Tags: AB, Advanced Bionics, BEA, Bionic Ear, Cochlear Implants, MP3, Naida CI Q70, neptune, The future, Water Resistant
It is 3 years now since I got my AB Harmony Processor switched on! 3 YEARS! Time has flown. Those three years have been a real rollercoaster of a ride. I still wish I had never had the misfortune of losing my hearing suddenly and admittedly those days are tough. Thank fully those days are lessening and it is thanks to my CI that I have been able to lead a pretty normal life since.
So, whats been going on? I have made some really cool new friends among the CI world and had the pleasure recently to meet up with some at the BEA Annual Meeting in York last month. It was at this gathering we were able to have a proper hands on play with the new processor that AB have released. There has been a lot of talk about it in the CI world and it was really exciting to see it in the flesh and get a proper explanation from the AB pro’s as to what it can actually do!
One of the most pleasing things about it is it’s size! IT’S 40% SMALLER! I have never had a problem with the current processors size. My wife tells me I have big ears! The Naida CI is so small and lightweight that when I tried it on it didn’t feel like I had it on at all. This is fantastic for all people with smaller ears than me and that includes children. Any parents looking to get 1 or 2 CI’s for their child should really consider the Naida.
I took some pictures so you can see for yourselves what it(and it’s extras) look like.
There is plenty more to shout about this new processor so if you want any more info then just click on the pictures above or follow this LINK 🙂
Now – by using the Phonak ComPilot you will be able to connect to all your gadgets wirelessly! The Naida processor has 5 programme slot so, if you are like me and want a programme for every eventuality then this is great.
In simple terms, when wearing this ComPilot around your neck (under you clothing if you wish to hide it) you can then connect directly to any Bluetooth connected gadget. Listen to music on your smartphone and if a call comes in that is sent straight to your CI too. Connect to computers, tablets, phones, TV’s (with the Phonak TV Link) and even Sat Navs too!
So, what’s next on the horizon!!
Well the eagle eyed of you (in the CI world) may have noticed that the headpiece on the Naida is the same headpiece as you get with the Neptune CI. (See previous posts). Well, there is a very good reason for this. As I have said before…….the Neptune is the only 100% waterproof CI on the market. The clever bods at AB have linked the two CI’s (Naida and Neptune) and used the same headpiece for both. The reason for this is that it wont be long before an AQUA PACK accessory will be released to use with the Naida. This will not be some disposable bag that some other designs have but a fully water proof plastic case to fit the Nadia and protect it from the water. As the headpiece has a microphone itself and is water proof it can then be used to play in the water too!! Amazing!! I can’t say any more on this as I haven’t seen it but I can tell you its coming!
Well, if you’ve read this far…….well done and thanks!!
I’ll update more info as it comes through.
Tags: Bionic Ear, CI, Cochlear Implants, Deafened adult, Speech, SSHL, switch on, The future, wind, windjammer
It’s almost a year since my switch on and about 7 months since my last post.
I have learnt to adapt to my CI very well but I still have problems in group or noisy situations. One of the problems I have recently solved seems so simple I wonder if anyone else with a CI has done the same? The problem is WIND! It is a problem that all CI users have and it is really annoying if you are outside on a breezy or windy day having a chat and you are constantly interupted by this gush of wind which completely kills off anything you might hear at that point.
More recently I have been doing a lot of cycling to train for a charity bike ride. I find the wind when cycling really annoying and actually can be a safety problem as traffic noise is harder to hear.
Well, not one to sit back and take it I have been doing some research and it appears there is nothing on the market for AB CI users to stop this wind problem. I cant quite believe it and I am happy if anyone can correct me on this. I have therefore found my own solution and I have been testing it out. Not to be too smug……….but it works brilliantly!!
It’s called a ‘windjammer’ and is a little sponge microphone cover that you see people on TV using on their lapel or tie microphones. I contacted a local manufacturer and asked for their advice. After sending the a picture of my CI they were able to recommend their smallest ‘windjammer’ for me to try. It cost me about £10 for 5 of them and they work brilliantly!!
Now this solution will only work with Advanced Bionics CI’s as they are the only ones with a mic in the ear. You also have to be 100% in the ear mic or you will still get some wind noise from the aux mic on the top of the unit.
Problem solved!!! 🙂
Roll on the summer and BBQ’s and more wind!!!
