Keeping in mind that nothing sounds like hearing people’s hearing, and everything is still squeaky and robotic, I present “Wendy’s Top 10 Best and Worst Sounds with a Cochlear Implant.”
10. Odd little noises from my computer. (Who knew it was so noisy? Good lord, the thing is beeping every two seconds at me…but we’ve always had a love/hate relationship.)
9. Cordless drills. (The backhoe inventors need to talk to the drill manufacturers about improving the sounds of these tools.)
8. My keys. (I have a big fat keyring and every time I pick them up I think “Aigh! My tinnutus is back! Oh wait! It’s just my keys!”)
7. Coughs (sounds like something metal banging and slightly hollow, combined with robot sound…very strange and a little disturbing in a “What the hell did I just cough up?” sort of way).
6. Almost all popular music, especially anything sung by women (see #3 on this worst sounds list) – BUT today I asked my interpreter to interpret an uncaptioned YouTube video and she commented on the pretty Indian music at the beginning. Since this sounded like a nursery rhyme childrens’ song being plunked out on a metal xylophone, I am perhaps not the best judge of music.
5. Toilets flushing. (Imagine a hurricane/tornado sound ala’ Wizard of Oz in the bathroom every time you flush. I’m going to get really dehydrated trying to avoid the bathroom. And FYI, several people have asked me, and no…I still cannot hear myself pee unless it’s really really really quiet and I focus…but why would I focus on that?)
4. Water running. (I have to leave the room while running water for a bath because it’s like Niagra Falls in there, but showers are ok.)
3. Women talking (Guys and kids are tolerable, but unfortunately, most female voices sound like high-pitched android robot monkeys with lisps holding a microphone too close to their face so it makes squeally feedback. Really. Could I make this stuff up? And remember, too, what a bummer this is if you are a woman listening to your own voice…or your lesbian wife’s voice…I firmly believe God doesn’t hate lesbians, but cochlear implant inventors might.)
2. Paper being crunched up into a ball. Noisy. Rude. Excessively loud crackling. Ugh.
1. The dinging of the car’s turn signal – a clinking high-pitched nails-on-chalkboard sound so intolerable I take off my implant to drive (but it’s only bad on implant channels 1 and 2 – on channel 3, they make my “best sounds” list below).
10. Flipping through pages of a book (a gentle sweet sound).
9. Dinging noise of the car’s turn signal (but only on my implant’s channel #3 – see above).
8. Scratching my head (for some reason this is a remarkably pleasant sound and FYI, I had no idea how often I do this – I don’t even have dandruff).
7. Sounds I didn’t know existed that I think are funny (like the fact that the university parking garage entry thing beeps when I swipe my entry pass – I chuckle every morning to think hearing people need to hear beeps – the gate opening isn’t enough for you folks to move your car forward into the garage?)
6. Any sound-based games with my five-year old, especially when he claps out rhythms and I try to hear them (this isn’t higher on the list because it gets old after a million and a half times playing the game).
5. “O Canada” recorded in 1908 (A friend with an implant clued me in that this is a good song for people with implants and yes, it is fun…and yes, it’s captioned…and yes, it’s hysterically funny watching how many hearing people come into my office to sing along when I play this on my computer.)
4. British people talking (Americans still sound terrible – especially women, as noted above – but Brits’ accent for some reason just cracks me up, adding a crispness to gobblygook that is TOO funny – I’m laughing just thinking about it.)
3. People knocking on my office door (annoying sound, but very useful).
2. Leaves crunching (sounds like what I remember from 20 years ago, and I LOVED that sound).
1. ALL TIME FAVORITE: Backhoes rolling back and forth on piles of dirt (see previous post on this blog – it’s a lovely sound that reminds me of the ocean and nothing has beaten it yet).