Mapping Appointment #3
Wednesday afternoon I went for my first CI rehab appointment with a friend of mine who also has a CI. I did well. We started with days of the week in a closed set. She used a screen to hide her face so I couldn’t lipread and said 2 days of the week which I had to repeat back. We gradually worked up to all 7 of the days of the week. One day I missed often was Thursday. After that, we changed from days of the week to months of the year, starting with 4 months, again gradually working up to all 12 months of the year. February was a hard month to get sometimes. Then we moved to states. I remember missing Iowa (I thought she said Ireland, even though I knew it’s not a state!), Hawaii and Ohio. We worked our way to combining all 3 topics, days, months and states. Overall, it was a good session that made me feel better about where I’m functioning with the CI. It helped me to realize that I’m doing better than I thought I was doing and gave me the courage to go most of the morning Thursday and Friday with my implant only. I did fairly well, though I had to have visual cues either with signing or lipreading and really the only reason why I turned my aid back on Thursday was because my voice was just so robotic sounding it was driving me up the wall! I decided that it was time for a break and turned the aid back on. Friday I probably was without my aid much more because I had a half day at work and went to Vanderbilt for a mapping appointment. I pretty much only turned my aid on when I was at the drive thru getting lunch and dinner and sometimes for music, though not always.
At my mapping appointment, I explained that the only sounds that really bothered me was the classroom toilet when it flushed (it’s a VERY loud toilet!) and a screaming baby. Not so much the volume, more that it was a higher pitch sound. We went through the tones “test” again, where I had to listen to a tone and tell the audiologist when it was too loud. I feel like I’ve messed up some of the previous mapping, because I am starting to understand more about the process and how things sound with the implant, but I am trying to remember that there is not a right or wrong way, only what works for me, much the same as hearing aid programming. We did have to turn down some sounds because I could either feel a vibration on the implant sight or I felt like I could hear it in my left ear. We picked a sound processing mode and set up 4 programs: a main program, one for noisy situations, one for sounds that are farther away, and a program that’s simply louder. I’m supposed to go back in 3-4 weeks, but at the moment I don’t have another appointment scheduled. We are going to try to coordinate an appointment with the surgeon, since he wants to see me again in 3 months. Hopefully something will work out so that I won’t have to drive for an appointment with him, only to be out of the office in 5 minutes! It will be interesting to see where I am in the next month or so and how much I adjust to the new settings and what future adjustments we will be making. I will probably start carrying around a little notebook and keeping a mini-journal of sounds I hear clearly, sound quality (when the audiologist spoke, it seemed like her voice sounded more natural, though most everything else does not necessarily sound that way), background noise and how much difficulty I have understanding people in those situations, etc. Also, it will be good to document when I can start understanding things, even just a few things, without needing to have those visual cues all the time.
It’s funny how many people think I am miraculously hearing great. I can completely understand this from people who, prior to meeting me or reading this blog, knew nothing about cochlear implants. The crazy thing is the people who I HAVE explained that it’s a process and sound is not normal for me and that I have to relearn how to hear and understand sounds. I received an e-mail yesterday from someone whom I suppose I should call a coworker, though I really don’t like to. This e-mail was sent to several people and explained to them that I am “hearing impaired, but due to a recent procedure now can hear much better.” I really don’t know where this information was received, because not only did I never say this, but I had to ask the person to repeat what was said several times!!! And that was with my hearing aid on. I think the best thing that has come from this whole experience is knowing that I have helped to educate a few people about hearing loss and what hearing aids and cochlear implants are really like.