Where is your favorite place to get away? Mine is hands down the beach. Last week we traveled to Ocean Isle beach with our vacationing neighbors. We treasured a week of quarantine at a beach house where we picked up groceries, cooked great meals, and stayed put. We did not have to leave our house. With the house footsteps from the beach we ventured from a dip in the pool to catching the waves in the ocean.
As the packing begins, I start to look forward to the ocean waves, salty smells, seashells, and sandy toes. This year I was looking forward to listening to all the sounds of the beach through my cochlear implant. I have always loved to hear the crashing of the waves, but I knew that there would be so much to hear.
Each day I decided that I would carve out auditory listening time to take in all of the sounds of the beach while sitting in my Tommy Bahama beach chair with my beach umbrella. As I would focus on being still and listening, I quickly realized that there were a lot of new sounds to take in and I had to focus to identify all that I was hearing.
It quickly became a challenge to figure out the new sounds that were surrounding me. I knew that I needed to continuously change between listening only with my hearing aid and then listening only with my cochlear implant to help identify all of the new sounds. First I would look and listen so that I could visualize what I wanted to focus in on. Closing my eyes, I would start out with just listening with my hearing aid (my lifelong listening ear). With my hearing aid, I heard the loud crashing of each waves in followed by a peaceful quietness before the next wave would break and crash. Then I turned off my hearing aid and closed my eyes and listened only through my cochlear implant. It was at this moment that I realized that the “peaceful quietness” really was not so quiet at all.
Closing my eyes and listening in my Tommy Bahama chair by the ocean with my cochlear implant I realized that there was a whole “sound” library that I was not aware of. I was able to hear the crash of waves followed by the trickling of the residual whitecaps making its way to the shore. I also was able to hear salty wind coming across the microphone of my cochlear implant. I was able to hear the squawk of the sand pipers as they searched for clams. I was able to hear the grit of the sand when digging with a sand shovel. Depending on the weather and the time of the day, the sounds of the beach changed. The ocean’s roar really is music to the soul.
As I listen to the sounds of the ocean’s roar while walking the beach looking for shells, I find the treasure of broken and beautiful moon snail shells that immediately remind me of the gift I have been given with my cochlear implant journey. The ocean’s roar really is music to the soul.