Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hearing: Pyramids, Feedback and Work

Maybe I am weird but I do enjoy visiting my audiologist!

Saw my audiologist, Maxine Young again and had a pleasant chat.  Caught her up on all the goings on with my vacations and therapies.  

My hearing has improved with my vacation and Interactive Metronome. Also, my tinnitus is way down.   She is not surprised about the tinnitus as there is a direct link between the limbic system (the seat of emotions in the brain) and tinnitus.  Since I was very relaxed, the tinnitus is way down.

We talked about my problems hearing on vacation.  I had a stopover in Egypt for 7 hours so I decided to get an airport tour and see the pyramids.  I was very tired from a long overnight flight from Tanzania.  My guide was very good and had a lot of interesting things to say about the pyramids.  Unfortunately, he spoke English with a bit of an accent!  Also, the pyramids were a little crowded with noisy groups of tourists.

Retouched versions of this picture from the ge...
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And, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed in a new environment.  Just going from the airport to the pyramids and seeing the new buildings, the historic mosques, the Nile and the city of Cairo was just a lot for me to process.  It was exciting but a bit draining.

Of course, the pyramids themselves were spectacular.  But the more spectacular something is, the more overwhelming it can be to my poor system.

All this, impacted my hearing and I started to feel like I really wasn't understanding my guide completely. So, I told him that I had a slight hearing problem and would he mind stepping aside from the crowds and continuing his lecture.  He was agreeable and having a quieter environment, really helped me hear better and feel more relaxed.

Maxine understood this problem and congratulated me on making the necessary accommodation for my hearing problems.  I am starting to see that too much audio and visual stimulation can really decrease my ability to hear things.


Image illustrating the different types of hear...
Image via Wikipedia
Maxine looked at my audiogram and noted that I am have problems with decreased hearing in my left ear in the upper frequencies.  The upper frequencies are where a number of consonants are heard.  She thinks I could benefit from using a hearing aid in my left ear only.  So we agreed to order a hearing aid and try it out.  This hearing aid will be nice and light weight and have a bluetooth microphone.

We also talked about using Captain's Log.  My scores on the audiology processing portion are lower than my visual ones and still a bit problematic.  Also, a lot of my lower scores across the board are from  speed.  Captain's Log uses timed exercises and I am just too slow many times.  Some of the slowness does have to do with using the mouse.  I am not too quick on the uptake with the mouse.  I know the answer but I just can't get the mouse to do what I want fast enough.

Maxine thinks this is very interesting as audiological processing depends a lot on temporal processing (timing).  She also noted that I tend to speak a little louder than the normal and believes that this has to do with a feedback loop to the brain.  I don't hear well so I speak louder so that I can hear myself.

I said that this was very interesting as I am having problems with feedback in other modalities.  I am a crusher.  I tend to grab on things too tightly.  It is very problematic when using a musical instrument as my hands can get quite tired. Really, anything involving the hands gets tiring pretty quickly.

I am also a stomper.  I have a heavy tread while walking.

The other problem is that sometimes I just get too engrossed in something and don't pay attention to myself.   Some of this problem is part of a drive that the "Gifted and Talented" suffer from:  a very strong, probably biologic drive to do something to its completion.

Maybe there is something globally wrong with a timing and feedback mechanism in my brain that is impacting all my senses. I am talking louder, crushing and stomping in order to get feedback from my senses.

Interactive Metronome has been a big help with this.  The better my timing has gotten, the better my hearing has been and my motor skills have gotten a bit better.   I think Feldenkrais will help too. Maxine agrees.

We also talked about me going back to work.  I told her that I am coming up with a couple of candidate  jobs and am thinking about taking some temporary work in those fields just to try them out.  My concern is that I don't know how to map my strengths and weaknesses into the world of work.   Maxine  has a recommendation for someone who she thinks is very good at this.  So I will make an appointment  to see him.


As always, I have a good chat with Maxine and get some guidance for more than just my ears.


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