For those of us who have a hearing loss and are considering a Cochlear Implant:
…it’s just like they tell you – it’s a PROCESS!
I used to have 2 excellent digital hearing aids for my profoundly deaf ears that allowed me to get-by quite well in the hearing world, but I had to work real hard for that standing. As many of you know, I lost my hearing during chemotherapy in the process of fighting a chronic and critical, very rare disease, an autoimmune condition called Relapsing Polychondritis.
On Jan 9th, what residual hearing remained in the weaker of my two damaged ears was replaced with a Nucleus 6 Cochlear Implant.
For one month, while that area of my head was beginning its healing process, I had to manage with just the one hearing aid – that was a hard month! One hearing aid was just not enough, but we made it through that part.
On Feb 10th, the CI was activated and yes, I can hear:
a WHOLE LOT of ‘noise’ – yikes!
But, I can’t understand hardly any of the words in conversations with just the CI on (hearing aid off). This is normal.
The brain has to be TRAINED to work with the computer, and this is a process.
Here’s what my ‘listening therapy’ looks like:
I have children’s books with unabridged CD’s from the library.
I listen to the CD, one page at a time:
The fox went out on a chilly night.
I might can guess at one word but the rest goes right over my head – clueless.
Then, I sit with the book and listen to that page again, while reading the words and saying to myself, “Oooo is that what they were saying?” …and coaching myself that’s it’s ok that I just FLUNKED – lol.
Part 3: I put the book down and listen again to that same line and having done both, my brain kinda gets the gist (well, that’s the theory, anyway).
…and it goes on and on like that.
The CI is AMAZINGLY POWERFUL – I can hear a clocks ticking LOUD on the wall across the room and the noise of my washing machine spinning in the laundry room down the hall from where I’m sitting sounds like a helicopter is outside my window ! No exaggeration; I called out to my husband and told him there must be a fire in the neighborhood and the news helicopter was flyin over our house.
Monday is my second programming with my Audiologist, Mary Lynn McDonald of Houston Research Foundation and I’m thinking she will adjust some of the (26?) electrodes that are coiled through my cochlea so that these environmental noises are brought into a more realistic range.
I have a remote control that can ‘up’ and ‘down’ the volume and also the sensitivity levels of the CI. For me, right now, I’m not able to go above #1 setting on either – TMI (too much information)!
…and so it goes – isn’t this AWESOME technology?!
Everything I’m experiencing is normal,
…and everybody’s different, how this process unfolds for them.
I told one of my fellow CI users how it was going for me and she said, “Gosh I wish mine was Louder!” – and so you see it’s all about the individual and their particular degree and kind of hearing loss. Its’s an amazingly intricate and complicated science to understand and interact with!
My poor husband…
PS – When I finish THE FOX went out on a chilly night, I have Blueberries for Sal, Madeline and The Little Prince waiting for me – revisiting all the years I spent reading these books over and over, and over again to so many children in my life.
…and I am grateful.
PSPS – also to know, it’s very important to rest during this process – it’s HUGE IMPACT on nerves that have been ‘out to lunch’, besides that your body is still healing from the surgery.
PSPSPS – yes, the tip of my tongue is still numb, my taste buds are still ‘out to lunch’ and food feel weird in my mouth (bummer). By now, I can feel the bottom half of my outer ear but the top half is still numb. And where the CI processor hangs from the ear, that whole area is totally numb.
It’s getting a little easier for me to wear my glasses now because my head is not so tender. And my cousin sent me 3 links for the kind of glasses CI users like to wear – glasses that have arm designs that don’t end up landing on and pressurizing the side of your head in exactly the spot where the processor hangs – thank you, Dianne!
Guruatma serves as a mentor for those who suffer from chronic or critical illness, as well as their family members. To inquire about or schedule a one-on-one session, click here: http://yogic-tools.com/services/contact-us/.
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