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.

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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.

 

The Christmas Post Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I still have yet to write about the CI Holiday party, but that will come once I get the pictures ready.

Flying home was good. My ear wasn’t happy, as I’ve been having stabbing pains and itchiness. Also had several attacks of dizziness in those prior weeks.

On the flight, I was able to understand “the current temperature in Pittsburgh is forty-four degrees” “thank you for flying us airways” “we are now preparing to land” over the announcements.

When we landed in Phoenix, I was grateful to a guy who recognized me from the flight, because he was able to listen and help us find our bags. We had been waiting and due to the holiday crush, somehow our flight didn’t make it onto the baggage claim board, so we were waiting for 30 minutes. By the time we found out where our bags were at, there weren’t very many left, and the carousel was stopped. Oy. But if it hadn’t been for him, I would have thought they were just very behind in unloading, since we were sitting out on the tarmac for 25 minutes due to the disruptions of flights all over the country because of the blizzard in Denver.

Christmas Eve was nice. I don’t know what I was worrying about, with meeting new family members, but everything was just fine. I worry about how kids handle a person that is deaf, and I think it stems from the fear of being ridiculed or made fun of when I was growing up. But it was all good.

We went to the 8:30 christmas eve mass, all 16+ of us, and it was too far for me to see what the priest was saying, so I just listened. I understood “our father” and “celebration” out of the entire sermon. It was easier to follow along with the music, but I preferred listening with the hearing aid than the cochlear implant, because music is just sounding weird lately.

I have the same issue with playing the piano. I really hate playing with the CI because it just sounds….blech. But I did notice I picked the optimal ear to get implanted in, because the right ear can pick up the higher frequencies on the right side of the piano, whereas the left ear is better at delivering the lower frequencies with the hearing aid.

I got a new iPOD for Christmas, and I am just thrilled. I can’t wait to get back to school so I can upload my entire music library on it.

Well, that’s it for now. Time to meet with Susan. Have a very happy holidays!

 

The Sound of SmarTees! Thursday, October 26, 2006

At work, we have a little candy bowl. There were SmarTees in there, so I grabbed one.

I was absent-mindedly throwing the SmarTees in my mouth, and I could hear the chink-chink as the bits of candy collided with the surface of my teeth. I didn’t realize the candy bouncing off of your teeth made a barely audible sound!

My right ear is still itchy, and I’m convinced it’s allergies. It only seems to affect the right side, going all the way down the eustachian tube into the right side of my throat, whereas the left is relatively unaffected. It was like this a month or so ago, and I have followed the orders of the doc since the last time, which is no more chewing gum, so my face/sinuses don’t hurt like it did before.

I did Sound&Beyond today, and I’m getting a bit sick of that program. I know that not everything is going to be all fun and games. To maximize the potential with the CI, I have to keep working at it, even if it is repetitive.

Tomorrow is the CI Meet&Greet at school. Whee!

 

The Two-Week Mark: Itchiness and Mapping Session #5 Monday, August 21, 2006

Dr. M says that the itchiness is a result of the humidity/heat that we’ve been having here the last week. Of course, having something new and foreign next to your skin doesn’t help. I took off the interchangable accent colors for a few days, and it seems to help with the itchiness. The redness comes from me scratching my pale skin, and I’ve been trying very hard to avoid doing that.

I’m loving my CI more and more each day, as it starts to sound more realistic. I’m still missing details, and I can’t wait till I start to hear sounds in its “wholeness” instead of in its current state, which is hard to describe.

I’m starting to be able to hear/understand what the captioning doesn’t cover, like on TV commercials, where they say “Monday at 8 pm” or have a graphic with the words, but don’t caption what is being spoken. The other discovery is the huge lag between what is being spoken and what I can read on the TV.

Last Friday, I went out to the Yard House with my mom and her coworkers to celebrate Brian’s graduation from the MBA program. We sat outside by the entrance, and I could still hear the invididual voices at our table with the CI, as compared to hearing one big glob of chaotic noise with the left ear.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been exactly 14 days since I’ve been activated. Today, I had my 5th mapping session with Megan, and instead of doing all the beep testing, we focused on fine-tuning the implant. I wanted to get more clear speech sounds, so we spent today’s session working on that. I had to sit and listen to her read from a list of words, with her face covered by a black screen, so I couldn’t lipread her, and didn’t have a piece of paper to read off of.

We started with the animals, and I did pretty well with that (Except for tiger (was only getting the “ger”)). Then we did fruit, and I got almost all of them right, except for Mango and Blueberry, which was stumping me for awhile, because it sounded like “rooberry” (that should have been a clue right there!) My problem with a lot of the words (such as peach, cherry, blueberry, mango, tiger, cat, shee/p/t) they don’t sound right, but I can hear enough of the word to tell what it is.

