The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

First Day Back At School With The CI Monday, April 6, 2009

Filed under: 120-channel processor,itching,listening,observations — Allison @ 3:39 pm

First day back at school with the cochlear implant on.  It’s very…interesting.  I’ve been switching back and forth between using Fidelity 120 and the regular programming.

Irritated with myself because my alarm clock didn’t go off this morning, so I missed seeing Laurie.  I didn’t wake up until Marvin jumped up on my bed, pushed his way into the crook of my arm, sitting on my shoulder, and stuck his wet nose in my face, while purring madly.

I have to turn up the volume on my CI when I’m listening to it with Fidelity 120, as it’s softer and more distant.  But so far, I think I like it better without Fidelity.  I listened to Steve and Sheila talking over the weekend, and tried to get an idea of what voices sound like.  At this point, everything is very mechanical, but it’s just the edges of sound that’s bugging me.

My ear is hurting and my skin is getting very itchy, but I’m trying to suffer through wearing it for as long as I can.  Can’t wait to get home and take it off…but I have a feeling that it will be coming off before then, as I have to finish my Flash animation for my class.

Advertisements
 

Heart-Stopping Moments Friday, April 3, 2009

Had my appointment with Catherine today.  And we came up with a plan of action.

  1. Borrow the battery from them, to see if it reduces the itching/redness, and if it’s my batteries that are causing the problem.
  2. If that doesn’t work, try out a body processor.

So that’s where we started.  We went into the CI booth, plugged me into the computer, with the intention of changing my MAPs because I cannot handle the intensity of the old MAPs after a year of inactivity.

So here I am, hooked up to the computer, watching the screen, and the first thing I see is red over the internal part.  Everything was recognized and green, except for the internal implant.  Checked it again, made sure everything was connected properly.  No luck.

It was time to call Advanced Bionics for troubleshooting.  Catherine found the “dummy” internal parts, and tried it with their processor.  Everything worked.

I held my breath.  This was not looking good.

We took my processor and attached it to to the dummy.  It worked.

I started to cry.

Crying because my internal processor wasn’t working.  Crying because at the thought of having to go through a third surgery in less than 3 years.  Crying because maybe that’s why my CI wasn’t working back in January.

Catherine picked it up to take it off, and then the computer recognized the internal part!  It was a loose wire.

Talk about a heart-stopping moment.  A huge sigh of relief.

So now I’m sent home with MAPs that are more than 100 points below where I was, and with my IDR reduced to 60 from 75.  One has Fidelity 120,and the other doesn’t.  I’m going to try both, as Mandy said in her last notes that I may do better without Fidelity 120.

30 minutes into wearing the CI, my ear was red and itching, and Catherine confirmed it by seeing that there was a red spot where the CI was.  So now it’s time to find a solution.

It’s amazing how quick the brain adapts to using a CI after not wearing it for so long.  I’m missing it…..and feel like I’m re-experiencing activation day all over again…in the sense that I’m discovering sounds that my hearing aid definitely did not pick up on.

 

July 16 and 19th…Harmony, Car Accidents, and Surgeries Monday, July 23, 2007

July 16th – two readers/their family members from this site had their surgeries! I hope they went well (I know one of them did!)

I finally got to order my harmony as well…but it’s going to take a 2-week turnaround to get it. At the rate Advanced Bionics is going with this, I won’t get it in the mail and activated till I return to school in September (which will make Mandy happy!)

July 19th – I hear a car accident for the first time with the cochlear implant. And from a block away. I was hanging out on the far side of the parking lot after work, talking to my boss as we usually do after every shift, when we hear this noise (which I didn’t know at first, but due to the expression on her face, I quickly figured it out). It sounded like a loud firecracker, due to the “boom!” that I heard. Pam says that the noise we first heard was probably the screech of the brakes, and then we looked up in time to hear the crash (she saw stuff flying through the air, I didn’t).

