Hello Folks! A quick update on where I’m at. I had my ten month check-in and ‘mapping’ today (mapping = cochlear implant lingo for when they put you in the testing booth to see how your bionic ear is performing). I had pretty amazing test scores last February when I was at the 90-day mark – my speech recognition was at 94%; therefore, I didn’t expect much improvement, BUT to my surprise I did improve to 96%. At this point, in my C.I. journey, it’s about clarity more than volume – how I understand speech is what’s important. What I did find interesting is when we were in the testing booth, we discovered I did not do well understanding male voices, but scored 100% with female voices. Something we will keep an eye on over the coming months with the new programming. It’s all these really fine ‘hearing details’ you don’t think about or realize……For those of you that can hear, APPRECIATE IT!!

When the green light is on, it’s being programmed

I am not excited to be in the testing booth, can you tell?

I would also like to give you an update on where I’m at since going to Mayo Clinic for the the dizziness and balance issues I’m still having. I’ve been told what I have is called PPPD (Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness) – Yeah, I never heard of it either! In a nutshell, PPPD is motion sensitivity triggered from the trauma of the cochlear implant surgery…..I’m not going to mislead you, cochlear implant surgery is quite invasive and as a result, I developed this complex vestibular disorder where your brain becomes hypersensitive to your own movement as well as things moving around you (visual vertigo). I feel intense discomfort in places like supermarkets, moving vehicles or places that have busy patterned surfaces. If you’ve ever been on a cruise and get off the boat, but still have the feeling like you’re on the boat, that is how I feel on a daily basis – a floating feeling. My head feels foggy and I lose my balance easily. I am told I can overcome this and holding on to hope that I will.

Basically, the only thing I can do is to keep pushing through daily life – even when I feel uncomfortable and want to vomit! I have to keep putting myself in those situations so my brain can begin to reset itself. I’ve also been going to vestibular therapy at Mayo Clinic and put in this machine called a Computerized Dynamic Posturography with Immersion Virtual Reality (CDP-IVR). It has been very helpful in determining my triggers and helps the therapist give me exercises to help work through those triggers.

Computerized Dynamic Posturography with Immersion Virtual Reality (CDP-IVR) Machine

As far as the tear (or what they call a fistula), it has not healed yet and I’m told to give it some time – how much time?….I have no idea, but when I move my ear or put my finger in it to clean in and around it, my world spins!…..I can’t go around with a dirty ear – HOW GROSS would that be?!

It is my plan to have the other ear done (once my balance is back on track).  No, I’m not crazy – it’s just, I’M HEARING THAT GOOD (shouting from the rooftops) and I want to hear in stereo!  All dizziness aside, having the cochlear implant has changed my life for the better despite taking on this not so nice part of it.

Lots to catch you up on over the last several months!  Yes, my main focus has been on hearing, but I’m also learning sign language. I went to a 5 day sign language immersion camp – no talking, only sign back in July. I will share that with you in my next post. Stay tuned…..