I had the 1 month appointment after the activation of my right side implant Wednesday. I’ve been using the right processor only as much as I could since it was activated. That strategy worked great following activation for the left side. My experience has been so amazing in that from the moment of activation I could understand most speech, so it was not a huge challenge after activation of either processor to only listen with one.
First to share an update about the physical side effects following surgery. The dizziness/vertigo has almost went away entirely. I’ve continued to use the scopolamine patch behind my ear. I will try going without it soon to see how much help it’s giving actually giving me. As for the side effects from my facial nerve being touched, moved around, bruised, they are still present, but may be starting to go away. The numb tongue is not nearly as bad as it was. My taste on the right side of my mouth isn’t back, though. There are some things I can taste on that side, but not many. The thing that bugs me the most is the dry mouth. It’s hard to swallow food sometimes because of it. My voice tends to get hoarse at the end of the day if it’s really bad that day. There are days when it doesn’t seem that bad. On those days, I don’t think about it much because it doesn’t bother me as much. On the days when it’s worse, though, I usually end up with a sore tongue as well. I’m using mouth moisturizer spray and dry mouth toothpaste and they do help some. I’m told that it will just take time to resolve. I feel somewhat guilty for complaining about this stuff since I’ve had such a great outcome from the surgery. I have several new friends who have CI surgery around the same time that I did and, for various reasons, they are still working on being able to identify environmental noises and can’t understand words yet. Perspective is powerful!
OK, on to the appointment last Wednesday.
First, we tested again and I don’t have any residual hearing in my right ear. That’s OK. There’s a little left in my left ear. It’s so little that it isn’t useful/functional. The research going on in the area of preserving residual hearing is important, and was once never considered possible. There are many people who are considering having CI surgery who mention fear of losing residual hearing as a reason for not being able to make the surgery decision. I totally understand that. Before surgery in June, I could faintly hear sounds in my right ear without a hearing aid. With a hearing aid I could hear sounds fairly well, but speech perception was lousy. I thought several times about what it would be like if I could no longer hear the faint sounds I could hear without a hearing aid. Truthfully, I haven’t really missed it. My functional hearing has improved so much and that’s really all that matters.
Next we did word recognition testing. I got 76% of the words correct with my right ear, the newly implanted one. With both left and right processors on, I got 100% of the words correct!! Interestingly enough, we also tested my left ear (implanted last February) and my word recognition went down some from the last time it was tested. The audiologist and I talked about it and it’s probably due to the fact that since the right implant was activated I haven’t had the left processor on much. I’ve tried to only used the right side with the hope that it will connect with my brain faster and make sounds and words be more “natural” sounding. That strategy worked well for both ears. I was advised to wear both processors from here on out since my scores were so good.
My journey is far from over. The success of the surgeries has blown me away. I expected good results and never really had any idea about how long good results would take so for them to take only months to get to this point is so great.