Cochlear Implant Activation: Part 3

It’s hard to believe I haven’t posted anything since March 2nd. I meant to put up more regular updates about the cochlear implant because so much was changing so quickly. But as often happens, life got busy and time got away from me. And soon, what once was completely novel became the new normal (in a good way).

I was also under the illusion that I had posted a third update, but I was mixing up various e-mail updates I had sent out with my blog. I’ve pulled some text from two of these-mails to give more accurate description of what was happening at that time. I will post one below, the next one tomorrow, and then a more current update after that.

From March 24th

Overall things are going very well. At my last appointment (3 weeks after activation) the audiologist did some word and sentence tests (both while covering her mouth and with the recordings in the booth). It was very weird to realize that I was actually understanding her even when I couldn’t speech read. The recordings were a little harder but I was able to understand a lot of them. I was amazed when she told me I got 75% and that before the CI with hearing aids I got 0%. Wow! It’s really hard for me to get used to the fact that I can understand a disembodied voice saying some more complicated than “Say the word “Baseball”

Real life is messier of course, but I’m definitely understanding better in many situations. My wife was surprised when I understood some of what she and her sister were talking about to each other in the car when I was sitting in the back seat. I’ve also had the effect that other people with CI’s mention where I have to focus on the person and their voice to understand.

I’ve also learned to be careful about saying how much better I’m hearing to people I don’t know well. This guarantees that I have to ask them to repeat the next thing they say. Waiters are still a real challenge because of the background noise and the fact that by the time I focus and start to get what they’re saying they’ve finished talking.

One problem I’ve been having for the last week is feeling off balance. I had some of that right after the surgery but it seemed to clear up within a week or two. But a little over a week ago it started up again and got pretty bad for a while before finally subsiding (mostly anyway).

I’m not sure if flying made it worse. It definitely started a couple of days before our trip, but it seemed worse after the flight. For better or worse we were in Las Vegas so it was normal to be staggering around off balance. I never actually fell down, but I had a few close calls and learned to use the railing on the stairs. Hiking in Red Rock park was also a little stressful since my balance was still a little off. By the end of the trip, I was almost back to normal but I still feel a little bit off balance especially after I’ve been sitting for a while.

On the plus side, it was nice to have no change in my hearing after flying even when I could feel my ears popping from the pressure.


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