Wednesday, August 8, 2012

So how is the implant working?

I have to say, the hardest question to answer lately is when someone asks me 'so how is the implant working?'. No matter how I try to answer it, it's really difficult. I try to remain positive when answering, but there are days that I may plain out sound completely depressed about my progress. It's just like asking someone 'how are you feeling today?'. You don't always get a happy, chipper response.

Anyway, that said, I saw the audiologist today for a new mapping. When she asked the dreaded question that I knew was coming, I just looked at her and said, 'ya know, I know its working, but it is just not where I would like to be and honestly this is all testing my patience levels'. She just kinda laughed and said ok, well, let's discuss some things and see what I can do to try and help you out.

I have been wearing the processor between 8-10 hours a day. I don't always put it on first thing in the morning and there has been days that I've walked out my door forgetting to put it on. I still have my hearing aid in my non-implanted ear and I can hear some from it, so its very easy to forget especially in a hurry. The first couple hours are rough, having to start out at a low volume and increase the volume throughout the day. I do wear my hearing aid quite a bit through the day, which I really need to try harder to not rely on it so much. It's VERY hard to do especially when you have kids to keep an eye on through the day. So when they are watching TV or playing nicely, I'll turn my hearing aid off, it goes back on when they come out to me needing something. When I'm not needing my hearing aid on for any reason, I turn it off. I should spend some more time on AVT (audio verbal therapy).

The audiologist went through the series of beeps, telling her what I can tolerate and such. This time we did some listening of 4 words (bathtub, toothbrush, sandwich, and hot dog) she said without lipreading and trying to figure out what word it was I heard. I got bathtub and sandwich no problem. Toothbrush and hot dog, I would get them mixed up as well as thinkng toothbrush was bathtub or hot dog was bathtub. We also did series of some sounds, such as eeee, oo, shhh, sssss, ahhh. I got some of them as well, but also mixed some up. I told my audie then that 'I can definitely see how this is going to be a lot of work to learn to hear again from my implanted ear'. I was put in the sound booth to press a button when I heard the static type noise. Honestly because of the change she had just made on the processor and hearing all the annoying noise, I could NOT hear or at least not able to tell the difference between what was making my nerves go haywire or if it was the static sound I was suppose to be hearing.

I left her office with another appointment in 2 months. Let's see what kind of progress I can make until then. Meanwhile, for those of you considering getting implanted, I think that my blog can just give you an enlightment of it is possible you may not hear 'speech' right at activation. I read MANY MANY blogs and stories prior to my surgery and activation, that I had such high hopes I'd be one of the lucky ones. I also seemed to have read more stellar success stories than I read of ones that weren't as the 'success' we want to have. Ultimately, our goal is to be able to comprehend speech and when that doesn't happen at activation, it is a complete let down. It is an absolute amazement though that I even picked up ANY sound at all. So when I hear things such as the horn on a car blaring, door shutting, blinker on the car clicking, the kids screaming/fighting with each other, or even water running, it is enlightment to me that my implant IS working. And eventually I will get to my ultimate goal of comprehending speech, just going to take a lot of time and 'brain training'.

So how is the implant working? Just like it should. :)