Testing testing 123

October 1, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Posted in Cochlear Implants, My Cochlear Implant choice, Speech | 10 Comments
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Life has been incredibly hectic since my last post and I have been testing my CI t0 it’s max………in more ways than one!!

Progress has been more steady over the last month and I am noticing that others are noticing the improvements more than me!  More often than not people are pointing out that I have heard something they have said without me seeing their face.  Bonus!!  The fact I am not noticing the improvements just goes to show how normal life as a Cyborg is becoming.

My hardest place with my CI is work.  Gym equipment, music and chatter all at once is very hard and even in this environment I am being told how well I am hearing people.  Environmental noises have been normal for a while now but the battle is still speech.  Naturally this is the area I want to improve most on and slowly but surely I seem to be winning the battle.

I went on holiday to cornwall a few weeks ago and was really pleased to hear how well I coped on the beach with the ocean, chitter chatter of people, excited screaming kids and those pesky, thieving seagulls!!  Not only are they pinching ice creams they are now running off with people’s shoes!!  I half wondered if they might fly off with my CI if I left it unattended at any point!! :-)

The ocean was as I remembered!  Fantastic!!  The holiday itself was rather a learning curve for me on the CI front!  Advanced Bionics kindly provide us with a little bag for our accessories such as spare batteries and microphones.  I use it for my spare battery and my HA just in case I need a back up if the CI were to fail.  Well one day I managed to lose my little bag along with its contents so suddenly I was one battery down and without my HA backup.  No big loss really but a pain none the less.  I hadn’t bought any spare microphones as I didn’t really think about what would happen if one breaks.

Then disaster!!  I was playing in a stream with my daughter Lucy when a wasp buzzed round my head and as I swatted it away I managed to swat my CI off my head and straight into the water!!  I swiftly fished it out so it had only been there a matter of seconds but still there was real panic of it failing as well as now not having the back up of my HA.  I dried it off and tried it back on and it didn’t work!!!  Holiday now turning into a disaster!!  Luckily I had remembered to bring the dry box provided by AB and after popping it in there for a few hours it started working again!!  RELIEF!! :-)

The AB CI is warranted against water damage so I wasn’t concerned as such about the CI, I was more concerned about ruining the holiday.  I have become so reliant on it that facing even 24 hours without it was not something I wanted to comprehend!  I was even thinking a 250 mile trip to Bristol may be on the cards to get an emergency replacement!!

Water reistance well and truly tested!!!

Since coming back from holiday I have been practicing more and more on the phone and I’m pleased to say that I am making some great progress.  I can talk to my wife quite easily now and it is so nice just to be able to pick up the phone and chat!  All this practice culminated in me making a phone call to my Dad on his Birthday and we were able to chat away for over 10 minutes talking about his trip to the Eden project.  During the whole conversation I only had to ask him once to repeat something!!  I tell you I was floating on air for the next few days after that!!

The phone calls really got me wanting to make even more progress and during my chats on Facebook with other CI users I came to realise that maybe my settings weren’t helping me as much as I realised.  The AB CI has two microphones to use.  One is the T-mic that sits nicely in the ear and the other is the internal Aux mic which is on top of the unit and more like an HA mic.  I had assumed that I was using 100% T-Mic but when I looked into it further I was actually using a 50% mix of both.  This isn’t a real problem but if I wanted to make the most of my sound and use of the phone and music through headphones I was going to want to be using 100% T-mic.

I contacted my CI centre and requested an appointment to have a twiddle with my settings and at the same time see if I could get a replacement battery.  I was given an appointment the following week which is very quick.  Thankyou Southmead, Bristol!!  To cut a long story short I went along and had my CI re-programmed and left feeling like something wasn’t quite right.  Only when I got home and tried the phone did I realise that I had now been given 100% AUX!!  Not happy!!  I got my wife to phone and request another appointment to sort it out and they saw me the same day!!  Well I flew down the motorway (70mph all the way I promise) and went in to find out what had happened.  It seems that the programme was correct but the upload from PC to my CI was not working properly.  When we changed the setting to actually say 100% AUX it then changed my CI to 100% T-mic!!  Odd but I don’t care.  I’ve got the settings I want and the difference is noticeable straight away!!

Music perception is now much better and my wife sounds much clearer on the phone too.  A lot of practice with the new settings to go but I can really feel that more and more progress is yet to come!!

Roll on the next holiday in 2 weeks when I will be testing the CI abroad for the first time!!  I’m hoping to queue jump the scanners!!  Lets hope they don’t fry my brain!! :-)

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  1. Wow,..you’re doing great. What about sticking some wig tape on yer processor so it ain’t gonna fly off when you’re next swatting wasps and whatnot?

    • Wig tape?? Mmmm…..not sure about that :-) You can get some subber band type things which go round the ear to make it more secure but I’m not sure anything bar super glue would have kept it on my head! I don’t like wasps and I swot ferociously!! :-)

  2. Glad you got those pesky settings sorted in the end. I find it quite a difference between the two mics too. And I’m also loving the phone! Have a good holiday Graham.

    • Yeah it was a bit of a faff but sorted in the end. So much better with the one mic. My IDR is still at 80 which they said is unusual but I can pick up so much more from distance now. The TV is quite loud. I’ve reduced the IDR to 70 on my CV medium setting for noisier places and I use that at work and in the car but otherwise it’s pretty much CV low all the time.
      Good job with your phone calls. I still wont pick up the phone to a stranger but it’s still early days :-)

  3. Your CI center needs to follow up with AB, as there’s either an error with the Soundwave 2.0 software with the T-mic vs internal mic setting. There is also a chance your processor is not wired properly.

    In any case, this needs to be escalated with Advanced Bionics.

    • Hi Dan. Yeah they were gonna email them straight away. I will chase them up in a week or two to see what the reply was. I reckon it’s their software as they have been having problems with all the AB users recently.

  4. Hi Graham,

    Great that Southmead sorted you out so fabulously – they’re a great bunch.

    Just got back from Cornwall myself – great fun and very relaxing! Lots to listen to, including the open fire at the hotel.

    Work is definitely the hardest thing for me too – an open-plan office with 40 people isn’t really conducive to good rehab as I have to block out sound in order to concentrate. So I’m learning the hearing person’s trick of filtering out sound – grrrrr!!!

  5. The filtering out for me is working whe it comes to the noise at home. Two lively kids!! At work I need to try and absorb all the sound as I need to be able hear everyhting being said. Tough but getting there. Good and bad days.
    Southmead have been great seeing me so quickly. Hopefully they will get the software/computer problems sorted though as all the AB users have been having difficulty.
    Open fire? That’s one I must try and hear soon!! Any excuse to get to a posh country hotel!!
    Glad your well and enjoying CI life :-)

  6. I have just stumbled on your blog and have read through your journey with great interest. My son (born in May) has been diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss bilaterally. CI’s are something we will be looking at for him in time and i just wanted to thank you for sharing your journey. Iamso pleased to read that that the implants are having such a positive impact for you. I know everyone is different (I lost some hearing in one ear due to a viral infection aged 34-accompanying that is chronic tiinnitus). I wish you all the luck in the world x

    • Hi Rachel. So sorry for the delay in replying to you. The best results in CI’s are for those given them from a young age. I have a friend who teaches 2 children with implants in her class and she says they do great. I also have a facebook friend who has a son with bilateral implants and he is doing great too. If you have any questions etc then let me know.
      All the best for you and you son!!
      Graham.


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