I keep meaning to write about the brand new mapping I got mid-October.
My audiologist switched me from the SPEAK speech coding strategy program to ACE speech coding strategy program and broadened the range of sounds that my CI can pick up.
Basically the SPEAK program is an older strategy program. My understanding is that it is not even available on the Nucleus 5 CI that came out last year. One of the reasons I ended up going with Cochlear Americas vs Advanced Bionics (even though I was pretty close to picking AB) was that Cochlear offered this SPEAK program. My general understanding (please correct me if I’m wrong) of the SPEAK speech coding strategy program is that it processes sounds slower. This helps with the brain recognizing sounds especially if a person has a similar hearing loss background as mine.
This generally works better for deaf people who have been deaf their whole life, were implanted late, and don’t have speech perception.
I really like the ACE program and am glad I was able to give this a try. I do want to make it a point that I am VERY glad I was able to be programmed with SPEAK the first 19 months. I do not think I would have adjusted to the CI as well if it had not been for the SPEAK. I really struggled for a long time (and still do at times) with being over-stimulated. The SPEAK program helped greatly with this.
My audiologist wasn’t sure how well I would handle the ACE program so she left the SPEAK program on my CI in case I wanted to switch back. I have played around with switching back to the SPEAK but usually go back to ACE within 5 minutes.
I do have to admit that it is harder to turn the CI on in the mornings with the ACE than it was with the SPEAK. It’s such a jolt. Sometimes I find myself avoiding turning it on because of that jolt but then I remind myself it only takes 5 seconds to adjust to it. Then I can go on with the rest of my day just fine.
I was mapped with this whole brand new program the day before I left for the NSGC conference which wasn’t the best idea but it turned out okay. Words, environmental sounds, and background sounds did sound differently than with the SPEAK. I had to adjust very quickly so I could get used to what I was hearing at the conference.
One mistake I did make was that I had taken my CI off for a nap on the flight to the conference. I usually leave my CI on if I can when flying. However, it kept falling off because I was leaning against the window on the implanted ear and I was worried I would lose it. I was half asleep when I decided to put it back on and I was sitting right next to the loudest part of the plane.
Bad idea. I jumped out of my seat. Painful!
Imagine if you had been sound asleep in a very quiet room and woke up to the noise of a jet right next to your bed. Yeahhhh…..not pleasant.
One CI moment that has stuck in my mind for the past month occurred while listening to a presentation at the conference. I was sitting in a spot where I could not see the person who was speaking at all. Halfway through her speech, I noticed her voice sounded different. I could not put my finger on it. I kept trying to get a good look at her to see her expression but couldn’t see her at all. I must have looked really confused because my interpreter told me that the speaker was crying.
In some ways I have had to relearn certain sounds with the ACE program because some things do sound different. I am still getting used to it but am enjoying it.
I also had been having issues with the volume of sounds constantly changing throughout the day. Things would sound really soft at times and I was becoming frustrated. I would find myself having to constantly adjust the volume on my laptop and occasionally maxing out the volume. Now, it’s been very stable for the past month and half which has been wonderful.
I hope to blog soon about one very big con that I have had with my CI ever since I’ve been implanted: Sirens. If it wasn’t for this issue, I would seriously consider going bilateral. It has made me rethink the whole CI + aid vs CI + CI thing.