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Tammy Gets an Implant - Six Months Later

A totally changed life

By Tammy

Updated April 12, 2011

from interference between all of my technology gadgets that I use and the use of different kinds of patch cords can have different effects. I will stick with Advanced Bionics patch cords from now on.

I can tell when it's almost time to purchase new batteries from AB. With each mapping, the length of time the batteries last lessen. On day 1 I used one full size battery which lasted all day (about 8-10 hours) and now I am up to 2 full size or 1 full size and one half size battery per day or more. My days now last from about 5am in the morning to 11 at night so my days are also longer than they used to be. I stay up far later and find life a lot more exciting. I am charging 2-3 batteries a night but have found it to be as routine as taking daily medication. They charge up in a few hours and none have completely died on me yet.

On my visit May 12th, only one new map was given in P3 (program 3) to allow me to test out some very particular tasks in the workplace. I am keeping P1 and P2 because Bob feels things are beginning to "level out" or stay the same and no change is necessary at this time because of how well I am doing. P3 is now being used to open up the sensitivity to allow a wider window of sounds in. In other words, whispers so those in my workplace – watch out! Talk behind my back and you will regret it. Smile!

Three tests were also performed on this day. These tests were repeated from activation weekend, all with the exception of one, which was a bit more challenging, because all were so easy! The first was a normal hearing test. Listen to the beeps and press the button. Simple. Turns out I scored 15db in several areas and 20db in all other points. My audiogram score had improved! The second test performed was an Everyday CID test in Quiet. See http://www.starkey.co.kr/upload/CID_SentenceTest.pdf for more information on what a CID test is if you aren't already familiar with it. Sentences vary so not all tests are the same I predict. I scored a 100% on this test and it was extremely easy for me compared to when I had taken it before. The third test performed was CID in Noise. The background noise sounded like a heavy SHHHH noise and was even in range to the range of the voice playing on the CD. This required a bit more concentration but no more than you'd need in a party-type environment. You just relax....listen....to me I found this fun and not that hard at all. I did close my eyes a few times in order to concentrate. I enjoyed that challenge as the other tests appeared too easy. Remember in previous reports when they were too hard? I scored a 96% on this CID in noise test. Bob stated that was truly amazing and I would have to agree the results were very positive. It has turned out to be far more than I could have asked for. I am extremely blessed. We went on to discuss the possibilities of implanting the opposite ear. Turns out there are significant instances where I could benefit. For one being able to decipher where cars are coming from and which direction noises are coming from. Remember the comments about the phone earlier? Well imagine cars and not knowing if they are coming in front of you or in back of you. This could be dangerous and I am in favor of bi-lateral implants to those interested. For myself, it is a consideration I may work on accepting as my own for my own safety reasons.

On Mother’s Day my family and I went to a dinner held at my grandmother’s house. I could hear three or four conversations going on at once and could "tune in" to any one of them and participate at will. It was pretty cool and I am getting a bit more comfortable doing it as time passes. It helps when you aren't criticized and people can actually help you fit in. I am picking up on the personalities of my family members so much better and I feel more connected with them. I am starting to decipher based on those personalities in the real world, those people I want to become involved with and those I do not. This is a significant improvement from the past. As a deaf person you don’t realize it but so much is masked!

This whole positive outlook is not to say there are not challenges in the workplace or anywhere else in my life. The Cochlear Implant does change you and it will change your relationships with those around you. It will open you up to a world you were not aware of before. Listening to people with accents is extremely challenging. I now know hearing people have the same challenges yet I believe the hearing/deaf react very differently to those challenges. I like to compare it now to almost how the hearing must feel when they are meeting a deaf person for the first time and not knowing sign language, barriers and different levels of understanding will exist. Looking at things from a different perspective has helped. It closes many gaps in communication but it is still sad that we (the deaf/hard of hearing) need to take such steps to close those gaps.

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