MAPping Week #1

Yesterday was my MAPping appointment, nothing exciting….just your usual MAPping appointment.  The volume was increased and I was given additional programs (eg. Noise, Zoom, and Music).  My MAP hasn’t changed that much.

My audiologist is very pleased with how quickly things are moving and she wants me to go one more week before going bilateral.  However, she did say to wear the left CI at times so it doesn’t become lazy.

She did the NRT (Nerve Response Telemetry) to make sure the electrodes were stimulating the nerve and that it looked okay compared with my MAP.  It looked great.

As for MAPping all it consists of is going through each electrodes and you let the audiologist know when you first hear something and when it’s at a comfortable loud level.  It’s more tricky than it sounds since each electrode sounds different and you’re not sure what you’re listening for.  You’re not sure if you’re hearing it or not at first because it’s so quiet.  Only about 10 of my electrodes are mapped individually even though I have 22.  If I remember correctly from my first implant, they do this since each electrode are really near each other and they can use the computer program to map the remaining…or something like that.

It also involves listening to two different sounds and then having to inform the audiologist if those two sounds are at the same volume or if one sounds louder than the other.  This is also more tricky than it sounds since the two sounds are at different pitches.  It took me forever with the first implant to figure out how to listen to the volume even though sometimes the differing pitches made it difficult.  This helps ensure the sounds are balanced.  I would say this is done about 20 times (10 times at a quieter volume and 10 times at a louder volume).

What we expect to do at next week’s appointment:

–Switch the speech coding strategy from a slower one to a quicker one (sounds will be processed quicker)

–Map the Nucleus 5 for my left ear so I can go bilateral

First Week

It has been one week since my right ear was activated…it feels like it’s been a lot longer than just one week….in a good way.  It feels so natural to have a second ear “hearing” even though I’m not officially bilateral just yet.  I feel like I’ve had this implant for at least a couple of months and not just a week.

For the most part I’m able to recognize most of the sounds that I hear with my left implant but it sounds VERY different compared with the right implant…. environmental sounds are louder, voices are quieter and everything is high-pitched.

When my left ear was implanted 2.5 years ago it was a very difficult experience for me due to my hearing loss background.  Most people don’t struggle with their implant as much as I did those first few months.  Heck, I even referred to it as my torture device.  I was miserable and extremely frustrated for a while.   I remember thinking that I would never get a second one….boy, how things changed.  It was worth going through what I did with the first implant.

I feel like I’m getting a taste of what many people get when they get their first implant…a more positive experience.  I’ve been nothing but excited about this whole thing even though I know I have long ways to get the right ear up to the same level that the left ear is at.  It’s been fun and enjoyable this time around.

Later today will be my first MAPping (not sure how that’s different from the two initial stimulation days last week) and am ready for a new MAP (things are getting too quiet).  I have all my fingers and toes crossed that my audiologist will transfer my right MAP onto my new N5 processor so I can be officially bilateral!

Aural Rehab Round #2

I did some aural rehab via a computer program last Thursday.  For more information read this post:  Aural Rehab

I probably should clarify that I do my aural rehab in a very quiet place and am directly plugged into my laptop via an audio cable which makes a huge difference in my performance.

Anyways, I haven’t done any aural rehab since Thursday and decided to do some today with the newly implanted ear:

Thursday (August 11th):  54%

Today (August 15th):  64%

Yay!!!  🙂

I am ready for a new MAP on Wednesday….

Almost Officially Bilateral

I got the ok from my audiologist to experiment with wearing both CIs at the same time.

I didn’t want to go too long without wearing my older CI but it’s also important that my newly implanted ear has the opportunity to do some catching up.  It may never catch up since they’re 2 and half years apart or it may take years for it to catch up or it may take months.  We’ll see!

My newly implanted ear also hasn’t heard much for 2 and half years since I didn’t wear hearing aids much after getting my first CI.  I just didn’t like the CI-HA combination for myself but can see how it would be beneficial for some people.

