I noticed my hearing loss when I was on my 10th standard, till that time I was good in one-to-one conversation and was not able to hear from the backside. It became serious during my plus two studies. I really started noticing when we switched to a new house and I was staying on the top floor when the land phone rang I was not hearing it This was placed in the hall on the ground floor. So went to see the ENT doctor and got diagnosed with profound sensorial hearing loss of 50%. [The doctor said like, that is what the status of hearing that was available at that time.] The doctor suggested using a hearing aid and I bought one. It was pretty good at first, later it was no use. Then switched to a more powerful one and it was also like the first one, was good in the beginning, and later it was no use. It helped to move on with my life for some time though. In between, it went bad so I stopped using it. I was not using any hearing aid for 5 years and all that time I was completely on lip-reading but there was some residual hearing left, time went on and I got married, at a point, I was not able to attend to any phone calls, only texting. So after a few years, I had to switch jobs and had to attend interviews, at that time I realized that I had to do something or I will be thrown out of my life. I tried my best and got a new job and was almost financially stable. So thought about doing the Cochlear Implant. So done my research and went to see a doctor, he told me CI will definitely improve my hearing. So after what the doctor said it took a year to get the finance ready with some loans to do the surgery Since in India no insurance cover the CI device or surgery.
The first step after your doctor suggests a Cochlear Implant is an MRI and CT scan of your Internal ear structure. This is to Identify the Cochlea length and nerve status So that the surgeon can decide which electrode will fit inside our Cochlea. Then we have to see the audiologist and the Implant representative and we should decide which company we should get the implant from (this was suggested by the doctor). Here I have done my personal research and talked to lots of people on Facebook who had implanted and finally choose my brand. There will be some pre-counseling and pre-implantation therapy.
Those who have confused about choosing brands of CI focus on the accessories that match your lifestyle. There are positives and negatives to every brand but in the end, every brand CI will get the job done. So choose the accessories that match your lifestyle.
So after that decided it was time to fix the surgery date. I was going nervous since I was still not sure if this was the right decision for me.
The surgery date was fixed, got admitted one day prior to the surgery. and surgery took about 3 to 4 hours. Post-surgery you will be feeling pain everywhere in the head. It will be like that for a week’s time and there will be some variation in pain throughout the week, the pain will be less and we will be on pain killers mostly. You will be discharged the next day after surgery with the head bandage on.
After a week, the stitch was removed and I washed my head. There was some part shaved and I was on rest for 3 weeks. The switch-on happens after 3 weeks. So that was waiting time after surgery.
The D day 29th July 2019
On 29th July 2019, it was about 3 weeks after the Cochlear implantation surgery the external device was switched on. The switch-on process was like testing some kind of beep and beeps loudness adjusted by the tech. After switching on I was on program 2 which is like soft sound pleasant to hear. The first thing I noticed was that every sound was similar in manner, which means everything was sounding the same. The tech sound and the audiologist sound etc was the same, can say like the sound coming from the Chinese electric toys. I was hearing the individual sound right away. Means like tapping on the desk, clapping, making noise with fingers, etc.
The speech was understandable with visual clues, which means lip reading was pretty easy. I was always speaking loudly in public places it becomes normal loud since I can hear my sound and loudness. The one-to-one conversation was pretty good with visual clues. After 2 days I was able to differentiate between male and female voices. But the kids were sounding the same. This means my 2 kids’ sound was the same plus I tried to hear sound from the tv program that the kids participated in, but it was sounding the same. After one week I switched to program 3 which was a bit loud when I changed and it becomes normal in a couple of days.
Joined office after 2 weeks post activation on program 3. By the time I was good in a one-to-one conversation with visual clues, I mean the conversation was easy to make with sound assistance. I tried to listen to as much conversation from different mediums as youtube, Ted talks, etc. I tried to listen to songs I was able to follow the lyrics of songs that I already know, but not the new or unknown songs. This went like that for 2 weeks and suddenly I started hearing words here and there without visual clues.
After a month and I am able to listen and get some words in between conversations but not completely(without visual clues). I am right now hearing talks on YouTube and Spotify. Getting some words in between conversations but can’t fully follow without closed captions.
So in between the therapy session was in progress and I started hearing car horns, tire sounds, and different kinds of birds sounds. Sound when paper or plastic cover crumbles, falling water from the tap. Steel plates and glass were put on the kitchen slab. Waking sound of kids(the clap sound when the feet touch the floor). The stones that squeeze under the feet when walking etc.
