March 31st, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

Ah, my neglected LiveJournal. I keep opening this page to type something, and then closing it having decided that I've nothing interesting to say. That may well be the case today, but I think I'm going to let my fingers keep rat-tat-tat-ing away no matter what they put out. All of my writing doesn't have to be grad school papers, after all.
Speaking of that, I've all but completed my first draft of the literature review that is to start my master's project. I got the critiques back last week: there were quite a few comments but overall the paper wasn't as bad as I'd feared it might be. More than anything, she wanted me to clarify what I was trying to say and to do a better job transiding from one major category to another. I've never really been good at that, transitions that is.
And along those lines, my adjustment to these new hearing aids continues. I've had two major chances to test how well they're working for me. One was more successful than the other.
First, on Tuesday I participated in what was to be a discussion with two people at the university. One is a health educator in Counseling and Wellness Services, and the other writes for some sort of theatrical group that attempts to inform the campus on issues regarding diversity. Only the "discussion" ended up being a talk between me and them as none of the other people who had expressed interest showed up. I answered their questions about race, my feelings of privelege, and what I thought might be improved campuswide not only for racial minorities, but also for persons with disabilities. I think I had a harder time articulating my thoughts than I would have liked, though. Hopefully something I said will prove helpful.
And as far as the aids go, I do think they helped me more clearly hear what was being said. I had a couple of difficulties with some phrases, because the acoustics in that room make sound not travel very well. I did like that I could adjust the volume without any distortion, which had been a problem with both of the previous sets of aids I've had before.
Today, I went to a party in celebration of one of my classmate's birthday. I knew this would be interesting, as it was the first real time that I'd be eating in a restaurant with them. They'd chosen to go to McAlister's Deli on Franklin Street. If you've not heard of that place, you should go and try it. Good stuff! After another classmate picked me up from campus and drove me over there, I ordered a meatloaf on croissant bread, and a nice-sized bowl of potato salad. I also had a huge cup of sprite and a delicious slice of chocolate cake, apparently made by the birthday person herself. I thought that was kind of amusing, but ah well.
My hearing in that place was still just so-so, sadly. I think this was due in large part to the fact that most of the people to whom I was talking were on my right side, which is and has always been my bad side. They know me though, so they didn't make a big deal of this. Also, the person with whom I'd come sat in front of me and would help me out by summarizing the main points of whatever conversation was going on at a time. I had to contend with some fairly loud rock music too.
I was greatful for this opportunity because I wanted to know just what it would be like in such an environment with these new aids. At least I was somewhat functional. With the previous aids, I don't think I would've really heard anything at all. Plus, now I'll hopefully know a little more of what to tell the audiologist as she attempts to tweek them a bit the next time I see her. And speaking of her, I just want to say that I truly do respect all that she's done in helping me to get to this point, and that I appreciate the efforts of the rest of her team as well. Hopefully I can make these gains hold out, and perhaps even improve on them. More whenever I have something remotely interesting to write about.