Cool wireless accessories

An advantage to this cochlear implant is that the brand, Cochlear, has partnered with a hearing aid manufacturer, Resound, for their wireless bluetooth accessories.

Among the wireless accessories offered are a TV Streamer that can be connected to the television with the audio streamed directly to the cochlear implant processor as well as a Phone Clip+ that can connect via Bluetooth to a cell phone for conversations streamed directly to the processor.

I have one implant as my other ear is better and does not qualify for one.  But I plan to buy a compatible hearing aid (a Resound hearing aid) so that if I make a phone call with the Phone Clip, it will stream the audio to both ears directly!  Right now, my hearing aid is a Phonak and their wireless portfolio is incompatible since they’re not partnered with Cochlear.

The television audio would also be streamed directly.

The Phone Clip and TV Streamer can also connect to other devices such as a computer, MP3 player, etc. so the applications for use are widespread!

Being able to use Bluetooth in this way is a welcome addition to the hybrid implant; a sort of cherry on top!

There is a wireless microphone that can be used in a classroom for example or at a restaurant – the microphone can be clipped to whom you want to hear and their voice is amplified.  But I have never enjoyed those types of products.  Hearing aids have had this option for years (usually called an FM system, but there are different technologies that are called a variety of things), but I have always preferred using the microphones on my hearing aids rather than these microphones.

Check out the wireless accessories here:

Hearing New Frequencies!

I had my second programming appointment today and it was amazing!  My brain is making the connection that the stimulation it is receiving is sound.  This started happening the last couple of days, but I wasn’t sure what was happening!  The sound is different than acoustic sound delivered from a hearing aid and is completely new, thus the need for the brain to rewire completely!

The acoustic portion (hearing aid) of the hybrid CI was adjusted to be more optimal for amplifying the low frequency hearing I have.  Thankfully, the test today showed that the low frequencies are still stable and thus I am able to continue to benefit from my residual hearing!  Whee!!!  This is a process that is continuously tested because even after the implant is placed, there is a risk that a person will lose their residual hearing.

I was thrilled as was my audiologist, Nancy, because I was able to distinguish between pitches in the appointment today.  I am so pleased and happy and feel so blessed and lucky!

This is truly a journey – a lifelong process.  Having the time to dedicate to this implant and allowing the brain to learn is so helpful and essential to the process.

Yes, I still have overwhelming moments of nerve stimulation, where it feels uncomfortable.  But I know the brain is working hard and this is par for the course!  I am so happy with today’s results and so pleased that my brain is capable of more sounds – especially given the length of time I have been hard-of-hearing!

First formal auditory training session today…

I had my first auditory retraining session today at University of Washington.  The AVT therapist, Lisa, and a third year audiology student, Jordan, are the members of my team.  I am so pleased to be able to help out with his education as he helps me with the process of adjusting to the hybrid cochlear implant.

It was a day of introductions and information gathering.  Lisa said the most successful people are the most motivated and positive in their personalities.  I feel I fit that quite well ;-).

I really enjoyed meeting both Lisa and Jordan as they both are wonderful people who are also curious and interested in the client.

They employ “meeting the client where the client is,” which is very important to me as a future psychotherapist.  This puts focus on the individual experience and not exclusively data or science.  Thus, the experience is seen as individual, which is the case for everyone.

I am their first hybrid recipient so that is unique in itself.  Most people with cochlear implants don’t have the acoustic input from residual low frequencies that I do and everything is electric, whereas for me, only the high frequency sounds are electric.

I wish AVT was more widespread for adult implant users as well as anyone who is new to hearing aids.  Not only do you learn to hear better, but you also develop strategies for coping with different types of scenarios, such as cell phone conversations.  This sort of assistance is so invaluable and while all my life I have received a lot of support, it would have been useful to have more access to this sort of formal help.  We live in a society that expects us to cope with things and be totally independent of any help.

We could all benefit from reaching out to others.  I mean we do that with friends, so why not with professionals when we need to?  I was researching auditory retraining resources in California, when I return, and was dismayed by the lack of AVT facilities in general as well as the almost exclusive focus on children.

There are many adults, such as myself, that would benefit from “mock” conversations we may have trouble with, in addition to the training given for rewiring the brain to hear more sounds.

I am so lucky to be getting this now.  Plus, since it is a teaching facility, the teaching gets to be a two-way street as I really support involving students in the process.  The cost is only $15 a session!  Normally, AVT is more expensive and is billed through insurance, but the University of Washington offers it at a nominal fee because of the fact that students are learning with their supervisors.


Thanks everyone for the support!  I really have been embracing the positive energy as the last few days have been a fluctuation of overwhelm and going with the journey.  I often am tired as getting used to these sensations and recovering from surgery are still very much occurring.  The worry that accompanies the unknown has seized me and left me worried and bed-bound at times.  But overwhelmingly, I’ve been able to take it all and continue on.

It can be hard to tolerate sensations that feel like jabs of nerves, especially when it occurs all at once as in noisy environments.

But I keep reminding myself that my brain is learning and this is par for the course.  I cannot know or control what will happen.

I am so happy that I chose this.  I wouldn’t do it any other way.  I am thrilled I got this surgery and am getting to go on this process.

Thanks again for the support.  It has been most helpful in difficult times!  I still constantly feel blessed and I will move forth. 🙂

Tomorrow is my first formal AVT (auditory verbal therapy) appointment where I will receive training.  But I’m not sure what the training will be like so early in the process as what I am experiencing is so much sensation.  On Wednesday, I have my second programming appointment and I’m looking forward to that appointment… well, just as long as I’m not asked “what” things I’m experiencing are!  That’s very difficult at this point!  Even determining if something is becoming more of a sound is difficult at this point.  But thankfully my audiologist has bilateral CIs and was very optimistic and understanding last week when I had my initial activation.



Hard to wait…

It’s definitely hard to wait for the next programming appointment, because I’m dealing with all of these sensations and getting used to them — or not so much yet!  I’m just eager to have more of a black-and-white process, but that’s not going to happen.  The auditory nerve getting stimulated in new areas, and sending signals to the brain, and the brain figuring out what to do with this input is all new.  This all does make sense that not everything I’m getting is auditory yet in format.  As my last blog post mentioned, I’m getting all kinds of sensations at this point because it is all new.

This is because an implant is not like a hearing aid where the volume is amplified at different frequencies according to loss, but rather a direct connection to the auditory nerve – with such connections being new and not understandable by the brain yet.

Hearing aids are SO different!  They are black-and-white compared to cochlear implants.  Apples and oranges!

I’m trying to make a clear post, but there’s a lot of stuff happening!  Wow!  Any rational thinking is difficult to do!!!  What’s happening now is what’s happening.  So I just have to let it happen ;-).