I’m going down to…………la la land!!

July 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Posted in Cochlear Implants, Language, Speech | 9 Comments
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Yesterday (Wed 7th July 2010) was my 4 week mapping, hearing and speech test appointment.  This is my second visit since being switched on and I was looking forward to finding out how much I had improved since my last tests were done with just a Hearing Aid.

I knew already that I was achieving quite a lot with the CI but it is nice to see for yourself on paper and in numbers what your actual improvements are. 

How do I know that I was already doing well??  For starters I have been practicing with both the HA and without and as soon as I took it out I noticed very little difference in the sound quality I was getting in the CI.  If I did it the other war round and took the CI off just leaving the HA it was a massive difference!!  I can’t actually believe I have been struggling on with just the HA for so long.  No wonder I was alway tired!!  That leads on to the next point.  I no longer feel absolutely knackered all the time from concentrating so hard on what anyone is saying.  The CI is an amazing bit of kit.  It’s never going to be perfect……….but it’s a hell of a lot better than what I had.

What else has improved?  Well, even before my 1 week appointment I was noticing sounds becoming normal.  This has been taken on further now in the respect of sounds no longer sound robotic.  As close as to what I can remember sounds are pretty much spot on.  Some are still just noise (like road traffic), but not many.  Also everyone I know or meet sound like themselves again and not like the robots off the smash adverts (from the 80’s!! for you younger readers!!).  My girls are sounding like themselves too and not high-pitched cartoon characters on helium!!  Yay!!

For the last 2 weeks the TV has started to come through clearer.  If it is quiet I can now watch some programmes and not have to read the subtitles!!  I still need them on just in case I miss something but if it’s coming through now after such a short space of time then hopefully it will just keep on getting better.  The radio however is not as good.  Voices on there sound very tinny and high-pitched.  Music is coming through much clearer now and I am finding that my ‘old school’ dance albums are the easiest to listen to as the beat is so strong.  I recently discovered an old Cream Anthems album and stuck it on in the car and suddenly started hearing the title to this post quite clearly.  “I’m going down to………….la la land”!  Great tune!! 🙂  I must have seemed like a right boy racer blasting out the music.  I could feel the speaker vibrating against my leg so it must have been booming!! 🙂

My 4 week appointment started off with the mapping session.  This consisted of re-tuning my CI and turning the volume up on each electrode to new levels and playing around with the settings to get my best sound quality.  After these sessions everything sounds more distorted for a few days but I know this will settle down again after the weekend.

It was a bit mean, my audiologist told me, but they were going to do my speech recognition tests after my re-tuning.  I agreed it was a bit mean but got on with it anyway.  This test involves sitting in front of a monitor and watching a rather mundane man talk in sentences about anything from hobbies to the weather.  He sounds very droll and does not enunciate his words well at all!!

The first test (sound and picture) was with my HA & CI………..score……..98%  🙂

The second test (sound and picture) was just with my CI………score…….99%  🙂

The third test (just sound with subject prompts) with just CI………score……..95% 🙂

The fourth test (just sound, no subject prompts) with just CI………score……..92% 🙂

Just to make it clear the improvement made………..I only scored 7% on that fourth test before I had the CI!!!  🙂

Then I had lip-reading with no sound!!  This shows how bad I am at lip reading…………score…….23% 😦

Next test………all these tests………….. was a hearing test with the CI.  I was amazed at this result! Check out the picture below.  The lowest line is what I measured in my right ear before operation.  The high line is what I measure now with the CI!!  That is not far off normal hearing!!  Wahay!!  Not to get to carried away…………this is measured with just beeps.  It’s a lot different hearing beeps than hearing voices so I still have a long way to go. (Quick reality check there!).

My next appointment now is not for another 5 months although I can book in for any other sessions if I feel I need to.  It’s now just a question of doing my re-hab exercises (listening to music and Harry Potter audio books!) and just getting on with it!!! 🙂

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