Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ASL class ending next week--boo

I have really enjoyed learning ASL every week for the last 8 months. It has been truly helpful, and now I can see how far I've come, and see just how far I must go. My teacher was wonderfully patient for our class, and really helpful. I think we started with about 20 people, and now we end with 9. Sad, but I believe the remaining 9 will all take the 2nd level class in September. I know I can't wait.

I definitely enjoy watching vlogs more now, because I can understand a lot more than 8 months ago when I was just studying on my own from books. Thanks to all those who have been encouraging to me!

My world got a little quieter

So time flies, and my current hearing aids are 4 years old when it seems like I got them yesterday. The aid from my better ear quit working well, so I sent it in yesterday. I will enroll for a 2009 flexible spending account to get a new set of ears next year.

It's pretty amazing how far things have come since I got my first set in 1999. I had the Widex Senso+ CIC from 1999-2004. They had no controls, and were meant to be automatic in every way. This was only annoying when I needed more power in very quiet places where people talk very low, and in very loud places where they basically turned themselves into earplugs and I couldn't hear people talking at all.

Then I got the Phonak Claro 21 dAZ ITE that I wear now. My watch controls the program and the volume. These are a huge improvement over the old ones, since I can now compensate for my environment. I miss wearing designer watches, though, because I have always loved cool watches. They also have a telecoil program (which I sometimes use as a mute program) and a program for loud places that only amplify sounds coming from in front of me. I dont find this program useful at all.

Maybe my next set will be the Oticon EPOQ or the Rexton Revo+. Binaural bluetooth for phones and music and maybe movies would be really nice. I will definitely go BTE this time to get better features. In 1999 I actually wanted them to be invisible, now I just dont care about stereotypes. "Yes, I am deaf, now please get over it and quit staring at my ears" :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

ASL Journey - Equal Footing

My ASL class has been going almost 7 months now and I feel really encouraged. The class is much smaller now than when it began, but I think we are all doing pretty well. Something occurred to me while I was watching tonight, though. It is now nearly as easy for me to understand ASL as it is for me to understand spoken English.

In everyday conversations with strangers, I understand anywhere from 30-60% of the words they are saying. I pick up another 10-20% reading lips, pick up some more from the context of the conversation, and the rest I rely on asking people to repeat themselves (hopefully they can figure out some other way to say it so I understand).

If I am signing with patient people like my teacher or classmates, I find it is nearly the same situation. Obviously it is easier with my teacher because she can easily find different ways of explaining, and her nonverbal communication is way beyond any of the students. So although it may seem discouraging that my ASL communication is so painful, I find it very encouraging that we have made this much progress. We can only get better from here, right?