sounds in speech, such as SSS, SH, CH, P, L, J etc. It’s simply just going to take time…. which is why I now have HOMEWORK! And I am very glad we went back to this old program because we feel like it’s a starting point to build on, but a lot of learning from here. Yup, LEARN, cue the HOMEWORK.

What is this homework? Well, there are 3 programs: Communication Skills, Music, and Telephone. All are important programs to master…eventually. All I am concerned about is the communication skills, as I have mention various times before, all I really care about is speech clarity at this point in time. So, here what the program says about communication…as if I needed a reminder about how important and lacking it is currently in my life.

” It’s been said that success is a combination of what you know and who you know. But unless you can communicate what you know to who you know, success is out of reach. Good communication is not a basic skill, it is a life skill because it touches every area of your life – essential for personal and professional success. And for people with hearing loss, mastering that skill can sometimes be difficult. At Cochlear, we are passionate about empowering you to grow in your communication skills and overcome obstacles to achieve your very best.”

There are many activities to choose from (a billion lessons within each) such as syllable counting, fill in the blank, and context to name a few.  Here is one of the first lessons below:

sylable counting

So…that’s EASY right? Sadly, it’s not. It appears I am back in elementary school, but with no cootie infected girls to chase after me around the playground- Maybe I can get my wife to chase me just for fun (I just might let her catch me!). I was not aware that I would have to put this much work into learning. I honestly thought that my brain would pick it up with time. So that is where I am at the moment. Back in school……..


Sound Updates: THE GOOD: I can hear my children laugh very clearly when I am within 3 ft. of them. It is no doubt amazing. I also heard the turn signal in my car (guess that means no more driving with the signal left on! I know how annoying that is!). I visited my grandmother Sunday, and I heard her cuckoo clock in the sun room tick-tock tick-tock when I listened closely. I also hear the bird pop out at the top of the hour, that was pretty neat!

The BAD: Speech, if I can only guess 8 out 50 words correctly, can you imagine how I full conversation would go? NOT GOOD. Television is terrible, I like to think of it as a bunch of mice talking. Music has not changed much either. Anything combined with background noise is still impossible to make sense of.


-Eric W. Allbritton



4 Responses to Did You Say HOMEWORK? – By ‘Daddy, Watch Me!’

  1. Bruce Buckley says:

    Eric, thank you for telling us these details. Your account is both interesting and fairly easy to follow, even though I had no idea what you were going to go through. You have a great attitude, but I know it is a struggle. It’s good to know there is a great potential for improved hearing as time goes on!

  2. Catty creel says:

    Been thinking about you Eric. We are holding you up in our prayers. I know you are struggling with everything right now but it wi get better. Keep your great attitude. We love you

  3. Donna Raye Drummond says:

    Thanks for keeping us updated. I agree with previous comments !

  4. Valerie says:

    I am so happy to be a part of #100HappyDays with you. I enjoyed reading your post and getting to know your story. I pray that you would be able to get through your program and that your hearing continues to improve. Praying for you!

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