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Jan 21, 2009

It's a Beautiful Noise

On Tuesday, I really was bummed about the fact that we don't have a day off to watch inauguration festivities on TV. I wanted to be able to listen to the speech of the new incoming president, LIVE. I didn't want to have to wait for news recaps, or to wait until later that night, when I could watch what I'd recorded. I guess I'm a little spoiled at times! :)

I decided to see what I can do to give myself a chance to hear it. I drove up the mountain, in my daily commute to the school districts I serve, searching for a radio station that carried the Inauguration. The funny thing I realized, was that I was able to tell within a couple of minutes whether or not they were carrying the inauguration ceremony. When I got my first cochlear implant, back in 1997, it was hard to find one radio station that I could listen to. My brain hadn't learned to understand all the new input coming in. Eventually I did happen onto an NPR (National Public Radio) station that I could understand. Most stations had people speaking too fast, too much background noise, too many people interrupting, and all other sorts of problems to interfere with my "learning to listen". I was happy with the one station.

Eventually over the years, my brain became better at hearing, and I got my 2nd cochlear implant in 2006, which just added to my hearing ability. I had noticed in recent years that I had more than one station I could understand and enjoy. I was branching out. It took some listening work to develop those. I wasn't aware of more than two or three stations I could listen to though.

Even though I had one NPR station I really enjoy, it doesn't broadcast to the areas that I travel. I knew I was going to have to find the Inauguration somewhere else on the radio dial. I hadn't realized my listening progress, until Tuesday, when I flipped from station to station, working to find a station. All of a sudden it clicked what was happening. Wow! I could tell, and I could tell quickly, whether the station was broadcasting the inauguration. After a few minutes, I found a good station, and settled down to listen. It was amazing to me that I was able to do this.

Before time for Obama to be sworn in, I had to park the car and go into the school to work with my first student of the morning. I was begrudging that, as I knew that if I was still a classroom teacher, my class would be watching the inauguration. It was history in the making after all, and important for that reason. This is a day they could tell their children and grandchildren about.

I was delighted however, to find that my student's class was doing just what I would've been doing; watching the inauguration. Immediately, I knew it was important I skip working with the student, so he could watch this. I then asked to joined his class in watching the ceremony. I was so happy when his teacher welcomed me to watch with them. There were some problems though, I'm at the back of the class, the TV isn't very loud, and there's no close captioning. I was happy I could watch it, but figured I'd miss on hearing it as much of it as I wanted to. Still, I was counting my blessings.

It wasn't long before I realized just how much I've progressed in my listening skills. I was able to understand about 95% of the speech. I was really impressed with myself. Life with not just one, but two cochlear implants just continues to get better and better. In high school, I never could have imagined that one day, I would be able to hear. As Neil Diamond's song says, "It's a beautiful noise". My life continues to be a miracle for me to enjoy.


cami said...

That is AWESOME...I love how the human brain makes new connections and we have potential that we never knew existed.

I on the other hand was glad that we did not have the day off of school...we just had a four day weekend, that's enough for me :)

Anonymous said...

Oh I loved that story! You will have to clue me in on stations you have found that are easy to listen to. I am radio impaired. I was smart and stayed home that day knowing my students would be watching history being made.

Ang said...

What a great discovery! Our brains truley are amazing! What a blessing to grow and progress in many ways.

Very neat to recignize this new information.

Ang said...

By the way, I love that it is easy to post on your site. Thanks!!

Ann said...

Hey Ang, I only followed your lead in making it easier to post comments! I realized how nice it was on your site, so decided to try it here! Bet you didn't know you were leading, did you? :)

archiearchive said...


So this is where you are hiding out :)

Blogrolling you so I can stay in touch

Ann said...

Hey Archie! What brought you out of your outback burrow! :) Wonderful to hear from my fellow carameloholic! Got any for me? ;-)This is sooooooooo cool to find you here. I've been checkin in at APFPY lately and wanting to join in, but can't figure out how to do it without newsgroups! It's fun to see Buff, Cybe, John TaG and so many others still going at it. I miss them all! I've not seen you posting, so I'm thrilled to hear your voice pipe up out of the desert/outback. Buff tells me you're know longer teaching, but ??running the town? with your brother? What a life!