I was the first one to respond to the accident scene while Pam called 911 on her cell. It makes me sick that not one person who witnessed the accident stopped to help. The woman was bleeding, and her head hit the windshield, shattering it. To make the situation more interesting, the woman who hit her, left the scene and didn’t return till like 7 minutes later. I heard her car before I saw it, and was thinking “holy cow, somebody’s car really needs to go to the shop”. It was making clunking/chugging noises (half of the hood was smashed in).

I’ve never heard a car accident, not even with the hearing aid. I heard it distinctly with the cochlear implant, but my hearing aid did not pick it up at all. But Thursday was a really bad day overall (my friends/coworkers know why, and I thank everybody for their support and love).

Finally, I love meeting people with cochlear implants at work. It’s always fun to run into guests who have a cochlear implant, and then find out we have the same doctor. What I like more is hearing their stories about their implant experiences, especially if they’ve gone bilateral. 🙂

WE GET THE NEW WALKIES TOMORROW (TUESDAY) AT WORK! Must bring my various cables so I can plug it in directly into my cochlear implant and find out which one works the best…that’s going to be a fun experiment…I can’t wait! 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

I finally uploaded a video clip of me playing the piano – “The Gypsy Baron” by Johann Strauss. I’m still working on finding my other audio clips of my piano playing…or rerecording them as a video, but I’m out of practice, my piano needs to be tuned, and the humidity makes one of the major keys stick.

 

Walkie-Talkie Log and The Harmony Monday, July 9, 2007

walkie-talkie log of things i can understand: numbers, locations (depending on who’s speaking, some names, basic phrases (the company sayings are starting to become etched in my hearing memory!), and voice identification (if i’m paying attention).

yeah, it’s good practice for me to listen to what’s being said, but the problem is, that I’m a lower priority than as compared to those who can actually hear and fully benefit from the use of the walkie. That’s the part I feel guilty about…because resources are limited. And when I’m out there, I don’t like to have it up all the way, because it’s too loud and it competes with the noise in the store. But it’s useful for me, because I don’t have to run all over to find somebody with a walkie, and can request or ask for help.

It would be nice if people were able to understand that I can (usually) have a conversation with them over the walkie, IF I initiate the conversation (I’m sure Mom and Mandy would beg to differ. :-p). Otherwise, trying to get ahold of me is not the best way. I’ve always preferred face-to-face communication instead, especially if directions are to be given.

That being said, I haven’t been practicing my listening as much as I should have, despite the fact that I’m back home in an all-hearing environment. Go figure.

Just a few more days and then I can order the Harmony. Then I have to set up an appointment with Megan to get it programmed, and catch Mandy so she can listen in via cell (she wants to do it so badly!)

 

On The Virtues Of Batteries Thursday, June 14, 2007

Today, at work, my battery for my hearing aid was starting to die. I wasn’t hearing my coworkers or the guests in the store very well, and had a few near-collisions today. But what sucks more is that it leaves me out of conversations (even though I can follow along SOMEWHAT by lipreading, but it’s MUCH harder), and guests who don’t know I have a hearing loss, get frustrated with me, and go off in search of somebody else. It’s not too bad when I’m with my team lead, or other coworkers that I’m familiar with, so that’s a relief, but still.

In regards to the battery issue, my hearing aid is frustrating because the battery doesn’t give me a warning that it’s about to die (I suppose I could keep a calendar, and change it on a regular interval, but that’s beside the point). My old hearing aid used to make a click-click-click sound to let me know that the battery was dying.

With the cochlear implant, there’s no warning. It just dies. It’s clear cut and dried. It doesn’t cling onto its last gasping breath, nor does it trick my ear into thinking it can hear, but faintly. I know it’s dead, because I can’t hear anything, nor do I feel the stimulation in my head. It’s weird describing the process of the battery dying, but it’s like everything grinds to a halt, with one last pulse shooting through your head.

I prefer the fact that that the CI doesn’t mince with a dead battery, like the hearing aid does.  When it’s dead, it’s dead, and I’m not running around struggling to hear.

