Monday, January 23, 2012

What I Can Hear, Now

I have been wearing a cochlear implant on my left ear for a little over two months. Up to this point I’d been bi-modal. That is two modes of hearing, a CI on one side and a hearing aid on the other. My hearing aid provided my primary hearing and I had been learning to hear with the implant as an auxiliary.

I knew that one day the CI would become my primary hearing. I did not think it would be so fast. Maybe this is just temporary. What ever the case, this changes my rehab strategy.

During the first month (and mapping), I couldn’t hear anything with it, except rain on the roof and a barking dog. Neither sounded anything close to normal and both were as quiet as a whisper. Everything was set low, due to my sensitivity to the stimulation.

During the second month (and mapping),  I could hear lots of noise, but nothing “real.” The blanging clanging whistling sounds enveloped everything. I could, on occasion and using a direct connection between the processor and cell phone, recognize a song and follow it. Words still escaped me.

Now, I have lost my hearing in my aided ear. I am dependent on my CI for all sound input. It is still mostly unclear garble with some recognizable sounds coming out.

Here is what I can identify. I will add an asterisk* to things that sound almost “right.”

  • Knocking on wood or glass*
  • Clapping hands*
  • Pretty much any impact sound
  • My son’s toy train
  • Running water
  • The toilet flushing
  • That someone is talking
  • Bird’s chirping (Though I am having lots of jungle-sound tinnitus, so I never know if it is real or imagined. Pretty sure the monkeys aren’t.)
  • I can identify some songs
  • I can follow some speech for short periods of time when the corresponding text is in front of me.

I get about 30% of my wife’s words right when I get her say a word in a category three times. For example, if I give her the category fruit, she might say, “Banana, banana, banana” I understand the word about 3 times in every ten exercises.


  1. Sounds (pun intended) like you are on the right track. Hang in there, it gets better!

  2. Be careful with the word glass*. :-) You will get through this ... however it turns out. My wish for you is that if you hear nothing else you hear love and laughter all around you. You're in my thoughts.

  3. Thank you for the encouragement. If my hearing comes back on the right side, following the pattern of earlier losses, it will take 4-6 months. My cochlear implant rehab is also going to take about that long until I can understand voices. So, either way, I am looking at a couple of months of lip reading.