DecibelMemos

Perspectives Absent of Sound

Tag: #cochlearimplant

Taking the Good with the Bad

Yesterday, marked 6 months since the activation of my cochlear implant. To say that it has changed my life is an understatement! It has opened up a new world for me in more ways than one – Let’s just say, sometimes you have to take the good with the bad:

* One of the big changes has been in my ability to understand speech. My speech recognition is so good now that when I talk on the telephone, I no longer need to use captions – That alone has given me so much independence! Before, I relied heavily on my captioned telephone and a captioning app for my mobile phone as well as my husband to return calls for me or listen to messages I couldn’t understand. I am now constantly amazed at how clearly I hear.

* As I mentioned in my previous post, I fell in love with listening to audiobooks…..Now I’m listening to podcasts and a part of my daily routine – While getting ready for work and when I walk the dog, I listen to inspiring podcasts. It just gets my day off to a beautiful start!

* It’s nice to take my implant off and have immediate quiet – silence is something I’ve learned to cherish. As a hearing person, I didn’t understand what real quiet was….Now having the ability to turn it on and off is quite nice.

Some of what I’m working through (and learning to exercise patience with) right now are:

* Having the feeling of being a bobble head, which in turn is throwing my balance off. Right now, I’m in a constant state of “tipsy” from the moment I wake up, until I close my eyes. It gets pretty tiring working through a foggy brain all day long – needless to say, my energy level is depleted by the end of the day.

* I have a tear in my inner ear that gives me some weird vertigo sensations when I touch to clean around my ear or inside of it. Also happens when I belch, yawn, sneeze, etc. – it’s a whole lot of fun with my allergies in full swing too……yea, NOT!

I’m told this is not normal to happen, but comforted to know all of this WILL go away (eventually) – this will not be permanent. Sometimes the body just does some crazy shit and you have to learn patience and give it time to heal.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready to start vestibular rehab, which will help me gain more confidence with my balance.

Would I do it all again?……..YOU BETCHA!

March 8, 2018 – The day I found out about the fistula/tear

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Six Weeks Post Op

Let me start by saying this journey is surreal! There is no way I could have fathomed all that it has involved physically and emotionally. First, you go through the surgery aspect and you’re recovering from a major surgery (outpatient, but still major – you’re getting your skull drilled!). My energy level was low for a good 3 weeks, my body was healing. All I wanted to do was sleep and hope to wake up with eyeballs aligned. Then there is the activation phase and your acclimating to a new way of hearing and all the energy involved with rehab, which takes a lot of work to get out of (in my case) the robotic hearing stage , which I’m hearing less of every day. I was also hearing a lot of strange sounds coming from my implanted, supposedly ‘deaf ear’ the first week I was activated…..hard to describe, but I swear I heard a full band playing in my head one night! I found myself checking my ear to make sure the processor was off my head because I was hearing like it was still on – pretty freaky! Both surgery and activation have their own emotional aspects to deal with too, BUT……Here are some pretty cool ‘hearing observations’ that have happened since activation three weeks ago:

  • Sitting in a noisy restaurant with my processor on and not getting blown away like I did with hearing aids
  • Hearing a helicopter before I see it
  • Hearing my dog’s nails scrape against the pavement
  • Hearing my husband walk in the front door and yelling, Hello! before even seeing him
  • Listening to my “old school” station and naming the tunes
  • Hearing a co-worker talk outside my office door (I thought they were talking to me, so I responded) – They popped their head in shocked because I heard it.

(these are just a few off the top of my head)

So……today is six weeks post op. I’m on my second day of driving to work and slowly getting my ‘mojo’ back. I am not pushing the process and trying to force tomorrow, rather I’m enjoying a new normal of hearing and looking back at what is becoming a faint memory of eyeballs rolling like slot machines. I realize this struggle is part of my story, the story I am now able to share with you!

First day driving to/from work – 6 weeks post op

Ok, so there were some interesting bus stories the last few weeks!

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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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