I now have a date for my second implant which will be in January. I get to pick the new Rondo or stay with my current Opus2 processor. The plus is that MedEl will give me an extra processor so actually I’ll be getting three as part of the promotion for Rondo. I decided to go with two Rondos and one extra Opus2 so I have that in case I prefer the Opus2. Getting the second implant is definitely a nervous choice but better than not hearing stuff on my right side now. Also, I feel a little guilty because I do hear a lot better now since my first implant. I have been trying to get as much information about the Rondo as possible but it’s only been out since this past spring.
This was a busy day with a long series of listening activities then a visit with the surgeon for my one year and 2 mos. checkup. I’m hearing the sentences a little better now but things are basically leveling off. Without my hearing aid on and just using the implant I am scoring about 80%, like a mild hearing loss. I still have trouble with the test that says: Ready: baseball, Ready: duck, etc. I get about 50% but of course she has the volume very low. With my hearing aided ear added I get 64% and 82% of the sounds which means I make a close guess. Her reasoning is that she wants it to be like everyday conversational speech. My audiologist is very happy with all my scores and so am I. The other news which didn’t surprise me is that my right ear now is severely/profoundly impaired. When I was tested for sentences with only my aided ear I only got 20%. I also attribute this to brain chemistry, just my theory. My brain has gotten so use to using my implanted ear that my right ear is not getting any practice anymore. My audiologist suggested I go for another implant and my surgeon was very encouraging about the idea. He said that I’m a very good candidate and that I have done very well with my current implant which is a good predictor. He also said that they like to do bilateral implants within a close period of time. Apparently your brain and hearing pair up better than if you want 10 tens years between implants. I wasn’t totally surprised at this opportunity but didn’t think it would happen quite this soon. So, I’ll be using the next couple of weeks to think about this but will probably go for it. I think its a great opportunity. I just need to acclimate myself to the idea of surgery.
I experienced three really big milestones in the last few weeks and didn’t want them to let them go unannounced. I was in the car one day and actually answered the phone twice while I was driving. I could carry on the conversation and drive too. Of course the point is I could hear while other stuff was going on where as before I would have had to pull over and put on my telecoil phone hooks and concentrate hard. I felt pretty cool picking up the phone and talking like all the other reckless drivers out there. The other two milestones were two phone conversations. I don’t talk on the phone much but am getting to like it more. I called my mother-in-law to wish her a happy birthday and we chatted for a long time! I am use to her voice of course but still its a big deal. Yesterday a woman had asked me about doing an interview for a paper she is writing. I told her we would try the phone but could skype if it didn’t work. Well, I talked for a long time and only asked her to repeat a few times. Now she is use to hearing impaired people and told me she would talk slowly but I’m still thrilled. So those are my big milestones, so exciting.
When people ask me how I am doing with my implant I tell them it depends on which test they give me. I had my six month check-up last week and have a range of scores to report.
Sentences: these are different sentences that are unrelated and spoken by different people, men and women. I scored 76% up 6% from the last test. The same test using my implant and my hearing aid gave me a 95% score up from 84% on my last test.
Single Words: this is a harder one for me. A man says Ready and then the word, Ready and another word, it takes a lot of concentration. So I only scored 38% or 19 out of 50 (but wouldn’t that actually be 76%?) Anyway last time I scored 30 % so no complaints here.
She gave me the simple sentence test with my hearing aid ear. These are the ones like: The truck went up the hill or The boy hit the ball. I scored 40%. That is my bad ear now but before surgery was my good ear.
I’m happy with my implant and even if my tests aren’t 100% I’m happy but its hard to explain to people why I’m happy with 38%. I guess its all relative to what I was dealing with beforeI added a painting I did over the summer.
It was about this time in my life that the nurse would return to the classroom and have me come back for another hearing screening. I knew something was up since none of my peers had to take the hearing test again. But things have turned for the better since my implant. I realized this morning at our faculty meeting how much more relaxed I was being able to follow most of the conversation. I feel pretty confident in a small setting while in a larger meeting room I still need my FM system to hear. My FM system is so much more effective with the implant. Last spring before the surgery I was really having trouble hearing at meetings with the FM system. It was getting so discouraging. Another plus I noticed this weekend was hearing the speaker in a large auditorium when he introduced the show. I realize I’m not getting it all but it seems like it to me. When my buddy wanted to tell me something by speaking close to my ear I couldn’t understand him in my aided side. I never have been able to but people think if they try to speak close to my ear it will be easier. I turned my head so he could speak into my implanted side and Wow, I could hear very clearly. Another plus with this great invention.
My idea was to graph two lines showing before and after results of my tests but it got too complicated. When my audie explains everything it makes sense but when I get home I forget a lot. Of interest to me is that with my old aids on (pre-implant) and with my current CI and aid I score similar though a little better on the tone test with the CI. She explained to me that all her MedEl clients score in the mild hearing loss range on the tone test and it has to do with the technology MedEl uses for hearing sound in quiet settings. The verbal listening scores on the Speech Audiometry were about the same as the last test. I was somewhat disappointed but still happy. There are three verbal tests, two of which I never had till the second and third mapping so I don’t have anything to compare them to from my previous pre CI evaluations.
I took this photo in Ga in front of an old feed store. They had cages of roosters and chickens. Anyway, I had another mapping today. The results seem to be pretty much the same as my last mapping. She told me she wasn’t going to give me the easy tests like Hints because I had already gotten a 90%. The sentence test was fairly complicated, male and female voices with sentences unrelated to each other. Some voices were easier than others as in real life. My score was the same, 72%. The word test where the man says, Ready and then the word Ready, and then the word (for about 50 words) also showed the same results. I didn’t do that well, I think about 36% but 65% in sound recognition. I told her the volume was low and she said she was trying to make it hard. She said, “I could make the volume louder and you would feel great but that wouldn’t really replicate real listening situations.” I’m going to try to make an audiogram with my before implant and after results.
I’m still happy with my implant. I pushed myself to increase the volume today but obviously it didn’t improve my scores. We’ll see in 3 months when I go back if the volume increase helps any.