Passionate Topics

I’ve been in a state of reflection recently. Tell me that it is not possible for me to accomplish a goal. I will prove you wrong. It is my life mission. I will find evidence to refute your argument.

When I was in college, I maintained a 4.0 GPA. My good grades served as reinforcement that I was doing something right. Now, I’m on the other side of the fence. I’m battling to get my life back.

The Ole’ 6 Month Plateau Myth

Recently, I had an appointment with my neurologist. He said that I have made significant progress but he busted out the ole’ 6 month myth.  Mind you; he’s only seen me 4 times over the course of my stroke. It’s what his medical books tell him.

Does a toddler stop learning at age 2? No. The human brain has the potential to improve and find new pathways through neuroplasticity.

My old rehab used the ole’ 6 month plateau argument at 6 months post-stroke. They were trying to discharge me. I wasn’t stupid. Patients were there more than 6 months that weren’t even trying.

I’m part of the Young Stroke Survivor  Facebook group. This forum is filled with evidence that the 6 month argument is false. One woman was still making progress at 21 years post-stroke.

My grandmother had a stroke at age 78. It took a large amount of time for her taste to come back.

At 6 months post-stroke, it was hard for me to hold a conversation. Imagine a life where you can’t speak or understand anything. Life sucked.

Now, I’m functioning in life. I can hold conversations. I’m independent. I go grocery shopping. I go to all my doctor’s appointments alone unless my husband wants to come.

I’m still making good progress in speech therapy. I have met 45 goals working with my speech therapist. BOOM. My new rehab has a positive attitude. They believe that I will be 100%. To get there, I still have some work to do. Once I get to the point of returning to the workforce, practice interviews will be done. I want to work for company that will value my work-ethic.

I wish that doctor’s and rehab professionals would perform some research before busting out the 6 month lie. However, there’s no changing ignorant thinking. Here is some proof.

Abstract

It was once falsely believed that neurological and functional recovery after stroke occurred only in the first 6 months after lesion. The perception of this “6-month myth” continues to negatively impact the attitudes of patients towards their rehabilitation and on the clinicians and therapists making optimal training plans. Here we briefly outline some evidence that debunked the 6-month myth, where the concept of this temporal limit may have originated, and the lingering misunderstanding that individuals with stroke reach a plateau of recovery after 6 months even with rehabilitation training.

http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/apnm-2014-0523#.Vf7jK5f_rNI

Audiogram

What is an audiogram? It is a graph that shows the audible threshold for standardized frequencies as measured by an audiometer.

When you have a hearing test, you’ll likely have this test. You will sit with some headphones and hear numerous beeps. According to audiogram, I have a small loss of hearing. Does speech sound like beeps? Hell no. Anyone with a brain can tell you that. Some speech sounds are low frequency and some are high frequency.

Recently, audiologists have been challenged with looking beyond the audiogram. Research has show that conventional auditory acuity had little value in predicting auditory behavior in more complex social situations. The audiogram is only a starting point. The audiogram is 100 years old and very little has changed in it’s measurement standards.

The 40-to-50 year period following WWII reflected sophisticated technological advances that have earned a placement on the audiogram including the following: speech audiometry, tympanometry, acoustic reflex testing, and sound field audiometry.

What is my problem? I have problems with the speech audiometry test. My left ear is my weak point. Last January, I only processed a low number of words. My right ear is my strong ear. I do numerous activities to get my left ear stronger.

My old rehab only had an audiogram done. They were using 100 year-old technology in my diagnosis. They told me that there were no direct-treatment options to help. I believed this for a year. I went to another audiologist who performed the speech audiometry test and got clearance for my hearing aids. In addition to hearing aids, there are many auditory training programs that help including LACE (Listening and Communication Enhancement). I had to learn all this information from my second and third audiologist.

When it comes to hearing/audiological processing, each person is different. My hearing aids have helped me. My digital hearing aids are equipped with BrainHearing technology by Oticon and they are customized for me. They help me focus on whoever is speaking and drown out background noise.

What should you do if you have hearing/auditory processing issues? See an audiologist that will perform more than an audiogram and research other issues. Some audiologists are not trained to recognize audiological processing issues. In my case, I also had a CAPD (central auditory processing disorder) evaluation.

http://www.audiologyonline.com/articles/auditory-processing-in-adults-beyond-898

http://www.audiology.org/sites/default/files/publications/movingBeyondTheAudiogram.pdf

http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/comsc/faculty/donald-vogel/repository/files/History%20of%20Audiogram.pdf

http://www.oticon.com/professionals/audiology/audiological-intent/brainhearing.aspx