14 weeks post surgery 10 weeks post switch on

Standard

Last week I went up to Sunnybrook for an mapping and rehabilitation appointment. I love that my ear is being rehabilitated, it was bad and now it has being given the chance to be a better ear, as long as it does the work it will be fine.

At my appointment we went over the phonemes, the eeee, oooo, awww, mmmm, sshhh and ssss sounds. This is where Amy repeats those sounds while her face is hidden – so no lipreading – and I repeat what I have heard.  I mixed up a few  oooo and mmmm sounds, but not many. We also went over some lists of words that sound similar, I did pretty well in these too but mainly confusing k and s sounds or not hearing the s sound at the end of a word. These are the high frequency sounds that I am not used to hearing.

After this Amy tweaked the settings some more and switched on the last and highest channel. She then adjusted the other frequencies by increasing the volume on some so that the low frequencies are now getting closer to all being the same volume. The high frequencies are still at lower volumes but they are at my highest level of tolerance – for now. Each visit they are turned up a little.

When I listened to the sound of the new map it sounded richer but it had less clarity. This was because of the balance between the low and high frequencies. Each time I have left a mapping session feeling that I didn’t really like the new map and that it would take time to get used to, and each time it doesn’t take any time at all.

I haven’t really been listening to music much at all and still have silence in the house when I could be playing some CDs. It’s just habit really. One piece that I do listen to is Holst’s Planet Suite.   It’s my yardstick for showing me how much more I can hear. The increasing detail and number of instruments, the higher frequencies, the other notes that are there compared to what I thought was there. It’s fascinating. It’s also emotional on many levels for me. In one of the pieces, Neptune, there is a choral section that becomes more and more silent. When I was searching for a reference I found this very relevant quote from his daughter “unforgettable, with its hidden chorus of women’s voices growing fainter and fainter… until the imagination knew no difference between sound and silence”.

Amy and I talked about the psychological effects of hearing again via a cochlear implant. Some of the feelings that I have had include immense joy, thankfulness, anger and resentment at some things from the past, questioning how life would have mapped out without hearing loss. Not that I would want to be anywhere else right now. The bad stuff in life gets you to a good place quite often. If my life had been different then I wouldn’t be sharing my life with MLM, and I wouldn’t wish for that.

It’s barely 3 months since my CI was switched on and the improvement is phenomenal, many times better than before. Of course it all depends on where you start, I think I can hear brilliantly until I realise that I have missed something, or can’t hear because of background noise. Someone else coming to this level of hearing from being able to  would feel disabled, I feel enabled.

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14 responses »

  1. Enabled – that’s a powerful word Mog and I love it – and it allows me a further glimpse into what the CI has done for you, as if the blog doesn’t do that enough already. I am just so chuffed for you really!

    Will there be many more mapping sessions?

    • I have another mapping in 4 weeks, then the next one is January, then I think it’s March, May and then yearly.

      They keep a close eye on you

  2. I don’t know if you realize this or not, but it’s really your brain that’s being rehabilitated. It’s your brain that does the listening, decoding the auditory information, and processing of that information. The CI really just helps your brain to get more information from sounds.

    Brains are quite an amazing yet plastic thing to work with!

    Sounds like you’re making good progresses. Try not to dwell too much on the past, but think about all the opportunities that you are now handed with now that you have your CI and you’ve realized what it has brought to you in your life.

    • Hi Jonathan, yes I do realise that it’s my brain and not my ear. I suppose one could say that the auditory pathways are al part of the ear and the hearing process, so in that sense it is my ear.

  3. It looks like you’re doing great! Interesting to know that you don’t like the new mappings when you first get them but soon adjust – I’ll know to be patient with any mappings when its my turn. Also good to know that you can enjoy a powerful piece of music! All music sounds ‘flat’ to me – or at least when I could hear it before.

    Onwards and upwards!!

    • Yes, Flat music that describes what I used to hear well, you know there is something missing but don’t realise how much until you hear it

  4. Hey Mog,

    You are moving along so splendidly. I am so happy for you.

    You sure bring back some memories for me. So many people only talk about the positive aspects of the whole process. I’m glad to see that you are acknowledging the feelings on the other side of the emotional spectrum.

    Your new blog is really great. I haven’t had much time for mine. When I get caught up on other projects, I hope to be able to work on it and write more. I’m just trying to keep with the blogs I follow for now.

    Cheers!

    • HI Glenice, I’m so pleased that you found the time to call by. Blog reading is definitely time consuming.
      I think it’s important to talk about the other stuff, it may help someone else and it helps me to talk about these things.

      Get working on that new blog!

  5. Just dropping by to see how you are doing. I can see and “hear” that you are enjoying the new sounds from your CI. Hopefully stem cells gives me a similar experience. Gotta save $30,000 for that and wait for the pioneers to get stem cells and learn of their results. Could be 3 years or so before I have the chance which isn’t all that long.

    • OO be careful that you go to a reputable place. I don’t think I could wait that long. I am enjoying being able to join in life so much now that I would resent having to wait any longer than I needed to.

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