The current situation is like I can hear conversation 50 feet away from me but cannot follow or understand a thing. Meanwhile, the audio-visual therapy was going on every week and I think I was like 40% getting things and the rest 60 % had to get repeated several times to understand the words.
Some of the pronunciation of some words like VA, ma (native language) when combined in words I was not able to hear the sound. The last time audiologist tried numbers,2 digits were okay but were not able to follow much when combined like nine hundred and thirty like combination or 30, 70, 60 ( Means the audiologist will say 3 numbers in sequence and we have to get that repeated) like the combination.
Therapy was on progress and I feel some improvement, there was some variation in the sound I hear now so I am thinking it is probably a mapping issue.
Tried to switch to program 4 but it was like muffling like the sound is there but the volume increased when trying to hear a song with a headphone.
The Mapping or Programming
THE SECOND MAPPING
This was scheduled on The tech was present and what he had done was to control the simulation to each electrode which I can afford maximum, which means the max setting which I can hold without any difficulty. He tried to explain what he was doing on the program and all and how things work. Since I had already done my research on this it was pretty smooth. After the first adjustment/map I just went outside to sit in my car and tried to talk with my wife. It was pretty loud and I was having a slight headache, so went back and adjusted the low frequency to make it okay. After the low-frequency adjustment, it was good. Now tech says that the next map will be after 3 months.
THE SECOND MAPPING RESULTS
It was good and I was able to hear words and follow small sentences. From the day. I came back home and tried my usual thing Audiobook I was able to hear some words here and there without any visual clues. Repeated those for the other days and I was able to follow more. The first time heard a new song with lyrics app a few times and I was able to follow it later when I repeated it without lyrics.
What I noticed is that CI is good in encoding rhythm not the pitch in songs. So we have to choose songs without much instrumental sound to follow the lyrics else the rhythm will be over the pitch and we will not be able to hear the lyrics. For those who had never heard the sound, I would say rhythm is a sequential vibration that we like when hearing music. When we like a rhythm we normally clap or move our feet or head in the pattern of rhythm. Pitch means the high and low sound in music means the up and down of the tones and things.
So things are better than before but, I think there is still room for improvement. Sometimes I feel like the sound is cutting off. Don’t know what is the exact issue here mapping or my brain will do my research in between. It is better now can hear a sentence at some point in a conversation. Some low-tone sounds are missing. Next week is the aided audiogram. I can know where the problem is. The therapy was going on. I was able to recognize most of the random words the audiologist was saying. So look better at this point.
So the Aided Audiogram is complete and the low tones are missing. Audi said we need more practice and a map. In between, there was an inauguration function in the office and there was some DJ party. I was wondering why I was not able to hear the bass. So now it makes sense that it is because the low tones are missing.
Now I am trying to isolate the sound in low tones to hear.
So it is another week and the low tones are not so good. Still hard to hear some, It’s like sound gets lost in the middle of a conversation. I tried listening to an audiobook and it’s better and can follow the sentence. So basically every training is on native language right now and looks good so far.
I tried for an English audiobook but need visual clues. I have to work on it more after my native language gets perfect. Time is going on with therapy and waiting patiently for the magic to happen soon.
[Note: Still I did not try a conversation over the phone. I have talked to security about the cab calls on speakerphones but getting nervous and I cannot understand the conversation. I get here and there. 🙂 ]
The therapy was in progress in the native language is almost good in the booth and one-to-one conversation is excellent, the group conversation is difficult but I get it most of the time. Started attending the office meeting in hangout meet which is in English and in a different accent, I was getting words here and there but was able to understand what the thing they are talking about.
In between, there was a 3rd Mapping done due to the issue of the low tone, and is better now and was able to here my wife talks most of the time without turning my head while driving the car.
The conversation is going well right now. Group things are getting better. I attended a standup comedy show in between and was able to understand when there is no audience noise.
So there it is. It is a long time since I updated here. It is being a year after Implant. My current progress is that I can make phone calls with the loudspeaker in my native language with strangers. Pretty good in meeting and watching tutorial videos on various training sites. I started watching movies and songs. Most go the time I get it. Some time has to repeat. Due to corona lockdown therapy is closed and I rely on audiobooks movies and tutorials. Started hearing some new sounds like clock tick and water drops and birds sounds. Small small sounds are being identified. It is pretty good at the moment. Don’t think that I am perfect like a normal person hears. There is a lot of scope for improvement. In between I get the device mapped a couple of times and at that point, it feels so good.
The blog which is published on Med-EL