My audiologist suggested (via email) to turn on the Freedom (left ear, the N5 hasn’t been programmed for that ear yet) at a very low volume since it had been a few days since I wore that CI and because it’s louder with 2 CIs on.  She didn’t want me to adjust the N5 volume at all since she wants me to focus on the newly implanted ear.

The newly implanted ear definitely has some catching up to do since it sounds a bit quieter and high-pitched compared to the other ear.  I could tell that the more experienced ear was trying to overtake the newly implanted ear.  When I took the more experienced CI off, I could barely hear with the newly implanted ear for a few seconds until my brain readjusted.  However, there were a few moments where things sounded more high-pitched with both CIs on…..those were the moments that my brain was allowing the newly implanted CI to hear.

Oy, that was a confusing paragraph to type.  I can’t figure out the best terms to use to refer to which ear I’m talking about (newly implanted, more experienced, the Freedom one, the old one, left ear, etc…)….lol….sorry if it’s confusing to follow!  🙂

My initial reaction after trying both CIs at the same time:  I’M GONNA LIKE THIS

My reaction after wearing it for an hour:  I LOVE THIS

My reaction after trying it again after a 3 hour break:  THIS IS COOL

It’s going to take a lot of time and patience to make both CIs work together and to ensure that the newly implanted ear catches up.  There will be moments when I will be frustrated.   It won’t be an easy road but I’m very excited to see what the long-term results will be.

Once my back-up N5 gets mapped for the old implanted ear, I will be officially bilateral.  I think I will spend a couple of hours a day wearing only the left CI.  It is kind of hard having to take many steps backwards in order to hopefully achieve a goal.  I have to focus on what is currently my “poor” ear while I know that I hear better and prefer my older CI…

Patience…patience…patience! 😀

Maybe I Should Open Up A HA/CI Shop

I have gone through about 5 pairs of hearing aids , a FM for classroom use, and 2 pairs of CIs since I was diagnosed at 20 months.  I still have my last 2 pairs of hearing aids.

I could practically open up a HA/CI shop with all of these laying around!  My hearing aids were the largest behind-the-ear hearing aids on the market at the time and it’s funny to see how small they look compared to my CIs.

The HAs/CIs in the above picture are what I have listened to the world with for the last 13 years.  When I look at them it brings back memories of frustration and joy.  It’s hard to describe what hearing aids have represented (good and bad) in my life so I think that’s a post for another time.

Now that I can no longer wear hearing aids (residual hearing is damaged when you have CI surgery), I will be donating both pairs for others to use.  I will be bringing all of these HAs/CIs to my next appointment and will be leaving with only the CIs.  It will be an odd feeling to leave that chapter of my life behind.

#821 and #998

I was looking at my CI center’s Facebook page last night and noticed that the 1,000th CI surgery at this CI center was performed a week after mine.  It was done by a different surgeon than mine….the one who set up this center 31 years ago.

1,000 CI surgeries in 31 years…pretty cool!  They currently do about 1-2 CI surgeries per week.  Of course, that made me curious as to if I was #999 or #998 so I asked!

Left ear was the 821th CI surgery and right ear was the 998th CI surgery.  Just a fun random fact.  🙂

Aural Rehab….

I’m not your typical CI user.  I rely on my CI for environment awareness and to help with lip-reading.  I cannot understand speech without any visual clues aside from a very limited number of simple words (e.g. “yes”)

That being said, my aural rehab usually consists of a computer program that you can download from Advanced Bionics’ website.  Cochlear Americas has a computer program that they give you when you get implanted which I do use from time to time as well.

Here’s a screenshot:

The computer program speaks one of the 4 words  and you have to choose which one is being said.  There are 10 different levels and a listening test.  Click on the below image to see the details of how each of the 10 levels are different.

I usually struggle with the same first consonant different vowel, initial manner, and initial voicing levels.  There’s something about the first part of words that throws me off.

I generally get around 70-75% correct with my left ear (implanted 2009) on the listening test…if it wasn’t for all the initial voicing levels I would get around 90%.  I decided to try it out with the newly implanted ear (right ear) and got 54%.  Yeah, I know that on a grade scale a 54% is a “F”….but I am surprised I got that high of a score less than 48 hours after activation and I’ll happily take it.  Woot!