DecibelMemos

Perspectives Absent of Sound

Tag: #cochlearimplant #advancedbionics #cochlearamerica #hearingloss

Post Surgery Update #1

I have to say, this surgery (for a cochlear implant) has been one of the toughest experiences of my life.

Before photo – Little did I know what I would be up against!

From the moment I opened my eyes (after surgery), it’s been one dizzy trip! I keep hoping – today being one of them, that I wake up and my eyeballs are stable. The pain hasn’t been as bad as the constant state of drunkenness I feel.

Not a happy camper here……

I have also experienced some strange sounds lately in my implanted ear, a loud humming sound that goes from low to high and then disappears – kind of weird. I’ve noticed when I bite down, my bite is off – bottoms and tops only meet on one side of my mouth, a bit annoying and my jaw aches from it. It’s strange to not even be able to feel your ear when you touch it…..I mean, my finger tips feel it, but my head doesn’t. I learned that your head/hair gets sore from laying on a pillow for too long, who would’ve known?!

My husband took this photo of me and the dog doing a lot of napping

I’m also adjusting to being completely deaf in an ear I use to have some hearing in, albeit bad and now relying on my other bad ear to take in the environment around me. There are just so many emotions I’m grappling with from the thoughts of how the new processor will look on me when I wear it, how well will I hear with it, to was all this worth it? Stay tuned as I sort all of this out – On to week two!!

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A New Path

Today marks yet another step in my hearing loss journey. As it happens, just when you think the dust has settled a bit and you’ve “got this”, something jolts your complacency back into uncertainty.

About a month ago, I went for my annual hearing check-up. I was happy to learn my hearing has been stable the last few years, but what has changed (greatly) is my speech recognition scores. In one year, I went from recognizing 7 out of 10 words to only being able to decipher 3 of 10 – not very good. So what does this mean?

Here I am getting ready for the hearing test

All the wires…..

Well, amplification can only go so far and that is what hearing aids do – they amplify sound and make the world a very loud place! Here’s my struggle, I can sit in the middle of a loud movie theatre and not be able to distinguish what is being said by the actors, which is why I use a captioning device when I go to the movies. So it’s not about things being loud(er), it’s my inability to understand what is being said……Did I mention I use to be able to name that tune in under 10 seconds?!…….So what now?

It is my understanding that hearing aids will not be able to help me with speech recognition, but a cochlear implant will. I have a friend who said her speech recognition went up to over 90% with an implant, that’s huge! Another friend who enjoys music again – Oh, how I miss music….

If you’re like me, I was clueless how an implant works. I did some research and learned there are two components to a cochlear implant – an internal and external. The internal (implanted) portion has a receiver and tiny electrodes, which is imbedded under the skin behind the ear. The electrodes are surgically inserted into the cochlea.

Here are the two components from the brand Cochlear America

The external portion, includes a speech processor that is connected to a headpiece by a cord – It magnetically attaches to the surface of the head behind the ear at the spot where the internal portion of the implant is located. The headpiece has a transmitting coil that sends the signal from the speech processor to the internal part of the cochlear implant. It’s pretty darn amazing technology!

To be honest, I’m still wrapping my head around the idea. Like any surgery there are risks that have to be considered. For one, I may lose what little hearing I have left. There could be injury to the facial nerve. I could develop attacks of dizziness or vertigo and those are just a few. There is a lot to consider.

Here is information on two of the 3 brands of C.I’s – Advanced Bionics and Cochlear America

Over the course of the next several months, I will be sharing this walk with you as I navigate through the decision making process. If you have a C.I. please share your experience, I would love to hear from you!

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