As a result of Treacher Collins, I have a few accessories that are required to complete the picture. First of all, I don't have any external ear to speak of, so I wear a bone conduction hearing aid that is worn on a headband. One part of the hearing aid turns the sound into electrical energy, and the other part turns the electrical energy into vibrations and vibrates against my skull behind my ear. Skipping all the technicalities, the sound travels through my bone to my inner ear, and I am able to hear pretty normally. My second accessory is my tracheostomy, trach for short. A trach is a hollow tube that is inserted through the neck into the airway. (If you watch ER or Chicago Hope, you've probably seen the doctors put in an emergency trach when a patient couldn't breathe through his mouth.) I had a trach to help me breathe at night, because when I slept, my tongue would fall into the back of my mouth and block my airway. Essentially, I breathed through my trach at night and had it blocked off during the day. I no longer have the trach in...something I'm extremely happy about! With the trach, I couldn't swim or do any water sports, because water could get into my lungs, and I could drown. And yes, I could take showers, but I just had to be careful not to let the water run into my trach. Now, instead of the trach, I use a machine, called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure), at night that blows air into my nose and therefore into my lungs. With the CPAP, I don't have any more trouble breathing at night.

My latest accessory is an electronic stethoscope.

Batteries Not Included!

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