Tags: BBC iplayer, BBC See Hear, Bionic Ear, Cochlear Implants, Cyborg, Hearing loss, SSHL
Since my last post I have braved the airports with my CI and managed a great family holiday understanding spanish waiters and african sunglasses and flashing lights salesmen (you know the ones………..sat on every footpath trying to flog you stuff!!)!! I have discovered a new job though. All I have to do is buy some crap, print some cards off saying I’m deaf, wander round to restaurants and leave said crap on tables along with deaf card and get people to buy said crap from me!! 🙂
The holiday was great and there were no problems with the airport scanners. I just said I had a CI and they waved me through and gave me a manual search. The plane was fine and with the CV medium setting I was able to converse quite well considering the noise. I am also glad to say that there were no mishaps with dropping any CI’s in the sea this time. 🙂
Phone calls are now much easier amongst friends and family and it’s nice to know my folks can pick up the phone to have a chat rather than text or email
I did have a ‘moment’ last week when we were moving out bedroom around when I came across some note pads. I opened them up and there were the written half of my conversations with Vicky when I first lost my hearing. It’s 15 months now since that dreaded day and I must admit those notepads brought it all flooding back. It’s still hard to believe that only 15 months ago I could hear normally (albeit with one ear). Thank goodness for the CI though!! I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like now without it. No way I could hold conversations via notepad!!! ‘Moment’ over 🙂
I also had a new client in the gym today and was chatting away when I asked her if my assistant had told her that I was deaf. I got the impression that she didn’t believe me at first…………which is nice………..but I still like to explain that I will need to see faces to understand fully what is being said. Especially in the noisy gym. Still, she didn’t think I was deaf and we’d been talking for about 10 mins!! 🙂
Roll on the next 5 months!!! 🙂
PS………if you have read this far then you will be interested to know that my BBC update programme will be on the 1st December, BBC2, See Hear, 1pm. Should be a laugh…………..I had to do some acting for this one!! 🙂
Tags: Batteries, CI, CI tests, Cornwall, Telephones, Wasps, Water Resistant
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!! 🙂
Tags: AB, Bionic Ear, CI, clear voice, Cochlear Implants, loop systems, MP3, tinnitus
Well the 2 weeks since my switch on have flown by. I’ve been so busy with work and social stuff with friends and family that I haven’t had too much time to really think about my CI progress.
The initial switch on was a bit of a disappointment as you may have already read. But in hindsight it wasn’t as bad as I thought and to be able to make out some music on my MP3 player after only 4 hours is pretty amazing. After only 2 days though the volume on my CI had dropped so much that I was really struggling with it on its own as everything I was hearing seemed like a robotic whisper. So I kept using my HA in my other ear and that seemed to boost the volume on both sides by giving me a stereo effect. I definitely was enjoying that. First time to hear something out of both sides of my head in over 10 years!! 🙂
The external unit itself is very comfortable on my ear but I was having a problem with the cable sticking out and getting it caught on clothing as well as offering something tempting for my girls to grab hold of!! I have over come this problem by wrapping the cable around my external unit which shortens the cable perfectly to attach the magnet. No more sticking out cable!! Yay!!
I went back for re-tuning and a volume increase after 7 days and boy did I need it. This time my volume was increased a huge amount and my IDR was put up from 60 to 80. (Which apparently after only 7 days is pretty good). I also got them to take off my loop setting and go with normal on setting 1, clearvoice medium and high on settings 2 & 3. The loop setting was pointless as my recognition of speech was still so poor it was a waste of a setting.
After my re-tuning I found the next few days a real struggle. Everything was so much louder and distorted that it was not fun. Gradually though after 2 to 4 days the sound has become much more comfortable and dare I say…….NORMAL!! Yay. I still find speech really tough but people are sounding less robotic and more how I remember them. My little girls however are still like little robots……but sounding like very cute little robots………most of the time anyway!!
I have been using my CI more and more without my HA since my re-tuning and it has been fine most of the time. Sounds are becoming normal. I find when I have my HA on too I get two different sounds entering my head too. Quite amusing I think at the moment. A text message on my phone comes through in two different tones!! It could be confusing I suppose but I’m riding along with it and enjoying it most of the time.
Social situations are still very tough and this is what I miss so much. The world cup is on and we are having BBQ’s round at friends houses for the games and I miss joining in the banter with my mates & slagging off the commentators because they don’t know what they are talking about. Having said that though my mates are being really good with me and not getting bothered when I say pardon or sorry, I didn’t get that!! (Until they get drunk that is and still think it helps to get closer to my ear for me to hear them rather than letting me see their faces!! No names mentioned Stu 🙂 )
I mentioned sounds are becoming more normal now. Well, I have to say they are generally. I still can’t make out the radio or the TV but other than that I reckon it’s nearly all there. I noticed a squeak on one of our doors the other day and asked my wife when that had started. ‘Months ago’ was the reply. That’s nice……..squeaky doors again!! Yay. Other sounds are the birds chirping, the owl in the evening twit twooing, indicators in the car, aeroplanes and helicopters overhead, branches rustling in the wind, cat meowing and purring………the list goes on!! In fact, when I take the CI off now and just wear the HA the sound I hear is so poor it just shows how good the CI is. I’m still frustrated by speech but I have to keep reminding myself it’s only been 2 weeks!!!
