I'm glad I have my cochlear implants. I wanted to say that up front. I don't want there to be any sort of implications one way or the other on that. But, at the same time, I hate them. Peoples expectations for what I can do with my cochlear implants less than a year after I got my first one is unrealistic. And the pandemic exacerbates it.
I'm still a deaf guy. I'm always going to be a deaf guy. What that means is that I process language as a deaf person does, even if I have "working ears". So, the process of spoken language input goes something like this:
1. What did I hear?
2. Did I hear what I think I heard?
3. Does it make sense in the context of what I think we were discussing?
4. Are there other possible meanings?
5. Respond to what I think is the most correct.
6. They look confused so there WAS another possible meaning! Quickly, figure it out!!!
7. Respond to second meaning. Confusion on their face clears. But now I'm behind the 8-ball.
8. Back to the top of the decision tree again.
This happens dozens of times a day. Usually, when I'm in the office, I'm tired by lunch time and all I want to do in the afternoon is just do my work. But that's when the rest of the office wants to have meetings.
During the pandemic, I'm tired after the first video conference call. After that, I just want to do my work. But there are impromptu meetings all the time. Some last 10 minutes. Some last 2+ hours. After ones that last 30 minutes, my ears begin to tire. The ones that last an hour, my head begins to hurt. The longer it goes, the harder it is for me to concentrate. Sometimes, I can drop the call, sometimes I can't.
And the expectations are that I keep up with and retain the information that was discussed. Currently, I'm doing well enough to understand the input. That does NOT mean that I retained the meat of what was discussed. I still don't have the ability to listen and write things down at the same time, although I'm getting closer every day. But...I still can't retain audio input as an internal todo list. I think I'm doing well enough just to be able to understand folks without a face at this point! But it is hard work.
I'm sure some of the above is age-related. LOL... But much of it is just having a deaf mind for the majority of my life and suddenly, for less than a year, I can "hear". So, patience is appreciated, my fellow humans. :)
As ever, thank you for listening! 🤟🏾💖🤟🏾