Ok so I had an interesting extensive failed long winded audiogram yesterday at the CI clinic. I sat there, knowing I would never rarely press the button to say I heard a sound… but wanted to see what would come of it. It was the first time in many years I had headphones on instead of the little yellow foam ear inserts for an audiogram… and I’m not sure if that made a difference… but oddly, where as before I could feel that sound was being pumped into my head… this time I couldn’t… there was not tickling of the ear drum, there was no odd vibration in my inner ear, nothing. This time, I just sat there… being dumbfounded by the utter lack of noise. I am use to pressing the button only on my left side… but this time (thank you progrssive loss) I didn’t press it once.
Then we went to the aided test… I thought I would press the button more, and though I was right when compairing it to my air conduction test… it wasn’t much. My partner was in the booth with me when I was tested, which we soon found out was a mistake… they started the test… and I just sat there… looking at the intern who was testing me. The intern started to laugh, and I looked behind me… and this was similar to the site that I saw… even with her ear plugs, and me having my aids on… this was the site that I saw… she had to leave the booth.
Then we did the speech discrimination and sentence tests… what a wonderful
failure deaf person I was… I didn’t get a single one right with sound alone… I wouldn’t have even known that she was talking if she didn’t have a piece of paper over her mouth… so then… we did it with lipreading… and oh that was interesting… wanting to get them correct… and knowing I was accountable for them… she spoke, I read her lips, I asked her to repeat, sometimes many times… sometimes I got it on the first shot… but mostly, I needed her to repeat and give me other visual clues… it was interesting to say the least….
Before the auidological evaluation… we had a CI counseling session, in which I was told my expectations were too low. I’m not positive how much I trust this… but in a way it could be nice if she was right… My expectation was just to have more hearing than I do now… to be able to understand when there is music playing, and hopefully… be able to enjoy at least some of it… she said she expects me to be able to, within a year after implantation… to get 85-90% of sentences correct without having to lipread. She did warn me it will take a lot of work, and that I will not be happy I got it for the first few months after activation. But my decision is made… I am going to do it, I am going to get a CI, and my brand choice has been made up too… after a lot of thought, a lot of research, and finally, feeling the different processors and implants, I am going with Cochlear Americas N5.
I had hoped that feeling the different processors, how they felt behind my ear, would lead me to the correct decision, and I think it has. I felt that the Cochlear one was more solid, less flimsy and felt more natural behind my ear. The audiologist also informed me that she has seen the best reliability with the currently available implants for Cochlear. I know they had some recalls not too long back, but she explained to me what the recalls were, and why they happend. As well as the only MAJOR difference between the two implants was the size (which I honestly couldn’t see a difference in size). The one that was recalled was just a hair thinner than the other. I also got a huge 3 ring binder with information to look over, most of which I have already seen, read or understood. She did ease my mind quite a bit… I had been told by a previous interpreter (who is no longer working as an interpreter) that the bone had to be re-drilled every so often… and so forth… that she said was utterly untrue.
I asked questions for over an hour, she got some medical history (apparently I am the most organized patient they have had… I took a leaf out of the mom of a HoH, special needs [has severe reflux and apnea] book, and made a book of my own…) so I was able to hand over the last 3 years of audiograms to her… and she was amazed at the differences (if I get the chance, I will post the chart) and they said… I will be getting a CI after all… I just need to wait for insurance to approve my CT scan, get that scheduled, see the surgeon, schedule surgery (and get the time off from work), have the surgery, get activated, and start learning to listen… all before school starts in August?
Ok, minus the having to actually learn to listen before school starts… thankfully I have an amazing school, who didn’t even batt an eye when I told them I needed interpreters for class… they just said ok, thats fine! And I know it will not change even when I have my CI, I will still use my interpreters, they are so very helpful for me, I don’t know how I could do this without them. I’m not sure if I will use my CI in class or not next semester… I’m not sure if it will be distracting or not. I did not normally use my Hearing Aids in class last semester, being able to understand everything through ASL and nothing through my hearing. I will have to see how it goes… I still have time… but July (when the told me the surgery will most likely be) is only 2 months away… and feels like it could be tomorrow… (thankfully it isn’t)… I don’t know I could deal with that…
oh one last piece of news… the Audiologist said that I may need more speech therapy… to make my voice a little more intelligible, as well as help me (maybe) learn to understand the new type of signal my brain is getting from the implant… am I excited about this… no… but at least I know… in her words “I am the boss” (meaning me) so that if I decide I don’t want to keep going with it… I don’t have to!
so that is my news… I will be getting a CI… and for the most part, I feel good about it… having surgery is never an easy thing to decide, especially if it isn’t a life threatening condition (being Deaf isn’t) but I’m thinking it may help me out at work… and that is what I am looking forward to (and being able to hear music again!!!). and if I don’t like it… I can just not use it right?