I have had some additional personal challenges recently with the reality that my first trusty and gorgeous guide dog Unis is retiring early and that I will continue my journey with the beautiful young Isabella.
Isabella will never replace Unis, just take me on as her big challenge!
It is hard to describe the mixed emotions this new scenario has put on me. Other guide dog owner friends who've shared so much with their four legged friend will understand the pain and I am so grateful of the support from the many friends I have as a result of having Usher Syndrome and a guide dog, you know who you are and I so appreciate your recent support.
I had to switch off and be on my own to untangle myself from what I can only describe as a kind of grieving for Unis, feeling so grateful to her for being at my side through thick and thin and the elation that Isabella will give me back the independence I have struggled with over the past year as Uni's anxiety worsened hence her early retirement.
I needed that time on my own to think and get my head around things. What this has often meant to me is taking out my hearing aids and having silence, a sweet and peaceful silence that many deaf people enjoy and will identify with. To literally switch off, to take time to think without interruption, however, strangely this time I didn't want that silence, I wanted music!
It dawned on me then that I am hearing music, and particularly lyrics better than ever before.
Streaming music directly from iPhone to ReSound LiNX3D is absolutely amazing. Music can change and make moods. It makes me happy or sad, it can make me cry, it can motivate, it can be uplifting and often all emotions in one song it dawned on me music was exactly the tonic I needed, not silence.
Music has been my saviour over this rough patch. I have always enjoyed music but have never listened to the lyrics like I do now. I can hear through the music to the words, previously it was sounds, rhythms and often vibrations, it didn't bother me as I simply enjoyed music, I just didn't realise how powerful words can be.
I actually lost myself in lyrics thinking about Unis and Isabella and moving forward with my life and it has definitely helped me with the transition I'm facing.
Music is of the moment, songs I enjoyed in the past but hadn't really listened to the lyrics or made up my own became meaningful of my situation and strangely the various songs I listened to could be taken as happy or sad, needless to say I cried and laughed my way through quite a few playlists.
I can't say I like one genre of music, I like so many different things.
Music reminds me of certain people, of times and places, of happy and sad times.
I looked over my playlists and relived back to when I spent time with my grandparents when I was little, back then I had analogue and early digital hearing aids. I sang to my favourite tunes not even realising I was making up the words, I sang how I heard the words. Not any more, I hear the lyrics clearly and I sing - apparently my singing hasn't improved, however, I'm singing the correct words.
Some of the amazing holidays and working trips I've enjoyed, the things I could see back then but now I'm reliving things based on what I'm hearing.
I could name lots of songs with lyrics I find particularly powerful and healing but will just name a couple. The first ironically is music first heard at my grandparents house and back then the words had no relevance to me but now mean so much, ‘Something inside so strong’ by Labi Siffre https://youtu.be/PcKoYGNj0BU and the second with real meaning and a song my Mum often plays in her car, Lean on Me’ by Bill Withers https://youtu.be/N5jlPL1tNDY this music is not music I hear anywhere else but with family and I guess for that reason it fills me with warmth.
My hearing using ReSound LiNX3D sets a scene my eyes no longer provide, I have no idea how I would be coping today without this unbelievable technology it has truly enhanced my life, given me confidence and connected me to new things.
Being able to hear so clearly is priceless.
My blindness often means I'm relying on my hearing to see things, to locate things and now to relive things. Directional sound and spatial awareness together with crystal clear hearing and exceptional connectivity has enabled me to compensate where my sight fails and to be as inclusive as is possible living with deafblindness.
If you can imagine your eyes closed or in complete darkness you will appreciate the importance of hearing for somebody living with Usher Syndrome (deafblindness) it isn't easy, however I have accepted where I am at, there is no doubt I grieve for perfect sight at difficult times but nowhere near as much as I used to.
I was blessed to have had my beautiful black beauty Unis and now the beautiful black cutie Isabella who will continue the great work I enjoyed from Unis.
This emotional journey has been lived through based on sound and hearing and again I feel lucky to have the ReSound LiNX3D smart hearing aid technology to help me find my way.