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A year with bilateral cochlear implants

So now it’s 2011. I received my first CI in April 2009 and the second in late December 09 – so I’m officially over a year being bilateral. It’s been great. Life is good and pretty much what I’d call normal. I can hear a lot better in many situations. I find myself having one-on-one conversations in very noisy places (a Wine Guild holiday party with about 80 people in a small space – Don had a headache when we left from the noise!). I still participate a lot more if someone’s talking to ME specifically. One-on-one conversation guarantees this, but I’m finding that it happens more often now as a side conversation than it used to. For example, at lunch with a group of five people, I can switch between the main conversation and talking to someone next to me and usually not be too lost when I go back to the group. I catch enough so that I can be filled in with a quick ‘what was that?’ or ‘who were you talking about?’ It used to be a lot harder to catch up to a conversation like that.

I’ve discovered a lot of new things in some of the songs I’ve listened to for years. Usually it’s a high-frequency solo filling in what used to seem to me to be just a boring spot. A harmonica in Billy Joel’s Piano Man… Some kind of flute or pipe in Moxy Fruvous’s Johnny Saucep’n… Hey I bet I can hear those tinkling things at the end of Dreamed A Dream… haven’t given that a good listen yet, but they were one of the things I remember feeling the loss of when I first lost my hearing in 1993. (Time for new music?)

I’m still playing in the 90-piece concert band and the 6-member saxophone ensemble. It took a few CI mappings before the trumpets playing too loud stopped making my face twitch from the first CI. Speaking of mappings, I haven’t been to UNC for an appointment since last year, I think mid or late March. I could probably use one, but don’t have anything specific that needs tweaking.

Another thing that’s amazingly easier than it used to be: having a conversation in the car in the dark. At least with Don, I don’t get many opportunities to test this with other people.

So all is going really well, and there’s generally not a lot that seems exciting enough to bother blogging about. That’s a pretty good testimonial!

HLAA Convention 2011I just saw that the HLAA convention is in Washington, DC this year. I’ve never been but it always seemed interesting, so I’m going to plan to attend since I’m only 2 hours away. (I used to work in Crystal City and we always walked for coffee at the Starbucks in the Hyatt that’s hosting the conference.) I know it’s way out in June, but let me know if you’re going.


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2 replies on “A year with bilateral cochlear implants”

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    WisDeaf says:

    I am glad to hear that you are doing very well with the CI. Hope it continues for the years to come. I wish you the best. 🙂

  2. Share

    Seth says:

    Hello Sara,

    That’s great that everything is working out for you. My background is very similar to yours and I hope things work out as great for me. I was activated just about 3 weeks ago, it’s had ups and downs. Some times I feel a bit discouraged because I’m not making progress.

    I was wanting to go bilateral if everything went well after 6 months, but I’m really worried about losing the deep bass that my unimplanted ear hears. I read that you have hybrid implants, how does the bass feel to you? Does it feel more like your ear is taking care of it or the CI?

    Hopefully things will start making sense soon! *crosses fingers*

    You can find me at

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