The Ventriloquist Effect

You know what’s weird?  Hearing sounds that are coming from another room.  I’m talking subtle sounds, not like a chair falling over in the kitchen or some other kind of really loud noise.  I could hear things like that with my hearing aids, when I still had some hearing.  No, I’m talking about situations like these:

It’s early morning and I’ve just woken up.  My routine now is to sit on the bed for a few minutes after I put my CIs on.  It’s always overwhelmingly loud, when I first hear sounds again.  It’s like this any time either of my CIs is off and then I put them back on (after a shower, after changing a battery, etc.) but morning is hardest because I’ve just gone all night with no hearing at all.  So I give myself a minute to adjust before I walk out into the kitchen with all the early morning sounds and voices.

I sit there, looking around the room, and realize I’m not hearing the usual silence.  (And let me just say, hearing SILENCE is heavenly.  The tinnitus is almost completely gone now…hallelujah!)  No…I’m hearing something like a bubbling sound.  I look around the room and there’s nothing I see that could be making noise.  What the heck?!  My first reaction is to panic and think there’s something wrong with my implants.  Is this kind of a staticky sound?  Maybe my T-Mics are acting up?  I tap the T-Mics and the sound stays the same.

I decide to go talk to Dave about it and get his opinion.  As I walk down the hall, the sound gets louder and louder.  Our bedroom is at the end of a long hall, which opens into the kitchen/dining room/living room area which is all open.  As soon as the kitchen comes into view I realize what I’m hearing, because I can see it.  It’s our coffee water, boiling on the stove!  I heard it all the way in the bedroom!

It never even occurred to me that I would be hearing this, first because I have just never heard a sound that subtle from so far away, and second because Dave doesn’t usually have the coffee going quite that early.  What a HUGE relief to realize it wasn’t a problem but rather a CI moment.  😉

We use a vacuum pot to make our coffee, by the way.  Originally we used one as a novelty, since it’s a little like a science experiment watching the water travel from the bottom pot to the top, where the coffee grounds are, and then watching the coffee travel back down to the bottom pot, leaving the grounds up top.  Then we realized how amazingly good the coffee tastes when it’s made that way!  You can control how long the grounds steep in the water and the water gets nice and hot, being heated on the stove.  So if you ever stop by our house for a cup of coffee, that’s what you’ll see.  🙂  We actually packed away our Bunn a few months ago, once we realized we hadn’t used an automatic coffee maker in about a year!

Anyway, back to my CI moment.  Once I realized I was hearing the water bubbling, then I realized I was hearing another loud sound that I couldn’t identify.  I noticed the sound going away every time I left the kitchen, so I knew it was an actual sound and not my CIs acting up.  (It was kind of a buzzing, humming sound that I wasn’t sure I was really hearing, at first.)  I had to have Dave help me with that one…it was the refrigerator running.  I haven’t heard that sound in…well…I can’t remember when!

Then this morning I was emptying the dishwasher and heard this low, rumbling sound in my head.  What on earth?!  I looked around, and just saw one of our cats sitting by the patio door.  It almost sounded like a low-throated growling, but she didn’t look pissed off so I didn’t think it could be her.  I glanced around the corner and our dog, Toby, was at the living room window, on high alert.  He jumped off the couch and ran into the kitchen, stopping at the patio door for me to let him out.  Yes, I heard him growling in the living room.  Not a loud growl either, but that real quiet growling he does before he’s going to bark.  This is another sound I never heard before, even with hearing aids, and now I was hearing it from another room!

It’s like hearing voices or something, and I have to fight the feeling that I’m going crazy.  😀  These sounds appear in my head and I think I’m losing my mind because I can’t see anything to attach the sounds to.  It’s such a big adjustment, realizing I’m hearing things that aren’t within my line of vision!


About wendiwendy

I'm a real-life bionic woman.

Posted on October 20, 2008, in Cochlear Implants & Hearing Loss, Observations and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I know the feelings and sound quite well. In the morning, like you, I sit on the side of the bed and put my magnet on. Then I listen and hear the faraway sounds of somethings that in my normal hearing life, would never hear.
    I am so glad your tinnitus is gone. Mine came back just after my re-implantaion surgery a few days ago. I’m hoping it dies down soon.


  2. Hey, isn’t it great to find the sources of what we are hearing when we can’t figure it out?

    I’m hearing squirrels chitter and birds chirp. I’m hearing things in another room I wouldn’t normally hear. I don’t think I’ve ever really did, unless they were vibrations, i.e., thud of a book or something being dropped on the floor. My youngest could never figure out how I could “hear” her doing sumersaults in the living room when I’m not in the room. It’s the vibration. LOL.

    I hear Midnight do her dream-state bark (kind of muffled with puffs of air coming out) and I hear both dogs snore. I can hear their toe nails clip on the floor as they walk. I never knew that it made a sound.

    Happy Listening!!



  3. haha brillliant isnt it! you can have the hustle and bustle of noise when u want then just stop and take 5 mins and take off your CI for silence. it can be a curse and a blessing! but we have the best of both worlds!! x


  4. haha brillliant isnt it! you can have the hustle and bustle of noise when u want then just stop and take 5 mins and take off your CI for silence. it can be a curse and a blessing! but we have the best of both worlds!!
    Laura x


  5. Wow! That’s great, Wendi. Boiling water, fridge running and subtle growling all things I take for granted.

    Amanda heard me chew popcorn yesterday but she couldn’t hear herself.


  6. Love your phrase “a CI moment”. It’s great to share your journey of discovery. I bet you’ll enjoy looking back on posts like these once you’ve gotten used to the new sounds in your life. Best wishes, Sarah


  7. Lol! Way too funny about hearing the water boil. I had the same thing when I heard hamburgers sizzling. It was pretty interesting when I had no clue what it was….sounded like a fire alarm.

    Congrats on hearing all of these moments! 🙂


  8. btw – I wonder if vacuum pot will work on loose tea…that should be interesting..:-)


  9. You are doing so well! Just wait until you can hear a button drop in another room 🙂


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