This is the fourth week after my initial activation and first mapping. I have not experienced usable or practical hearing in my left ear, but I have noticed improvements and signs of things to come each day. Here are some recent observations.
- I only notice the sound in my left ear, when I turn off my hearing aid in my right ear. My CI processor is set very, very low. I was experiencing a high degree of discomfort with sound at my first activation and they decided to ease me into it. No matter how loud something is, I only hear it at the level of a cricket in the distance. Because it is so low, and because it is not identifiable, the sound just gets washed out and ignored. It’s kind of like a mild ear-ringing.
- I can “hear” some things with my cochlear implant that I can not hear with my hearing aid. The word “hear” is in quotes, because even though I register a sounds, I can not identify them. Most everything sounds like a cricket or a clink. Anyhow, I was talking to Mr S today, and I was telling him about my experience. He asked if I could hear the rain outside. I listened. I could not hear anything. I tried turning my hearing aid off, and sure enough, I could detect the sound of the rain. Sounds that are too soft for me to hear with my hearing ear are registering with my implanted ear.
- Some sounds still give me a drowsy feeling. Though I have made vast improvements in my adaptation to the auditory nerve stimulation, I can see that I will need to go a little at a time. The feeling is much like being startled out of falling asleep. It is a sleepy feeling in general. I have had no more shock kind of pain because of sound.
- The volume is so low, that I can not really evaluate the sound. Everything is just at detection level. I know if something is making noise or not, but that’s as far as it goes. I can’t tell what it is nor how loud it is without depending on my right ear.
- Vanity is not an issue. I wondered, before getting the surgery, if I would feel like I looked funny or get stared at. I honestly haven’t thought about it at all, and rarely notice people noticing. I feel proud when they do notice.
On Monday, I will go in for my second mapping. My audiologist has moved to another clinic in the state of Rio de Janeiro. I will meet a new audiologist for this mapping. I am going to see if I can get the volume put a little higher than what is comfortable for me, and have the remote programmed with a little more freedom on the volume control.
I expect that once the volume gets high enough to not get washed out as irrelevant background noise, the CI will compete for my attention. This might cause some temporary difficulty in understanding conversation, but it will be a logical step forward.