Why? Because I was asked to participate in a research on bimodular people like me. Bimodular means that I wear a hearing aid (HA) in one ear and a cochlear implant (CI) in the other. How effective is it? How much of a difference does it make?
My first appointment was with the researchers. All I had to do was repeat sentences I heard on a recording of a male voice. No sweat. I’m used to this kind of testing. During parts of the testing, I had to wear just the CI or the HA or both. I did not catch everything with the CI or with the CI and HA together, but I know it was a lot better than just the HA alone. I don’t know if I will get results for that testing.
The testing was done and I was given a $10 gas card and a sticker for free parking at the hospital. (The hospital had a huge parking ramp.) Since Hubs just dropped me off to go pick up something and come right back, the parking fee wasn’t a lot, but we can use the ticket for the next trip.
Then I was placed back into the waiting room to wait for my mapping appointment. I hear a voice call my name. I look up and expected to see my audie, but it was someone else. She said she was a student working with my audie. I’ve seen this before with wither audies. Every once in a while, I’ll meet a student interning with an audiologist. . The student said that my audie was on the phone in another area and will be right back.
I was told I could skip the recorded, “repeat after me” tests because I just had it with the researchers. (Yay. Happy dance.) But,….yep, there’s a but…..I still had to have an updated audiogram. This is the tone test with various high and low noises. I just had to raise my hand any time I heard them. The sounds go in the normal to really soft range to nothing.
I told her I was wondering if my hearing in my right ear had gotten worse because I couldn’t hear as well as I used to with it or was it because my brain got used to the hearing levels I got with my CI.
So, we did the tone test. She tested me with my right ear without my HA and then without my CI. My audiologist never did any testing without my CI on, but I didn’t say anything except that I wouldn’t hear a thing without my CI on. She tested me anyway. Suddenly I got this dizzying sensation, like I had a sudden weight putting pressure on my head. I blurted out, “It makes me dizzy.” She apologized and stopped.
Then we went back to the office. I asked the student if my hearing declined in my right ear. She looked up my old records and said it’s about the same. So that just tells me that my brain is so used to hearing with the CI that I can really notice how “bad” I’m hearing with my HA ear.
My audiologist returned. I ask about her baby. Wow. Almost 10 months old already. J
We talk a bit about baby stuff and we move on to the mapping.
Again, the student was doing the work, getting some practice. I had to tell her if certain tones were too soft, comfortable, or too loud. They find that medium and adjust the CI. She tells me she’s ready to turn it on. I listen. It sounded like I was in a closed room. My audiologist asks me if it was “too hollow”.
“Yes,” I nod. “That’s it.”
The student does some more adjusting, changing some of the mapping with a few clicks on the keyboard. It’s all digital, literally, with fingers (digits), too. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.)
It sounded a bit better, still a little hollow.
The audie asks if it was “just different.”
Again, I nod, “Yes, it’s…different.”
I didn’t know if I liked it.
The audie suggests that I try using the new map for a week and see how I like it. One processor will have the new map while my back-up processor will have the old map. Either way, I can return a processor via Fed Ex. If I didn’t like my new map, I could return the processor with the new map so it could be returned to the old one or return the other processor with the old map to change it to the new map if I liked it.
It’s been four days now with the new map. So far I like it. I think I am going to return the processor with the old map on it.
Oh, one more thing….she told me that from my audiogram results of my right ear, I could qualify for another CI. (What doesn’t make sense is that it’s been the same, why didn’t they say that before?) A part of me wants to go for another CI. But, do I want to go through the hassle with my insurance company again? And would they allow a second cochlear implant?
I have a lot of thinking to do…a lot of research. For one thing, the Nucleus Freedom is being replaced by a new one, the Nucleus 5 model. I am happy with my Freedom processors. The N 5 just got approved last fall, I think. So far, a new rechargeable battery is pending. I love my rechargeable batteries. And then there’s the FM receiver thing again. If I were to use the N 5, I would have to get a new FM receiver.
So much to think about….