Four months, research, music

Let’s see how I do with my last post’s list.  I’m going to take CI/hearing topics today.

1. 4 months with CI

That’s right.  I was activated way back on May 4th.  I’ve been in for just 3 mappings since then at 2 weeks, 1 month and 3 months (though all were a bit late).

My audiogram has remained hovering around 25-35 all the way across.  I think it is low because my maps are still getting a bit louder each time and they do the test Before I get a new map.

I still prefer the Med-El FSP (Fine Structure Processing) versus the HD-CIS program.  My audiologists still insist that I keep trying both.  So one of my program slots is still HD.  They both sound good to me, so it’s just a matter of what I am used to.  Music sounds more musical in FSP.  FSP may also work better with background noise.

On being bimodal (that’s CI + hearing aid), at my 1 month map my audiologist said I could start wearing my hearing aid again whenever I wanted to, but suggested I decide one way or the other and stick with it.  So I have been wearing both all of the time. Thankfully my CI and HA are working together now.  Originally the CI was canceling the HA out and I couldn’t hear anything at all through it.  It was strange and scary that even with the CI turned off my HA didn’t sound “right” after the implant.

One thing this has really reinforced for me is that Ear Molds Suck!  My unimplanted ear with the hearing aid is always going through a cycle of scabby, sore, gooey, sore, dried out, scabby, etc.  I think this is worse because I have been swimming at the gym once a week.  My implanted ear is perfectly normal. No ear mold is a nice thing.

At my 3 month mapping I was tested wearing both the HA and the CI in noise.  I scored in the 90s.  With just the CI I scored in the 70s.  So it’s helping in noise, or maybe the second set of sentences was easier.  It seemed a lot easier.

When making my next mapping appointment (6 months, in November) they suggested I see my ENT just in case I want to talk about implanting my other ear.  I agreed to this because there are monetary insurance related reasons for doing it in 2009.  I’m trying not to let that influence my decision too much.

2. CI #2?  2 CIs versus 1 CI and 1 HA versus bilateral EAS

I’ve seen a lot of articles claiming that a CI + a hearing aid gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to sound, especially music.  I’ll agree that this has been my experience.

We went out dancing at a club in Washington, DC last weekend.  Instead of the normal bass that sounds the same with or without my hearing aids, the CI was adding the rhythm section to it.  It was a nice effect and helped me appreciate the faster beat that’s on top of that boom boom boom of the bass.

I asked my audi about CI+HA versus 2 CIs and she suggested I contact a researcher.  Small world, he was someone I had emailed with last spring.  I owed him an updated.

His answer was that you can’t make any kind of decision without knowing exactly how well you’re doing right now.  Just CI, CI + HA, HA in implanted ear + CI + HA.  But his gut feeling was that Two CIs are great for localizing sounds, but One CI and One HA are better for lower tone quality and hearing in noise.  He also said that they have been very impressed with  CI + bilateral hearing aids.  But that 25% of people who preserve residual hearing after implantation are still losing it later on.

In the end he asked if I’d be itnerested in visiting the Mayo clinic for some research at some point, so I’m waiting to see if that gets set up.

My own feelings, the CI provides SO MUCH sound, and it does not sound bad at all.  It sounds very normal apart from the timbre of music sounding different than before.  If I can get use from a hearing aid in the implanted ears that would be the best of both worlds… but we will see.  Technology is always changing too.

3. Music lately

With bimodal hearing music sounds better than ever.  My hearing aid ear picks up the sounds I’m used to hearing and the CI adds the higher sounds I’ve not heard in years.

Some singing voices still have a bit of a chipmunk-like tinge to them – not in pitch, just in quality.

The sound “Oooooooo” never sounds right.

Some instruments have a harmonica-like tinge, or a squeaky violin timbre.

Sometimes listening to a single instrument, or playing my saxophone alone, I will hear double.  The HA and the CI have different qualities and in some frequencies my brain doesn’t automatically blend them into the same single sound.

For a while I couldn’t hear the difference between two notes that were a half-step apart when I was playing.  This resulted in many jabs from the people sitting next to me.  I seem to have gotten over that now.  I need to do a listening test to see how my pitch recognition has improved.

I also bought a pair of t-coil headphones of the type that stick behind your ears.  I think the quality of the sound on these is better than the sound that comes through my Med-El direct input cable. Not sure.  Maybe a richer sound.

10. Using the phone, for work, for home, CapTel

I’ve never been a fan of the phone.  At some point I will probably decide that it makes my life at work easier to use it… but the way things are now, my boss loves to make phone calls and so he does that all day while I type reports on the computer (something he “can’t” do, he writes things by hand and the secretary types them (even though she isn’t really a secretary)).

I still call the Cochlear listening line to see how things are sounding.  This week one of the lists was impossible.  Ought, It, Ash, Own… yikes.

At work I have an old school CapTel phone set up with 2 lines, but the ringer is turned off and I don’t take incoming calls.  If someone leaves a voice mail I will call in to see what it is.  If I could get the new CapTel that works with our digital phone lines and the internet I might be able to see caller ID and that would be excellent.  I hate not knowing who is calling – it makes it impossible to predict the conversation.

On another note, I love my Google Voice line.  The transcription doesn’t work perfectly, but it highlights the text as it plays the recording so you can try to follow along.

3 Comments

  1. erin
    Sep 11, 2009

    I did a post on all my audiograms etc over the past year. and I also just got a new hearing aid that’s on loan now. It’s definitely much more balanced.

    I’m back to enjoying music a lot more. However, when i tried the telecoil hooks with my ipod, i had always been using those, for some reason it’s not sounding quite right. but when i listen to my ipod stuff in my car, it sounds good, but directly feeding into the CI and the hearing aid, not so much. i don’t know if it’s the programming of the HA.

    My battery died for my hearing aid yesterday, so i had to take it off. Wow the sound difference with the CI, i definitely feel a whole lot more balanced with the HA on. I truly think it’s been so much more enhanced.
    .-= erin´s last blog ..A to do list….on going! =-.

  2. Daisy
    Sep 12, 2009

    ” Technology is always changing too.” So true. I don’t think a CI is an option for me; my hearing loss is due to nerve damage. But I can appreciate the challenges with phone lines and other issues. I have trouble hearing the intercom at school; it’s old, poor quality, and if there’s any background noise (i.e. kids talking!) I’m lost.
    .-= Daisy´s last blog ..Random thoughts and sights near my classroom =-.

  3. Nabeel
    Sep 13, 2009

    So is there actually a CapTel that works on digital lines? I could use one at my work.
    .-= Nabeel´s last blog ..So I actually talked on the phone =-.

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