[Stage lights come up only partially]
Its hard to make out much more than silhouettes but there is one light source on stage. It the glow of a solitary computer screen.
[Sound of recorded voices and keystrokes]
We can make out a figure seated in front of the screen. Now it becomes apparent that we have a “Gamer” and as the lights come up full we can see our hero and it looks like he’s been there awhile. Pizza boxes; Chinese Take-Out and an empty case of Corona. And a case of bleary eyes and a several day growth of beard.
Well…not really….. but I HAVE become a Gamer. An avid one.
Its part of the rehab and training with my six week old Cochlear Implant.
I am now addicted to games with compelling titles like ShakesEARe ; TreasEAR Island and EARplane. Not to mention Word Racer and Word Target.
These are listening and memory exercises to help learn how to differentiate different sounds. Words and environmental sounds.
Why games? The neuroscientists have determined that our brains learn new skills more quickly and build new neuro-pathways much faster if the brain is also engaged in gaming of some sort. Rather than just listening to words and sounds these exercises make the correct determination a game with rewards.
To be honest, most of them are pretty inane as games go…but they work.
And it isn’t just training ….it IS rehab. I’ve learned more amazing stuff about our brains…when hearing is lost later in life (like mine ) a portion of the brain that used to process that information has nothing to do. There is less or no information coming in.
Our brains are awfully good managers. With nothing for it to do, the brain does one of two things. It closes up that part like winterizing a summer cottage. No point in keeping the heat and lights on. Nobody’s home.
The other option is to sublet that summer cottage. Let somebody else (another brain function) make good use of the space.
So that makes learning to hear again real rehab. First of all the brain has to figure out all this new data is “sound” and then what and how much of the brain needs to deal with it. It can be a bit of a conflict—especially if the brain went for the “let some other function rent it out” option.
The training and exercises I do are to compel the brain to build new neuro-pathways; to reclaim that unused summer cottage and put it back to work.
So now I am a Gamer– and most certainly will be one for a year or so. I am still very much on the upslope in terms of what I will manage to hear with my implant.
Our hero turns his attention back to the glow of the computer screen.
[Stage lights slowly dim to black]