A quick mention of my tinnitus. It’s still there 😦 but hardly noticeable when I’m wearing the CI. As soon as I take the CI off it’s there straight away with that lovely washing machine sound!! Ah well, at least it’s gone most of the time. Maybe that will calm down in time too??!!
To sum it up………my hearing is loads better, I’m frustrated by speech and social situations, my girls are still robots although other people are sounding more like themselves again, environmental sounds are pretty normal now, music on my MP3 is about 70% now (compared with zero before!) and I’m going back to the hospital in 2 weeks to get re-tuned and tested again.
I’ve had my doubts about the CI but I’m definitely pleased I got it done!! Roll on the next few weeks of improvement!! 🙂
Tags: BBC See Hear, Bionic Ear, CI, CI operation, Cochlear Implants, Cyborg, Hearing loss & Cochlear Implant journey, switch on, tinnitus
Today is my first full day as a fully fledged Cyborg. It has been a long hard journey to get to this point today and I wish I could say that it is all smelling of roses right now………but I can’t……….not yet anyway!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very positive about the whole Cochlear Implant journey but today it feels like my hearing has taken a step backwards in some respects as well as a step forward in others. For someone who has had normal hearing for most of my life it has been hard to keep my expectations in check. No matter how hard you tell yourself not to expect much, you can’t help but have that secret hope buried deep down that suddenly everything will be normal again. I’ve told so many people exactly that, that maybe I forgot somewhere down the line to tell myself!!
For those of you who don’t know, this is what happens at ‘switch on’.
Firstly you are attached with your external unit. In my case I have the Advanced Bionics. You sit there and are asked to listen for some beeps and to tell them to stop turning it up once the volume seems loud but comfortable. They did this for all the 16 electrodes in my head. I was pleased to say that I could hear them all. Although it was the strangest sounding noise I have ever experienced. I can only describe it as ‘controlled tinny robotic sounding tinnitus’. Not horrible tinnitus but right inside the head where tinnitus seems to lurk none the less.
Then, once the levels have been set, the audiologist switches you on. Sound immediately flowed into my right hand side in a very mechanical way. Exactly what I had expected or what I thought I’d expected because this is something that, no matter how you describe it or read about it, you just cannot understand until it actually happens to you. Someone I was talking to today compared it to child-birth!! Before all you ladies start sending me evil messages it was only a comparison in the fact that you can never know what child-birth is like until you actually experience it for yourself!! I for one will stick to the CI switch on thank you very much!!! 🙂
So. What can I hear now? Well, on activation I very quickly began to pick out voices. Not very clearly and nothing I could really understand but voices none the less. Everyone did and still does sound like they have been sucking on helium balloons before they speak!!!
Voices are definitely the hardest to work out. I can however hear random things like…..me typing this……..and the kettle and microwave. I could hear the radio in the car a little and managed to work out a song that was playing. You’re the one that I want……ooh……oooh……oooooh!! 🙂 Yes it was dodgy local radio but I haven’t been able to control the radio for a while!! I’m looking forward to getting talksport back on soon!!!
I am strangely finding that I can pick out music better than expected. I came straight home with my box of gadgets you get with the Implant and went straight for the MP3 player. Plugged straight in and managed to make out Pink Floyd and Red Hot Chilli Peppers!! That was only after 2 hours activation!! I haven’t had the chance to try it again yet today but I’ve been told not to rush it as I don’t want to overload the old brain.
I have been back to work today and found I need to use my Hearing aid in the other ear to improve my communication. Again, I have been told to try to use my CI with and without the HA so I am sat back at home now with just the CI. I must admit though it is tempting to use both as suddenly I find I’m hearing in stereo for the first time in over 10 years!!! I like that a lot!!! Even though it is still mainly noise I’m hearing………at least it’s in stereo!! 🙂
Did I start this post sounding a bit negative?? Now I’ve just read what I have typed I realise that actually it has been a really positive switch on!! See what writing a blog does for you!! I am already finding that I want more volume but will have to wait until next Wednesday when I go back for a re-tuning session. Patience Graham!!
Oh…….yeah……..I can hear the dial tone on the telephone!! I rang my wife on it and could clearly hear that she said something…………no idea what………..but hey………..that was only after 4 hours switch on!! See this is getting better by the minute!!
Right. I’m waffling now so I’m gonna sign off with the best part of all. I can hear my little robotic girls!! They will sound more normal in time but hey ho………one step at a time!!! 🙂