Today I learned that going at least once a year for a MAP session is necessary. My audiologist, Kim tells me that daily life can slowly corrupt the MAPs in your CI. Static electricity is the culprit.
Since I’ve graduated from college (May 2009), I haven’t done anything with my cochlear implant, except wear it in my daily life, which is why I haven’t been updating here.
It’s been interesting having a very hands-off approach to tinkering with my MAPs (one of the benefits of going to a school with an on-site audiology department) and just living my daily life without having weekly access to a audiology center.
Over the last few months, Mom has noticed that I haven’t been hearing as well, and my speech has been deteriorating. Also, she’s frustrated with me because usually by the time I get home, the batteries are dead, I don’t want to “listen” any more for the day, or I take a nap, so I’m going without sound in my ear. She doesn’t get to have the benefit of living with me with my cochlear implant, because when I’m at home, I want quiet.
My problems have resulted as a shift from my listening environments. I was going from a school environment to a work environment. My work environment consists of listening to the floor buffer in the morning (very loud, it makes my head hurt every time he races by), of shopping carts and equipment crashing into each other, of babies crying and kids throwing a temper tantrum (those really get on my nerves), and people dropping stuff on the floor. So by the end of the day, I’m tired, I have a headache, and my ear and skin around the magnet is sore.
Several arguments about it later, she finally made an appointment and I was back in to see Kim, and tinker with my MAPs. So off we go on Tuesday to the audiologist. I came home from work thinking my appointment was on Wednesday, but it was actually Tuesday.
Before I left NY, Catherine made a CD for me with all my MAPs and relevant history so I could give it to Kim. Well, I couldn’t find the CD with all my programs and Kim didn’t have my history on the computer. The problem was that Kim couldn’t download my MAPs without resetting my CI and losing my programs, because there was a new version of the SoundWave program. Luckily, the on-call audiologist at AB came to the rescue and we were able to get my programs downloaded without erasing them.
I could instantly tell the difference between the program in my CI and the redownloaded one, and how much crisper and clearer it sounded.
Mom came with me, and she noticed that after my program got redownloaded and throughout the session my speech was rapidly improving. I wasn’t making more of an effort, I was my same old Allison self…so yes, being able to hear the speech sounds, even without consciously being aware of it, does make a difference in being able to replicate those sounds when speaking. Mom said a sentence before the program and I had a hard time understanding what she was saying, but after the new downloaded program, I was able to understand everything she said, without being able to read her lips.
As always, I present a challenge for any audiologist, and Kim is no exception to this rule (Thank you to every audiologist who has ever had to do a MAP for me). Where I was in January 2007 (extremely powerful) and now was a huge difference, and I still wanted less power. This is confusing because she couldn’t figure out why the big difference (key word: MORE POWER) between now and then, other than I wanted my CI to be more like my hearing aid, with lots of low frequencies, and not a lot with the high frequencies.
I’ve been wearing my CI with the volume in the 7:30 position (it should be at the 12:00). I still feel like I listen more with my hearing aid ear, instead of my CI ear. So, my new assignment is to wear my CI with the volume at 12:00, and turn down the volume on my hearing aid. In order to reap maximum benefit with the CI, I need to be listening more with the CI than with the HA ear. “Use It or Lose It” is basically what it is.
I need to go back in a month or so for follow up, since it’s been so long, and we made some changes with my MAP. I’m currently rocking it with Fidelity 120, with a narrower IDR, and my sensitivity level has been reduced. Electrode 3 has been reduced so that it goes nicely with the curve in the program range instead of being a big spike, which could be responsible for some of my issues.
Went back to work yesterday with my new program, and I was in bliss. The floor buffer wasn’t like a oncoming train running me over, the shopping carts weren’t like a cymbal being crashed on my head, and the babies crying were not like a needle being pierced through my brain.
Guess I’ll add that to my list of annual doctor’s appointments: physical, dentist, eyes, gyno, and now MAP sessions since my CI is not “new”.