I really feel like I made the honor roll yesterday! I went in for my two week visit and my audiologist decided to test me for sentence recognition. First we played with adjustments. The newly implanted ear is still higher pitched than the other ear so we tried adding some bass to it. It gave it more resonance in sound but I still have the original and another setting to play with. We went into the booth to try sentence recognition. My previous score with just my right aided ear was 15%. With my newly implanted ear alone I scored 83%. She even asked me if I had my other hearing implant on but I didn’t. My last sentence test with the left implanted ear was 79% so I’m wondering how that all happened so fast. I was able to use the telephone on my new ear too today but it needs more volume. Never the less I could hear what they were saying.
It has been almost two weeks since the initial activation of my second implant. When my audiologist first turned it on I heard a lot of very high pitched sounds. Her voice was really squeaky and there were a lot of other sounds that made me think of Christmas. I was probably associating it with Christmas movies. She told me it was not unusual and that the brain would adjust. The sound is still high pitched and Mickey Mouse but I can have a conversation with the people in my house using just the newly implanted side. My theory is that the electrodes in the cochlear probably aren’t positioned exactly in the same place so when they are fired they are both stimulating different parts of the cochlear. Combined with my other implant the two sounds seem to blend. I remember my first implant sounding like a kazoo but definitely not as high pitched.
Since I chose MedEl I am also testing out the Rondo to decide if I want to have two of these or one free Rondo and the traditional behind the ear device. They both sound the same right now and the Rondo is very light and comfortable. I tend to knock it off sometimes especially when I have to pull something over my head. If I had short hair I might consider using the Rondo on both sides. The Rondo comes with 3 disposable batteries which last about 4 days. I figured it would cost over $300 a year for batteries while the behind the ear device uses rechargeable. However, when they need to be replaced they cost about $100 apiece. For now my rechargables will last another two years and I have a 5 year replacement warranty on them.
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.
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!