In terms of sound, I’m having trouble with sounds lately with the CI. Music is starting to be icky, sounds are starting to be unfamiliar or rough. I don’t know if it’s time for a remapping, since I haven’t had one since….winter quarter? Usually, you get one at 3 months, 6 months, and then 1 year. But as Megan and Mandy can attest, I’m very particular with my MAPs, refining it to the last detail.

I can’t wait till I can put my order in for the Harmony trade-in. ONE MORE MONTH. (and at the same time, I don’t want it to be July, because it means the summer’s half over!)

And that means July 10, will be my 1-year anniversary of getting the cochlear implant. I cannot believe that almost a year has gone by.

 

Harmony Release Schedule Thursday, April 12, 2007

Filed under: 120-channel processor,advanced bionics — Allison @ 3:09 pm

The announcements for patients implanted prior to 2007 will be mailed out by Monday, April 16.

I’m bummed out, because I want my Harmony now (just like everybody else) but at least my hearing’s in good shape now (as compared to a few months ago) so now I can maximize the benefit of the Harmony.

From the email sent out:

1. Free Exchange of Auria Processors:

In accordance with our Harmony Processor Exchange Policy, we will exchange UNOPENED Auria processors
at no charge for patients who had an initial stimulation on or after January 3, 2006. The exchanges will be
carried out based on the following schedule, beginning with the patients who have the earliest initial stimulation
date:

2006 Initial Stimulation Date Free Exchange Notification and Processing Begins
January and February April 16, 2007
March and April May 16, 2007
May and June June 18, 2007
July and August July 16, 2007
September, October, August 16, 2007
November, and December

For patients who are under the Pediatric Warranty Extension Program, we will make replacements when they
schedule their ear-level processor fitting.

We will accelerate the Free Exchange Program in the event we have sufficient inventory. We will offer the Free
Exchange Program until the end of 2008.

2. Purchase Program (including full-price purchases and trade-ins):

Beginning April 16, 2007, Harmony Processors will also be available for all CII Bionic Ear and HiRes 90K patients for purchase or for paid trade-in (i.e., patients implanted since April 2001). Purchase and trade-in information, including Harmony’s features/benefits, insurance, and ordering information, can be found in Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) at http://www.bionicear.com/harmony_exchange_purchase. A condensed version of the FAQs is included for your convenience.

Because there are a large number of users eligible for this Program and because we want to be able to accommodate all the calls that we anticipate, we are asking patients to contact our Harmony Team to begin processing their Harmony orders based on the following schedule:

CII Bionic Ear or HiRes 90K Users Year Implanted Purchase Request Processing Begins
2001 April 16, 2007
2002 April 23, 2007
2003 April 30, 2007
2004 May 7, 2007
2005 May 14, 2007
2006 May 21, 2007

We will offer the Paid Trade-In Program until the end of 2008.

 

The Last 3 Weeks

So much for writing in here on a daily basis, but I do come bearing plenty of news.

1. I went to the store on March 29, and as soon as I walked into the store, I recognized the song that was playing. Eiffel 65 – “Blue (Da Ba Dee)”. I went over to the cashier and asked her if that was the song that was playing, and she said yes.

2. I’m starting to pick up more phrases here and there, but nothing all at once. It’s slow going, but patience.

3. The CI panel was excellent. It was fantastic getting to talk to other CI users, and hear about their experiences. In addition, we got to educate the audience about cochlear implants and answer any questions they had.

4. I have a new input device for my iPOD. I am no longer using the DirectConnect cable, as I’m tired of changing them around. This one works with both my hearing aid and the cochlear implant, and just requires the flip of a switch. It’s not the HATIS, but I can’t remember the name of the manufacturer off the top of my head right now but it’s called the Freedom. The best part, the cord is white, so I get to look “cool”. :-p

5. Mandy and I are both upset about the Harmony release news. I have to wait till July to get mine. More info on that in an upcoming post.

6. NAG is coming up soon, and Mandy and I are busy preparing for it. I’m nervous, but excited at the same time. It’s been interesting putting together the timeline and all the data for the booth.

7. I’m behind in writing back emails, so I apologize to those who have been waiting for a response.

Anyway, more soon! Hope all is well with you!