Tag Archives: Sound

Changing Environment

Illustration of internal parts of a cochlear i...

Hey Guys!

I know it has been a very long time since I’ve updated, and I really appreciate all of the nice comments and feedback left on my old posts. I still check them every couple of days and I always enjoy what people have to say.

I haven’t updated in a while due to the fact that I had nothing new to tell, but as of yesterday there is some new news and information!

I’ll start in the beginning. I’ve reciently taken on a new job as a Holistic Reader for my university. I’m loving the change of jobs and the semester is going very well. I’m still on track to become an audiologist, hopefully I’ll see that dream come true within the next few years!

I’ve recently been experiencing difficulty with comprehension on both my implant side and my hearing aid side. Both my comprehension and sound recognition have gotten more difficult to work with the past few months. I’ve been putting off going to the audiologist because my insurance doesn’t cover appointments but the difficulties finally became severe enough that I went.

I spent two hours getting mapped (new programming for the implant), and my audiologist decided to start a new stimulation style for my implant. If you would have asked me two days ago if I knew about alternative stimulations on the implant, I would have had no idea what you were talking about. Basically getting the new stimulation means that the way the implant stimulates my nerve is different than before. We decided to try this alternative mapping because the old one was over-stimulating my nerves in my neck and face and causing a shocking sensation down my neck and shoulders. I’m not exactly sure on the science behind it, but I can certainly tell you about how the patient handles the new stimulation.

It seems as if I have just been activated for the first time all over again.

Unfamiliar sounds are all around me, I can clearly hear people on the telephone again. Everything is different and it is definately a learning experience. People’s voices are unfamiliar and my car makes noises that I’ve never noticed before. The toilet is loud and one of my co-workers sounds like Mickey Mouse. The rain was loud last night and I’m still unfamiliar with what a blizzard sounds like. Music for me has changed and my keyboard sounds very loud. All of this is another whole new experience for me.

To some people that sounds horrible and scary, but to me it is one of the best sensations in the world. My old mapping was starting to become ineffective and I was starting to miss out on key things throughout my environment. Although I’m facing a learning curve ahead of me, I can tell that this alternative stimulation style will help me in the long run. As my audiologist put it, “I’m taking one step backwards to go three steps forward”.

After discussion with my audiologist, we are going to start looking into getting another implant on my left side. My audiologist would like to see me wait until the fall to get implanted for newer technology, but it is definately news that we are looking into getting another one. I’ll definately keep this page updated with additional news as it unfolds.

I hope you have a great afternoon and please feel free to comment in the section below, I love reading feedback!

-Connor

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Waking Up

As I’m sitting in my dorm room, I just put my hearing aid and cochlear implant on. I’m just sitting here observing sounds that I had never heard before I had been activated. One sound that struck me was my roommates breathing as he’s sleeping. Another thing that I’ve heard is somebody unlock their door to the bathroom that we share. I heard my computer’s hard drive slow down just a minute ago. All of these are sounds that I had never heard before. It is truly amazing that something so small can be put in your head and you can be given the gift of hearing.

Something that was hard for me to get over when I was deciding to get the cochlear implant was the cosmetic appearance of the outside device. To me, it’s quite large. Honestly, it probably isn’t any different to any other hearing aids that I’ve had in the past, but the thing that was bothering me was the magnet and the wire that connected to it. It seemed huge. Now that I’ve gotten the external piece activated, and I’ve heard the sounds, honestly I couldn’t care less what other people think about what it looks like.

Sure, I’ve had a few stares here and there, and I’ve had a 75 year old man at Pops point out that we had the same equipment (it isn’t the first time), but honestly I don’t care. I had gone so long without hearing sounds and now to be able to hear them is awesome. Sure, it looks a little different, but it allows me to be able to hear almost everything.

The cochlear implant allows me to be able to turn around when you say my name, it allows me to hear the punch line to the joke that everybody is laughing at, it allows me to be able to hear the full lecture in class, it allows me to understand the TV show without captions, it allows me to go to the movies and do more than stare at actors, and most important: it allows me to connect to people, because being deaf can disconnect you from people if you let it. Just as anything else will.

Have a good day!

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Well… I’m On!

