New HEAR Growth Goals

What are your New HEAR Growth Goals?  Whether you have normal hearing or have hearing challenges, we can all experience growth in our listening skills. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.  We should be spending twice as much time listening than talking.  Why?  When we listen we learn and grow as a person.  When we listen, others feel respected and cared about.  I challenge each of you to evaluate your current listening skills and see where you need to improve.  If you have trouble hearing, I challenge you to get a hearing test by an audiologist.  If you have a managed hearing loss (CI or hearing aids), I challenge you to evaluate a communication challenge and find a new solution.  If you have normal hearing, I challenge you to practice listening with intention and talk less. 

On January 2, 2020, I had my 3rd cochlear implant mapping.  One-month post activation and I was both excited and nervous for this appointment.  This was also the first appointment that I attended by myself.  The appointment consisted of unaided testing to see if my residual hearing had remained stable, CI threshold testing, CI mapping, and CI speech discrimination with both of the CI processors. As a whole, the appointment went well. My residual hearing has remained unchanged!  With creative mapping (and turning off a couple of electrodes), I was able to perceive CI thresholds in the 20-30 dBHL range across the frequency range.  My speech discrimination thresholds improved with the T-Mic processor and stayed the same with the acoustic earhook processor when compared to Dec 17.  I am scheduled to see Dr. LaPrete again in February for additional mapping/programming of the CI.  I know this is a process and my brain that has never heard high frequency information is working hard and continuously building new neural networks.  I have already notices some new hearing discoveries. One was when I burned the bacon and the fire alarm went off. Wow! Is that loud! The other little hearing discovery is when I put lotion on my hands I could hear my hands rub together. I also am starting to favor my left ear more than my right ear. I noticed that I wanted Troy (my husband) to sit on my left side when we went out to dinner so I could hear him better. This was a first too!

Which brings me back to the question of what is your New HEAR Growth Goal?  One aspect of my New HEAR Growth goal is to maximize my hearing and understanding with my new CI.  One way that I have been doing this is using my Bluetooth Naida CI connect device to stream directly from my phone to my CI.  This essentially isolates the incoming signal so I am forced to listen only with my cochlear implant.  When I first started listening to an audiobook it sounded all garbled and electronic. I thought to myself there is absolutely no way that anyone could ever make sense of what was entering into my CI. As I pushed myself to continue listening, each experience began to get clearer and come into focus. It takes intense concentration and energy, but I am continuously amazed at how the brain will make sense of this electronic signal.  The most recently audiobook that I borrowed was by John Maxwell called The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. How timely since I stated in my last blog, I am determined to have a Growth Mindset as I begin a new HEAR yEAR in 2020. 

In this book, John Maxwell talks about how we should be growth conscious.  If we are not challenging and changing our self, we are not growing.  This challenged me to think about my CI journey as a growth journey. Having a growth conscious mindset allows me to reframe this incredible CI experience as a journey that will continue to challenge, change, and grow over my lifetime.  John Maxwell also has numerous motivational quotes that can be found online.  One quote is the 7 Steps to Success and it was just what I needed to begin my New HEAR Growth Plan for 2020 and Beyond!  I challenge each of you to write down each step and personalize for your own personal growth plan. 

Step 1:  Make a Commitment to Grow Daily.  I commit to grow daily by dedicating blocks of time to focused listening both online and through auditory therapy to grow my listening and communication skills with my CI. 

Step 2:  Value the process more than the events:  I commit to constantly reframe my CI journey to appreciate and recognize the miracles of hearing with a CI. I am amazed at all of the sounds that I have never heard in my life that individuals with normal hearing take for granted.  I commit to view this CI journey as a process and appreciate each new hearing adventure. 

Step 3:  Don’t wait for inspiration:  Sometimes we just need to take action or you might be waiting a lifetime for something to inspire you to move forward.  I commit to journaling my CI experience through my ups and downs, even when I feel uninspired.

Step 4:  Be willing to sacrifice pleasure for opportunity:  What do you really want in your life?  If it is worth achieving, it will take time and perseverance.  I commit to make time to practice and benchmark my auditory experience. 

Step 5:   Dream Big:  What is your Big?  When I decided on this CI journey, I also wanted to be real and vulnerable about the process.  My big is to maximize opportunities to hear with my CI and share experiences so others can be encouraged. 

Step 6:   Plan Your Priorities:  Have you written down your own priorities to achieve your Big?  The act of writing down BIG dreams and goals makes my New HEAR growth plan realistic and actionable.   

Step 7:  Give up to go up:  What do you need to give up in your life to achieve your BIG?  Reflecting back on starting this CI journey, I realized that I gave up my comfort zone of not so good hearing with my hearing aid in order to go up with a CI.  I am motivated and inspired to GO UP with my CI and see where this upcoming New HEAR 2020 challenge takes me. 

What are your 2020 Growth Goals?  Each of us has a special and unique purpose and by being intentional, we make a positive impact in the world.  I challenge you to write down yours and share with your circle of support! Remember we have two ears so plan to listen more in 2020!

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