Saturday, May 18, 2013

Activation Day

My cochlear implant is activated. On Friday, I was fitted with my processor and turned on. It wasn't a miraculous thing like some people imagine. It wasn't clear. It wasn't even too loud. The first thing I heard was squeals and squeaks and beeps. Lots of them. Then with in a few minutes those squeaks and beeps only happened when people were speaking or there was sound in the room. Within the 40 minutes I was in the audiologist's office, the squeaks and beeps turned to words. Everything was very electronic. Voices sounded like robots. Yesterday, all sounds had an electronic quality. They were louder than before and they sounded like the sounds they are, but they were accompanied by an electronic ringing - like you might hear from a bad microphone - that hollow, ringing sound.

Today, sounds were fairly regular sounding - a little bit of the ringing remains. I notice that I can hear things that I could not before. So that is something to rejoice over! I heard the cat's bell yesterday for the first time. (OK, maybe that is something I am not going to rejoice over!) I can hear the keys on my keyboard clicking as I type. The rustle of paper. So, I discover that maybe I was not being quite as stealth as I thought when I sneak into my children's rooms or quietly try to do something without disturbing others.

Voices continue to sound like robots. In regular conversation, I can deal with that. In noisy situations, I get nothing but electronic static and reverberation. I am a little concerned about being in the classroom on Monday. My classroom qualifies as one of those "noisy situations". We'll have to see if I can make it through the day wearing the processor.

I picked out a lovely, fashionable dark brown for my processor. OK, I admit, I just wanted it to match my hair color. Fashion had nothing to do with it. Until she told me I get one processor cover with my kit. Then, of course, I picked a zebra print! When we walked out of the audiologist's office, she sent me on my way with a suitcase of accessories and literature. I am not joking when I say suitcase. It is literally the size of a small carry-on suitcase. It has a shoulder strap and everything! It weighs eight pounds. (I weighed it.) This gadget comes with more bells and whistles than an iphone. She only explained about half of them to me and I have to bring my suitcase with me next week to my appointment to get briefed on the remaining cords and gizmos. I even have a remote to work my volume, programs, and check battery status.

In my first few days, I have to say that it hasn't been bad. It hasn't been overwhelmingly great, either. But, I can say that it shows promise. I have to be patient and let my brain adjust to the sounds. I have four programs on my remote. My audiologist set up the same program on all, just bumping up the volume on each one. My assignment before my next appointment is to move up to the next program every 2-3 days. Today I tried the second program just to see what it sounded like. Truthfully, it didn't sound much different from the first one, except maybe a bit louder. So I left it there. In a couple of days I'll try program three. When I return for my next mapping appointment on Wednesday, we will do more testing, tweaking and eventually set up specific programs for different situations.

So, my first impression? I don't hate it. I don't love it. But, I think eventually I will.

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