Walmart

Walmart (Photo credit: matteson.norman)

I’m turned on, and it’s pretty awesome… with the cochlear implant I mean. When I walked in the door this morning I was promised that I was going to hate that office by the time I left them, and they couldn’t be further from wrong. I am very happy with how the cochlear implant turned out. It is absolutely amazing with how this had unraveled. I will outline everything’s events for you, I’ll eventually have the activation on youtube so you can see it and I’ll post the link on here. But for now, I’m going to write about it here.

So I woke up to the normal silence that I’m used to this morning, except this time I woke up before the sun and got ready because I knew I was going to get activated today. I got ready, took the shower and put the underwear on. Then went to the office.

Then Jace hooked me up to the computer, this part was like a normal hearing test. Basically we sat there for about twenty minutes playing beeps into my newly activated ear, testing threshold limits and “mapping” out my comfort levels. This was the longest part of it all. If you’ve never had a hearing test, I’ll explain it here (if you have, skip to next paragraph): they basically play every level of sound within the graph, and test at what level you pick up on the sound. Sometimes they retouch on the tone to see if you test repeatedly at the same level at the same tone. This is what they did to me this morning.

Then it came time to turn on the cochlear implant’s microphone. That was weird. He turned it on and at first I didn’t hear anything, then as he raised it I started to hear voices and make out tones in my right ear. For the first time in as long as I could remember, I was having a conversation out of my right ear! It sounded like the voice was coming out of a walkie talkie from 20 feet away. But it’s getting better now. It was really strange because I could hear the keys clicking and the door knocking but the voices were the most difficult thing to distinguish. Then static started to appear, he pushed a button and everything started to sound really clear, the voices sounded far away still but I can still understand them. The voices all sounded like Mickey Mouse, no kidding.

It is so difficult to describe to you the sound, but I can tell you the bells and whistles occur at the beginning, the evil description is wrong, everybody sounds like Mickey Mouse right now. I’m kind of enjoying it, I went to the mall and seeing a 6 ft man sound like Mickey Mouse makes me laugh. I’m going to hope that goes away though, but for now it’s funny.

I did my first speech therapy session and I’m already having conversations on the cell phone, which apparently is a big step for somebody on their first day of activation. According to my speech therapist, I’m doing very well for a newly activated cochlear implant recipient, it is hard to feel that way though. I’m having difficulty distinguishing sounds and every little thing is scaring the crap out of me (like the low gas beep in the car, never heard that before).

I will keep everybody posted on my progress! According to my speech therapist, I’m doing well though. That makes me feel better.

Just so everybody knows, I asked my audiologist, my total for all of this cochlear implant and everything….. around $70,000.00. No big deal.

Have a good day guys, if you see somebody freaking out about a car horn in the Walmart parking lot, it’s probably me.

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3 Days!

Yes, that is right. In the number of days it took Jesus to resurrect from the dead, I will have my hearing in my right ear. Three days. It’s weird to think that something I’ve been waiting so long for is finally coming and is so close.

I’m pretty nervous to hear what everything is going to sound like. I mean if you simply Google “what a cochlear implant sounds like?”. You get about as many theories as there are how the earth got founded.

For instance:
1. Some people describe the activation of the cochlear implant as buzzing.
2. Some people say it sounds like bells and dings. (?)
3. Some people say it sounds evil. (The boy fell from the window)
4. Some people say the sound sounds mechanical. (I’m betting on this one)
5. Some people say the sound is overwhelming. (Pansies)
6. Some people say voices sound like chipmunks (Some people already do)

*There are many, many more descriptions.

I got to wondering: Why do so many people say such radically different descriptions about the same subject. Then it hit me, it’s because some people saying this don’t know sound before hand. They are just saying weird things to try and describe their newly discovered sound to their hearing-enabled friends. It is like asking a blind person to describe what they see (i.e blackness, darkness, little bit). They just don’t know because all they ever knew was being blind. If they got there sight magically, they may not know how to describe to you the sensation to gaining sight.

Luckily, I know what sound sounds like from my left ear. My right ear doesn’t know sound. So I’m getting the best of both worlds. I’m very anxious and excited at the same time. I can’t wait to hear certain things and I’m looking forward to it! I will definitely tell you my standpoint of what it sounds like from my newly activated cochlear implant. It will take several sessions of therapy to understand the sounds, but I’m ready to go.

Thank you guys for the continued support and prayers. I hope you had a Good New Years!

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