It seems like I am making progress every day now. It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I ditched the hearing aid for my right ear and I’m sure that is what I owe my progress to.
I belong to an online discussion community, hearingjourney.com that is sponsored by the company that made my CI, Advanced Bionics. Registration is open to anyone and I started communicating and asking questions last December. I’ve continued to share my progress with this group and they have made some wonderful suggestions of different program settings they have tried to hear better in certain situations. It’s great that there are so many options for programming and everyone’s brain and auditory nerve work differently together. The programming process is truly one of trial and error.
Last week I began to focus on being able to use the telephone again to talk. With my hearing aids, I had a device that would let the person’s voice on the other end of the discussion be sent directly to my hearing aids through a Bluetooth connection. Alternatively, I could usually also use the speaker for conversations. Sound was not amplified enough, though, to simply hold a phone to my ear and hear.
Cochlear implants offer similar technology. I have 2 devices that can pair with my cell phone so I can talk using a Bluetooth connection. In testing them this week I learned that the volume is too low to have a conversation. I’ll have these settings adjusted this week and try them out again after.
The main microphone on the Advanced Bionics cochlear implant is called a t-mic. It’s attached to the front of the processor that sits on my ear and hangs in the opening of my ear. The purpose is to provide a more realistic hearing process. Because the microphone is located at the opening of my ear, I found out that I can also have telephone conversations by holding the phone very naturally up to my ear.
I haven’t held the phone up to my ear and talked since sometime in 2013. That was with my right ear. I haven’t held the phone up to my left ear and talked since 2008!
This was my first moment of having tears in my eyes since surgery. I’ve been able to “hear” with my hearing aids so when my cochlear implant was activated it wasn’t a tear jerking moment like some of the videos that are online. Getting back some of the things I assumed were gone forever leaves me speechless.
Thanks to all for the encouragement over these last several weeks. The kindness will never be forgotten!