End of Week One

Today makes a week since my cochlear implant was activated.

My friend asked me if I like it – of course my answer is “ask me in a few months”.

The robot voices are much less beepy now and are more mumbley and underwater sounding. Still not intelligible without lipreading or a script. My own voice still bothers me a lot. I don’t talk as much when I’m wearing the CI.

I’ve had really bad tinnitus ever since I stopped wearing two hearing aids (since the surgery). I’ve always had tinnitus, but hearing aids did a good job of masking it. It seems like the CI is making it worse instead of masking it, and it’s more roaring than ringing. For example when I type on my keyboard I hear it but both ears are filled with a very loud roar that keeps going for a minute or so after the noise stops and then it quiets slightly.

Speaking of the keyboard, my keyboard at work is insanely loud. It’s just your standard Dell desktop keyboard, and I could hear it with my hearing aids, but with the CI the clackity clack is very loud and disturbing. I might be shopping for a quieter keyboard. The one with my iMac at home is super quiet.

I discovered this morning on the way to work, that as weird as music sounds right now, it’s more fun to turn the CD player on than to listen to the road noise. I have a saxophone quartet CD in there that has a drummer along with the 4 saxes. I can keep up with the rhythm pretty good. It was a new CD that was in the car for a few weeks before surgery, so they are songs I’m familiar with but don’t KNOW perfectly. I need to make a new mp3 disk with some favorites I think.

I don’t have to turn the volume on the car CD player up even to half the level as before to have the music drown out the car noise.

One thing that has me somewhat worried and disturbed. My hearing aid in the UNimplanted ear sounds very strange to me now, even by itself. I know this is from my brain adapting… but it isn’t something I anticipated. I also hadn’t anticipated the effect of wearing the CI and the hearing aid together. The CI completely overpowers the hearing aid except at the lowest frequencies. It’s like I’m not wearing it at all. For now, I’m trying not to worry about this. I’m not supposed to use the hearing aid anyway until I get used to the CI. But right away I could tell why people might opt for two CIs rather than trying to be “bimodal”. Especially since it’s hard to find one audiologist who can support both your hearing aid and your CI.

I don’t have another appointment until a week from Thursday. It seems like a long time between initial turn on and mapping and going back for a new map, but I don’t have anything specific that’s bothering me, and I seem to have plenty of volume.

So bottom line – in the last week things have become less musical (filling in frequencies between the electrodes?) and less beepy, but still not easy to understand even though I can tell that I’m hearing consonants. I think a new map will help a lot.

8 Comments

  1. Nabeel
    May 12, 2009

    Well at least you are hearing the consonants, that’s gotta count for something especially you’re only a week in! That’s something I cannot do with my hearing aids, except when I say it myself in a quiet place.

    Nabeel’s last blog post: I don’t feel anything now

    • Sara
      May 12, 2009

      I can hear them… but they don’t line up or aren’t loud enough over the mumble… or something. It is pretty amazing though. When I say SSSSSS I hear this very high pitched tone – like a whistle, and SHHHH is much louder and a bit lower. I couldn’t hear either of these before, even when I said them myself.

      Banging my teeth together sounds like cowbell 🙂

  2. Kelly
    May 12, 2009

    That’s so cool that you can hear things so much more clearly already! I’m glad the first week seems to be going so well. Hopefully the doctor will be able to figure out some way to decrease the tinnitus or it will naturally decrease as you get used to the implant. That’s interesting about the keyboard difference. I agree though, not that my keys are too loud, but more that I prefer the way it sounds when I type on my mac more than my pc, the keys are just easier to press and make less noise so I type faster on it.

    Kelly’s last blog post: French Creole Restaurant Needs Your Approval

  3. Robyn Carter
    May 12, 2009

    You are doing well. Just a thought if your voice and your keyboard is too loud. You might try and find the frequency that those sounds are using. You’ll see which electrodes are being activated when you use those sounds. This way you might be able to turn those electrodes down slightly while you get used to them.

    I’ts a thought anyway 🙂

    Already after one week things are improving with your report that the sound are a little less beepy. That will continual to improve as your brain adjusts.

    I never could wear a hearing aid in teh other ear 15 years ago, my brain couldn’t get ussed to the two totally different sounds, so I biffed it completely. Never looked back, and now of course i have no hearing left in that ear for a hearing aid anyway 🙂

    Cheers
    Robyn

    Robyn Carter’s last blog post: Missing – Lost

  4. Charlotte
    May 13, 2009

    Hi Sara,
    I have been following your blog with interest because I wanted to see whats the input for using Hybrid implant. Seems to me that you are doing really well just after one week.
    I am CI user (freedom right ear) I was switched on nearly 9 months ago. When i was switched on the Audi wanted me to stick with HA aswell to get the low’s input. After few days I didn’t like it because my tinnitus was roaring etc (probably over whelmed with new sounds with CI and wearing HA for the first time in 16 years in my unimplanted left ear) I left HA out for few weeks and relied on CI. As my CI progressed I started wearing HA again granually increasing the hours. Now days I use both when I am at work, CI alone at other times. The CI overpowers the HA, I hear very little out of HA side but it seems to balance the sounds out. I do want 2nd CI but the british guidelines don’t allow us to have 2nd CI as an adult.
    The tapping sounds or other horrible sounds will fade as your brain gets used to the sound.

    Congrats for going CIborg!

    Regards

  5. earplugs
    May 17, 2009

    Hello Sara,

    I’m a late starter to your blog, but after reading it, I have one word I think describes you: couragous. Although I qualify for a cochlear implant (in both ears, actually), the thought of getting the implant terrifies me. It’s impressive that you had the guts to do it, and I really admire that!

    I’ve enjoyed reading about your experiences — from the surgery all the way up to how your brain is adjusting. Your attention to detail is incredible.

    Although I’m not a CI user, I have experienced the disorienting sound that comes with a new hearing aid. It takes time for the brain to get used to new ways of hearing, as your post proves. It sounds as though you are defying expectations and adjusting extremely fast!

    That’s fantastic that you can now hear music over the car noise — and I have to confess some jealousy at that! 🙂

    I hope sounds continue to improve for you! And I look forward to reading about your CI adventures! Maybe that will help me decide to “take the plunge” and get a CI myself!

    earplugs’s last blog post: Children of a Lesser God

  6. erin
    May 17, 2009

    Hi sara —

    you commented on my blog, so i thought i’d swing over here to check yours out. Seems like you just got implanted and activated. I can pretty much relate to you for not liking your own voice. Even now with my hearing aid, I don’t really like my voice that much anymore. the hearing aid definitely sounds different than it used to.

    and it is tough to find an audiologist to be able to work with both hearing aid and CI. I’m hoping that when I go back in july i can get the audiologist there to tweak the hearing aid at the same time as the CI. since when i just wear the hearing aid, it’s super quiet compared to the CI, maybe it’s not powerful enough.

    I’ll definitely be checking back here!

  7. Kate
    Jul 28, 2009

    Hi Sara,

    Exciting stuff, I have been reading your posts for your 1st and 2nd weeks, and I can’t tell you how great it is to hear of someone else having a similar experience to me.

    I got my implant switched on last week, and have been going nuts with all these news sounds!

    but it’s been good – just nice to know there are others out there that are having a similiar experience.

    Good luck for the future!

    kate

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