Tuesday, 27 November 2007

My belated switch on experiences and journey since then...

I can't believe how fast time has flown since I've been switched on.

It's just hectic and always is still.. I feel really dreadful in not being able to keep up to date with my own blog and when I read other people's CI blogs - they are so good at keeping at it.

I have two little boys that keeps me on my toes all the time and by the time I've got them to bed, all I want to do is chill out. As well as my little ones I have a big boy too look after - my eldest son who is nearly 12 does stress me out a lot especially with his moods and unwilling to do these. He's rather lazy and winds the little ones up alot that there are lot of screaming sessions - there are times when I would love silence. Now to say that is strange because I've wanted to hear again after so long but when you have screaming kids - who wants to hear that kind of sound when learning to hear with the cochlear implants.

Anyway, as I say it's been hectic and so I'm going to put down as much as I can remember since the switch on and then try and keep it up to date.

My switch on day. I was very nervous and thought I was going to cry and everything but I didn't for some strange reason. I think it is because I know what to expect at a switch on as I've done it before. My left ear was dealt with first and then my right ear. At first they did some programming to condition the implant and to stimulate it then I had some beeps going on. Then it was ready for the switch on. The sounds I heard was very much like I heard before - high pitch voices and Nigel's voice was deeper. A few twigs here and there adjusted by the audiologist was sounding a lot better. I was put on Hi-Res S Fidelity 120 for my left ear. It did take a while to sort my left ear out. Now my right ear was a different story because it was being switched on for the first time and never heard out of that ear since I was a baby, I think. I can't remember ever hearing out of that ear and heard some beeps but not in the same way as my left ear. When they switched my right on, I just got "thump thump" etc. Each thump was representing each syllable, so if I heard a word like brother, it would be sounding like "thump thump" - two syllable. It was so weird but heard something. I was just really pleased to just get something than nothing. I was impressed! I, too had Hi-Res S Fidelity 120 for my right ear as well. A long time for my right ear to be sorted out too. When I had both on together it sounded better. I don't know why but it sounded alot better. Strange! I think that is why I didn't cry cos I was so overwhelmed with the strange experience. It's like a dream - it is still a dream. It hasn't quite sunk in yet.

I've been using the loop by using a RF TV Listener, which I attach a microphone to the TV and pick up the sounds from the TV although I prefer to hear sounds directly plugged into the TV, however it isn't possible at present due to some electrical fault of the device attaching to the TV. However, I do hear it directly linked to the Hi-Fi and that is nice especially a bit of Jazz!

Mon (5th Nov) I had another mapping for both processors and aided threshold hearing tests and the results are amazing! Here is what my audiologist said.....

Cuny sentences with lip reading both implants: 97%
Cuny sentences with lip reading right implant only: 43%

BKB sentences in quiet without lip reading, both implants: 89%
BKB sentences in noise (noise 10dB less than speech) without
lip reading, both implants: 75%

AB words in quiet without lip reading, both implants: 61% phonemes, 36%

Your aided results with the left implant were 15-35dB across the speech
frequency range.

Your aided results with the right implant were 40-60dB across the
speech frequency range.

The aided results for the right ear are likely to improve with time and
were good for this stage post implant for a newly implanted ear. Also you mentioned that the tinnitus was making it more difficult for you to do this test on the right ear which could also have affected the results.

Overall these results are brilliant so well done.

I was tickled pink that I was doing so well so early on .... one week!!! I think it is fantastic
results. Anyway to explain about the above Cuny sentences means a man on the video with a straight face and no facial expressions. He just speak in a plain flat voice!

BKB sentences are sentences sent through the speakers - no man and no lip reading involved.

AB words are words that are spoken through the speakers with just one word at a time, eg, cat. This is a harder test because with the sentences spoken you have an idea of what the sentence is about. With just single words without lip reading or seeing a man on the screen can be a real challenge!

Today (26th Nov) I had a mapping for my right ear only with my left right ear processor untouched. I was puzzled why they didn't do both processors to balance. I realise it is because they want to bring my right ear processor to balance alot more as the past few weeks since 5th Nov my left ear processor had been more dominant and the right ear processor had been fading into the background. They even said that my left ear processor might prefer to have the volume decreased at some point as the right ear processor might find it too loud with the left ear processor. It's interesting that when I had my right ear processor only on it was louder than having both on! Weird, I thought!

Anyway, I had my right ear aided threshold hearing test and amazing it has shifted from 40 - 60dB to 30 - 40dB across the speech frequency range, it still has a dip in the middle of the speech frequency range but I reckon it is because I've got number 5 electrode turned off and not able to pick the middle sounds up as well without this electrode. I could be wrong. However, I'm not worried about that electrode any more cos I've been doing so well lately and I hope to continue on my right ear. I'm so pleased to be able to hear something with it. I've just got to keep practising listening with just my right ear and work on it alot more. I've been so lucky with funding for my 2nd ear that I have to pinch myself sometimes to say yes you have got your 2nd ear. I've been living with one ear practically all my life and so it will take a long time to get used to have two ears. It's amazing with two ears. I only wish some people protect their ears especially with loud music, etc. Believe me, ears are precious because if you hear out of them and then to lose all your hearing it is heart breaking, like I had experienced twice. The first time was in Feb 2004 and the second time in June 2006.

It is so nice to hear again, to hear with nothing and just the tinnitus is a really life quality reduced life, e.g depressing, isolating and stressful. It is because I once had something beautiful with my CI before and it was snatched away from me, hence the reduced quality of life. Now my quality of life is so much more relaxing, inspiring, exciting, not isolating. I don't want to go all religious but I thank God for listening to my prayers.

I shall try and keep more up to date in future! ;-)

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