...and I still love my new mapping.
I was invited to be on a cochlear implant panel in Chattanooga over the weekend. All the manufacturers were represented and we had a good discussion about the impact that implants have had on our lives. It was more of an "experience" panel than a technology one. I spent the weekend with the wonderful and very gracious Ruth Fox and her husband Gary, and Ruth's friend Margo Klug from Michigan. I had never met Margo before but was prepared to like her on first sight based on reports from others who loved her. I absolutely adored her. Ruth was the veteran implant user in our group; she's coming up on her 26 year cochlear implant anniversary. Margo wasn't far behind her, at 24 years. I absolutely LOVED picking these ladies' brains and hearing about their experiences. In return, they enjoyed hearing about my experience with this study. We put the program through its paces thoroughly. Church, implant panel, the mall, noisy restaurants, road noise, the Hallmark store with its singing Easter display. Margo and I stayed up past midnight every night talking then we'd get up and start again bright and early the next morning.
A few observations:
Over the time that I was in Chattanooga I noticed a big difference in the changes in my hearing. When I first got there on Saturday afternoon I was still adjusting to the new sounds, but by the time I left on Tuesday afternoon I was hearing very comfortably. Music sounds clear and harmonious, I hear much better in noise than I thought I would, and conversations in quiet are pretty much effortless. I found myself grumpy because I wasn't getting everything in noisy environments until I realized that I was actually getting a LOT, and that the results were close to, or better than, my results with ClearVoice. Had a really good experience at Mellow Mushroom; we sat in front of the kitchen and we could watch them making our pizza. Our seats, however, were not quiet ones. Regardless, I heard Margo very clearly beside me, and was able to carry on a conversation with Ruth and Gary across the table very comfortably. The biggest change is that I'm able to tolerate these loud places. That's very new to me. After years of feeling overstimulated and exhausted after a noisy dinner out, the calmness that this program offers is a huge relief. I am able to wear the processor from sun up until bedtime. There is still the occasional overly loud sound, but overall, everything just has a gentler quality to it.
Church last night, at one week post-mapping, was wonderful. Voices were the proper tone and loudness and the music was harmonious. Sounded better than it had in years. Comprehension in conversations after Bible study was very good, and when I was getting in the car, I heard one of the kids talking near the door of the building, which was about 80 feet away. I did not hear what he said, but was startled at how clearly his voice came through. I don't remember ever hearing that before.
One issue that I'm just not sure about is that I seem to be going through batteries at warp speed. Granted, my batteries are old. They are all five years old. I need new ones but since I am hoping for the new AB processor this summer, I really don't want to ask my insurance company to pay for them. It seems that most of my batteries had dropped to around the 8-10 hour charge point, but in the past few days I've only been getting about six hours to a charge. I know that I've been in some really loud situations, which tend to drain batteries a little faster, but that's fast enough that I'm having to stay on top of my charging :) I'll ask them about it when I go back to see what causes that.
This will be my last update for a few weeks; I'll post the official results of my study when I go back on April 8th. I don't think I'll have a lot new to report over the next few days...in a nutshell, I love this program, I hear better than I have in a long time, it's more comfortable, more wearable, more clear, and music sounds better. I may have surprises in what I hear here and there and if I do I'll share them, but I don't want to become repetitious! Of course I'd love to answer questions if there are any; you can ask here, email me, or post on Facebook.
I changed the template because I have a hard time reading white lettering on black backgrounds, and over the past few months I've started having issues seeing white lettering on gray as well. I hope that this makes it much more readable for everyone else, but please let me know if you have any issues reading it. I just changed it to a random, simple template, but haven't really looked it over yet.