I had a one-week post activation appointment last Thursday and I’m happy to report that things are progressing nicely.
There are some benefits of having 2 implants from a technology standpoint – at least with the manufacturer of my implants, Advanced Bionics (the best in the field of manufacturers in my opinion). Even though each hearing nerve is different, they both feed into the brain and ultimately work well together. There are 2 programs that I’m trying out for the next month. The first is called StereoZoom. With one implant there is an UltraZoom function to help focus on conversations directly in front of you like a meeting or dinner. StereoZoom does the same thing, but for both ears at the same time. The second program is called DuoPhone. When holding the phone up to my ear, the caller’s voice is streamed into both ears at the same time. That’s cool!
I’m trying to only use the new implant as much as I can. I’ll admit, though, that it’s difficult because I’m really enjoying hearing in stereo. My right ear needs the rehab and the time by itself, though, so it can get as good as the left hear with understanding speech and all the other noises of the world.
To share how technologically advanced cochlear implants are, I’ll share a story from my appointment last Thursday. We started by setting a comfort level of volume on each of the 16 channels on the electrode that is inside my cochlea. When we went into the hearing booth, though, I wasn’t picking up a few of the lower frequencies so we went back into the computer room to make adjustments and then went back to the hearing booth. After those adjustments, I could pick up those lower frequencies.
Now a bit about the surgery side effects. I still have a very dry mouth and basically can’t taste anything on the right side of my tongue. Water tastes salty and most foods don’t have a “normal” taste yet. The dry mouth isn’t pleasant but it’s also made eating some foods, like meat, a challenge. I can’t eat meat (or other foods) that is too dry and I can’t take bits that too large of anything or I choke trying to swallow.
I found out that the dizziness and room spinning is probably a disorder called BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). Oddly enough, there are tiny crystals in a gel type substance that are inside some canals in the inner ear. When those crystals find themselves out of place, they send a false signal to the brain of movement and that’s where the room spinning comes from. I’ve had a few episodes, the last one last Wednesday. If they persist, there is a treatment to get the crystals back in place where they belong.
While bothersome, these things are time limited and can never overshadow the amazing gift of hearing!!