Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Other Half of the World

I got my hearing aids on Wednesday of last week. They're very small and hard to see, but it definitely takes a little while to get used to having something in my ears all the time. I told Mr. T that taking them off in the evening was like taking off my bra at the end of the day, but he couldn't relate.

Wow, I had no idea just how much I was missing! I did not know that when I pressed the button on my key fob to lock my car, it beeps! Now I tell the boys to turn the television down, instead of asking them to turn it up!

The aids also have this neat little program that allows me to dampen out background noise if I'm in a crowded place. I press a little button and the background noise is much lower, but speech isn't affected. So when we're at a crowded restaurant or basketball game, I can hear people who aren't right next to me. I feel so much more engaged in what's going on around me. I think the weirdest part is hearing myself talk -- I hear myself in my head as normal, but then I hear an amplified me as well, kind of echoey.

It really is like a whole other half of the world appeared out of nowhere. I love it, but part of me feels really sad that I didn't do this earlier, or that it wasn't done FOR me when I was a kid. Water, bridge, sigh.

One of the events this weekend where the aids were a great boon was the bike team's annual awards banquet. Mr. T is president of the team this year, and Sr. Jr. received two awards, even though he is technically no longer a team member. He won the Junior Racer of the Year award and the Novice Cyclocross Racer of the Year award. I think he will miss racing with this team, even though he will love the new one. The new team is all kids under 19 years old. It's nice that he will have kids his age who are as passionate about bike racing as he is, but I loved that all the guys on the old team took him under their wings and mentored him. They were a great bunch of adult male role models for him.

As usual, not a lot of knitting or spinning time, but things progress in between all the other things that go on.

The handspun sweater marches slowly downward. I'm a little concerned that the armholes might be too small, but no one who has knit this pattern before has complained about that, so I'll just have faith.

As I work on this handspun sweater, I'm spinning yarn for another one. I'm not quite sure yet what I'll knit. As I was spinning the second of the two skeins I've finished so far, I was concerned that it was not going to match very well with the first, which would give me quite th Frankensweater. After I plied it up and skeined it, I was less worried. Nonetheless, I may spin up some plain white yarn in case I want to break up the colors a bit by knitting a striped sweater. Even that has me concerned, since I'm not sure that striping this yarn with white yarn is the best way to go. I'll figure it out at some point, I'm sure.

Here are the skeins so far (the fiber is from Southern Cross Fibre, a shetland wool in a colorway called Timberwolf):

And here they are with a swatch I knit from a test skein:

It's very different than the stuff I usually knit for myself. Outside my color safety zones and my patterning safety zones. But I kind of like it. We'll see how it turns out. I hope I don't hate it, because knitting a handknit sweater takes a lot of work!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Really? It's been that long since I wrote here? Sigh. It seems like I blink and half a year has gone by. I'm trying to remember where I was so I can bring you up to date.

Everything continues along fine... boys doing well in school, active in their sports (it's basketball time for Jr. Jr. and always cycling time for Sr. Jr.) and other activities. The holidays were fun, even if there wasn't much in the way of knitting or spinning time (more on that later).

In other "Really?" news, I finally went in to get my hearing checked. I've had a hearing deficit since I was a kid, mostly in my left ear. My parents thought it was due to fluid in my ears/high fevers as a child/ear infections. It wasn't bad enough to keep me from functioning, more of an occasional annoyance. My mother always told me that it wasn't the type of hearing loss that a hearing aid would help.

Well, that turns out not to be true. When I said something about it to my father over the summer he said, "No, that's not the case. Your mother just wanted you to learn how to lip-read." Really? I remember going to lip-reading classes when I was very young, like 4 or 5, and hating every minute of it. I can't lip-read.

But my hearing has been getting worse and it's gotten to the point where I really felt like I was missing a lot of stuff. One on one, I'm usually fine, but put me in a loud restaurant or with a group of people, and it becomes very hard for me. Our house is on the biggish side, so with kids talking to me from different rooms, with music playing, etc., it becomes very hard for me to hear them.

So I bit the bullet and went. What I learned was very interesting. I learned that my hearing loss is not because of any scarring of the eardrum or because of the bones in my middle ear, but is in the cochlea, in the inner ear. There is now hearing loss in both ears, in what is called a "cookie bite" pattern, meaning that my hearing is better for the really low frequencies (vowel sounds) and the really high frequencies (consonant sounds), and pretty terrible at everything in between. This (and the fact that my right ear is somewhat better than my left) has been my saving grace all along, as the things I hear better are the things that make up speech.

Apparently, this cookie bite pattern is more indicative of a genetic hearing loss than a loss due to an injury from infection, etc.

I mentioned this to my father, who said, "I'm trying to figure out who gave this to you. I have hearing loss, as did my mother, but that's from the diabetes (they both developed type II later in life) and my hearing didn't start to go bad until I was in my 40s." Um, Dad, REALLY? You didn't develop the diabetes until you were in your 60s and HOW OLD AM I??

The potentially bad news is that my left ear may not regain acuity, even with a hearing aid, because it's gone unaided for so long that the neural connections may not be able to form. We'll see. The doctor said that I was young enough that it was possible I could overcome that.

So I go in tomorrow to get some hearing aids. Should be interesting to see how I adjust and how much of a difference it makes.


I finished my sweater spin, finally! I even started knitting the sweater. I love it.

I already started spinning yarn for another sweater. I'm not sure how that one will turn out (more colorful, as opposed to tonal like this one), but we'll see.

I finished Pipit, too, and I also love it! This sweater is so comfortable and so versatile. I wish I could wear it every day. The pattern was fun and interesting to knit, too.

And just so the spinning doesn't get shortchanged, here's pics of the Cupcake Fiber spinning that I showed you last time all spun up:

Right now, as always, I want to knit and spin all the things, but have very little time to do any of it. I really want to finish the handspun sweater, because I think that will be fabulous to wear! At this rate, however, and with the "winter" we're having, I won't get to wear it until next year.