Fishing with implants

I went to Maine last week and did a lot of fly fishing. Mostly we were in the water so I used my old hearing aid and took off my implant since Med El isn’t water proof like the Cochlear American, oh well. I knew that going into this. But at one point on dry ground I had so many bugs around me I put bug spray around my ears. Later, my implant was stuck on the back of my ear since I didn’t let the spray dry enough. It left a nasty orange residue on the processor which the audiologist thinks is ok but offered to call Med El anyway. So, beware of bug spray and let it dry before putting your processor back on. Image


Second Mapping

Today I went in for my second mapping, two weeks after the first. Since the first activation I have been just using my implanted ear. It hasn’t been as bad as I expected and have been able to talk to people except in places like the grocery store or noisy places. I rely on lip reading but can follow most of what people say I think. Actually, I need a lot more exposure but I’m off work for the summer. I was excited that I was able to skype with my mother-in-law and understand her. I can have a conversation with Tony on the phone but not other people. But today, I was able to use the telecoil ear hook with my iphone and facetime with my son and follow him. Yeah!

So, for the tests from today. She gave me the Hint (easier sentence list), the one they give you to determine implant eligibility. I did 15% before the implant and today did 82%. She was encouraged with that so gave me the AZ-Bios sentence test. This has more realistic speech everyday speech. The people talk faster and there are men and women speaking. I did 46% on that. The woman were clearer for me. My audiologist suggested we use this as a baseline to start with in two weeks. I’m hoping I can do better. Also, my speech reception threshold improved from 60 db. to 30db in my implanted ear. With the tone test before the implant I was able to hear in the moderate range but couldn’t pick up high tones. Today, I was able to hear all the tones in the mild 30 db range. So, overall my audiologist thinks I have done great. I’m excited and hope it continues to improve. I’m going to a 60th BD reunion with a bunch of high school girl friends this weekend so it should be interesting if I can handle that without an aid in my right ear.

Activation Day 2

Today they increased the volume on all the sounds. I found out that two of the 12 electrodes are not being used since I can’t hear them. They apparently are on the outer edge of the cochlear so didn’t make it in far enough for me to hear. She said they are the high frequencies and this is common and she isn’t concerned. There is no point in getting upset since its in there and I can’t exactly push it in further.

I was able to understand my audiologist today using just my implanted side after she increased the volume. I also was able to pick up sounds she made behind a black screen. I heard the words ice cream, hot dog, baseball and then me tried some from my art classroom, glue stick, paint brush, paper, scissors….. I got most of those too. So, I actually scored better than I would have if I had my hearing aid on since I couldn’t understand most speech with that aid alone.

I have 4 extra settings to increase the sound over the next two weeks. I’m back at work tomorrow and since I work in a very noisy art room my audiologist told me to just keep my aid alone or the implant and aid if I want. Then in a few days we’ll done for the year and I can use just my implanted side for the summer to practice with.

I was able also to pick up a few words on the radio driving to the hospital, small steps yet big steps too.


Today I came home with a suitcase full of stuff. The activation took 2 1/2 hrs, mostly going over equipment. I had the hardest time with low frequencies. I couldn’t really hear them but had the sensation of dizziness. I am keeping my aided side off for the evening. I can hear/understand (about 50%…)  my partner talk to me with lip reading of course and his voice sounds like a man’s yet there are these high frequency sounds mixed in. The loudest sounds are cellophane, water, tapping, etc. They are all high frequency. I have 4 volume levels on the remote and I’m using the loudest for now. I’m hoping to be able to hear the low frequencies. When I hear my own voice I seem to hear a delayed sound, its like I can hear the voice in my head, maybe from memory, but the actual sound is different.

Actually, I just tried to listen to the trailor to Moonrise Kingdom and it all sounded like gibberish, a bunch of chirping birds. I guess it will take  a long time.

My audiologist said she will push me more tomorrow, then back to work!