Saturday, August 25, 2012

New Mapping

I went back to Tampa Tuesday to get my audie to work some more of her magic. She is awesome and I am so thankful and blessed to have her work with me.

When we go in for a mapping (adjustment) it is so hard for me. My implants have 16 electrodes that have different pitches. It gets complicated but there are virtually 120 pitches I get from these 16 electrodes. She starts off setting these electrodes at a comfortable level (loudness). It is so hard to tell with all the different pitches if I am getting them the same loudness which is what I am suppose to do. So now, she puts me in the booth and tests me with tones to see where I am hearing them. This tells her which electrodes I should go up in volume. So Tuesday after we did the booth thing, I told her to set it up where I needed to be and just let her drive. She raised all those high pitches quite a bit and they were loud but tolerable.

We also have a new strategy called Clear Voice which cuts out background noise and can tell speech from noise. There are three settings... low, medium and high. I use medium for everyday and LOVE it but have never tried high. I have found in noisy environments I seem to still have trouble so I wanted her to set one of my programs to high so I can try that out. My processor holds three programs so when she got the tones set, I had her set up one program with CV medium and one with CV high.

This left me with the third program I really didn't know what to do with. She then looks at me and says "how about if I set up the third program with something I want to try?". What she did with the third program is turn off the highest electrode. According to the booth, I am hearing right where I should be until I get to the high tones and it drops off there. Turning off this electrode does not mean I will not hear those high pitches, the electrode next to it will pick them up. So that is what she did.

So on the way home, I turned on talk radio (my rehab) to see how it sounded. Oh my, those high tones had a major hiss to them. All those "s" sounds sounded like sssssshhhhhhhh. At first I thought, uh oh we may have gone too high with those tones and then I thought maybe it will just take my brain time to adjust to it. I listened for about a half hour when it dawned on me to try program three where she turned off that electrode. She is SO smart! That took away most of that hiss! So for now, I still don't get to try CV high but I am hoping in time I will adjust to these highs that I have not heard in so long and can tolerate having that electrode back on. We shall see.

She also tested me in the booth with sentences just to see where I am at. I scored 58% which is kind of frustrating since I was at 69% shortly after my first implant. It is also encouraging because right before my second surgery I had dropped to 40% so at least I am heading in the right direction now. Most of the time, I feel like I am doing so much better than that. It is when I get in a group setting that I see I am not. So, I am still a work in progress but I am thrilled with what I can hear and I know it is only going to get better.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Catching Up

There is so much to catch up

I did get my second ear activated and it was SO strange. It sounds completely different than the other ear. Lots to get use to there. When activated, I got to listen through both ears about 2 minutes when my audie told me to remove the older one. She wanted me to only wear the new one for the first few weeks to give my brain time to get use to the new one. This was very hard to do but I am so proud of myself for doing just as she suggested. I had to get the new ear to catch up with the older one.

The new ear has more bass sounds than the older one. I was starting all over again learning to hear with it. When they say you need patience and lots of it they were not kidding at all! Slowing down and learning to "take it as it comes" has helped a lot. I was activated only a few days before my trip to see the kids and grandkids. I did not do as well as I thought I would but that was ok too. I did so much better than the last visit and I know my next visit will be even better. I had such a great time visiting with everyone. It was a bit overwhelming at times but then I was not in good listening conditions and I was relying on a new ear only. I think with all considered I did as well as I should have expected.

After 3 very long weeks, I was told I could start wearing both "ears"! Even though each ear sounds completely different, they sound wonderful together. My first day of wearing both ears, I went out and met a fellow CI'er that I had only talked to online. This was an incredible experience! We met at a local Starbucks that has a nice patio area outside. Imagine two deaf people sitting and talking for hours. LOL I was off to an incredible start. The next weekend I met with a different CI'er that has become a dear friend. She at that point had one CI and was scheduled for her second ear. She was nervous and wondering if she was doing the right thing. After we got together that day, she told me she felt so much better about going ahead with the second surgery. Seeing how well I was doing put all her fears to rest. I am so thankful for that!

I can now tell where a sound is coming from. This doesn't seem like a big thing to most but let me tell you it IS! I can not begin to express what a miracle I have received. To be able to hear anything at all is truly a miracle in itself but the gift I have been given is beyond anything I can describe. I am still not using the phone yet, that will take time and practice. It has been so long since I have used a phone that I now have a phobia of that crazy thing. It's very hard for me to do but I am going to work on that. I still need captions for the television but I do understand a lot of what is said there too. I am told this will continue to get better and better. I see improvement all the time so I know it will. Crowded, noisy situations are still difficult but I think it is for normal hearing folks too.

So now I still have lots of work ahead of me but I am at the point of helping others. I want other people that are dealing with hearing loss to see how wonderful this miracle is. I want to be a positive part of helping others deal with this horrible disability and let them see there is hope. I am so thankful to have my life back which is something hearing loss took from me.