During the mapping session, I could hear Kim out in the hall, her chair moving around, talking on the phone, going through papers at her desk, and was amazed, because each time I come there, I’m hearing more and more of the little sounds that make up the real world. Eventually we had to close the door, because it was too distracting for me to be able to figure out speech sounds and filter out the real world. That’s going to be a big challenge for me. The other thing that I learned is that people are lazy with their speech! “Button” is a perfect example of that. There are words that I know they’re supposed to sound like this, but when I actually hear them, they don’t sound like it, because people leave sounds out! It’s like the dialect of different areas, and ways of speech!

Music is starting to sound much more real to me (pre-implant). There are several songs that just don’t sound right, and others that sound like they did before, if not a tiny bit better. I’m hearing more of the vocals in the song as opposed to the melody, which is cool. I’m excitedly anticipating what the 120-channel processor is going to sound like, if I’m getting these results with the Auria.

Today’s random link
Dangerous Decibels: How Loud Is Too Loud?

 

Post-Activation…One Week Later (Mapping Session #4) Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I am OH so VERY excited. Although, probably not as excited as Megan or Mom was. I don’t think I’ve seen Megan that excited. Today was definitely an awesome day, because not only did Christina Aguilera’s new CD come out today (which I now have in my possession *squee*), I also got some test results with my CI (even more *squee-worthy*).

The answer to last week’s programming riddle: program 1-pulsing, program 2-sequential.

I now have two new programs, and they are getting to the point where they are starting to sound like my “natural hearing”, but faint. There’s still much more twiddling to do with these, but I am confident KNOW that I will reach that point. Even music is starting to slowly sound better.

After programming, I got to do a pure-tone audiometry test in the soundbooth with my CI, testing program 1, then 2. And I have the results of the audiogram. The vertical column measures how loud a sound has to be in order to hear it. The horizontal column is the frequency (or pitch) of a sound, going from low to high frequency.

 

6/22/06 – professional results

 

This is what I can hear with digital hearing aids. The sounds in the “speech banana” is around where normal people with normal hearing can hear it. This is with my hearing aids, and I still can’t hear the high-frequency sounds, so I am sorely lacking in that department.

 

 

8/15/06 – professional results

This is what I can hear with Program 1. My lower frequency (to the left) sounds have improved slightly, but my high frequency sounds have shot way up. I can now hear F, Sh, Th, K, and some others.

 

8/15/06 – professional results

This is with Program 2. This one is a bit louder than P1. Same results as P1, but with a few minor variations in the higher frequency.

Overall, you can see how I’ve changed, going from a digital hearing aids, to using a CI and the results I’m getting one week later. It’s just absolutely mind-boggling and incredible to me, to be able to hear all these high-pitched sounds that I wasn’t able to hear before. I am very excited, happy and looking forward to what’s next!

As soon as I got those results, I went to surprise mom at work, and her face just totally lit up and she was so happy! While walking back to her desk, she was showing the results off to her co-workers, and everybody was amazed, heh. We then went out to lunch with her co-workers (since it was lunchtime when I arrived), and it was my first time in a restaurant since I’ve been activated. I could hear the differences in people’s voices (at our table), and knew if a different person was talking. I could hear speech sounds with the CI that I wasn’t hearing with the HA. Words were fuller and had more detail (but still didn’t make sense to me).

I also had my first speech therapy session with Susan at 3:30 this afternoon. I am going to have to learn to differentiate between similar words but with different sounds/placement. The other fun thing I will learn to work on is tone of voice without using facial/body cues. Gotta start small, then work my way up! Right now my brain is waking up, learning to interpret what all these sounds are that are coming in, and then eventually will start putting some sense to them. It’s kind of like learning how to walk, except you’ve never walked before.

So far, everything is fantastic. I have no regrets. Everything that I went through in July, was well worth it for what I’m getting now. The only negative I have right now is that my incision is itching like mad and starting to become red. We were going to try to switch it to the other side of my head to give my ear a chance to heal (and get the itchiness to go away), but the cable for the headpiece isn’t long enough to pull that off.

I’m starting to wonder if I’m already getting used to this program, because things are starting to sound really quiet once again, so I may be making a trip back to see Megan sooner than later.

Starting today, my hearing aid has started to give me an attitude. I think we have a raging case of jealousy right now, and an unwillingness to coexist peacefully.

New Sounds List
8/14/06 – the word “Now” while listening to Harry Potter.
8/14/06 – hearing benny purr with CI, and realizing it that I couldn’t hear it with the HA.
8/15/06 – differentiating between voices at my table, while in a restaurant