This week I had another mapping. Its been a year and a half since my second Medel implant. From the previous tests it seemed the right ear was not performing quite as well as my left. That was surprising since my right ear had been my stronger ear. After the single word test however the right ear scored 70% and the left ear 48%. My audio said my left ear wasn’t catching the soft sounds of the consonants, always the harder ones for hearing challenged folks. That however was at 10 DBL below the last test 6 months ago. So, the score looks bad but it is because it was at a lower volume. So my audie went to work on my processor and had me back and forth in the booth about four times. I could tell she was really working hard and impressed with her interest in booting me up more. Ultimately she did improve my hearing score in the left side by boosting some of the settings in the processor.
She wanted to impress on me that she has few patients that score 100% on sentences like I do so I’m still doing really well. She even called me her Superstar! The trend in testing now is to push folks scores in those lower DBL volumes. The single word tests are hard for me and I want to yell at her to turn the darn volume up. So many of the words are challenging while the sentences are easier to put into context.
Over all a good visit and I’m lucky to have such a conscientious audiologist.
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 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.
Yesterday I went in for my third mapping. Basically it was the same as last time but my audiologist gave me some more tests. She said my choice of volume is pretty much the same as last time so I don’t think she turned any up the electrodes up more though I went in thinking I was ready for more volume. The simple sentence test improved from 82% to 90%. Before my implant my bad ear got 12% w/aid and together w/aid both ears got 56%. The more challenging sentences improved from 46% from last time to 71% yesterday. The last test was 50 words. The voice said ready….and a word, ready……and a word. It ran fairly quickly so if I hesitated he was already up to the next word. This one I only got 19 words out of 50 but got 63% of the sounds. That was just with my implanted ear.
The last test was a bit disappointing but she believes I’ll keep getting better. She also told me to start using my hearing aid now in my right ear.
That’s the update. I still am really happy with my implant even if I never reach 100% because I could’t understand any speech before. Now my implanted ear sounds better than my hearing aid ear. Its a success story!
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.