Hybrid CI “normalizing” but still very new

Hello everyone!

I’ve been processing and handling a lot of new information with this hybrid cochlear implant!  I haven’t posted with fervor recently because I’ve needed quiet time or rather semi-quiet time in a loud world! ;-).  I’ve been enjoying spending time with my family and letting the adjustments take place while also being engaged in auditory training.

The sounds of the implant are definitely “normalizing.”  Many still sound odd, but rather than throw me off, they are incorporating themselves into my auditory soundscape and enhancing my understanding.  I have been able to regain a lot of energy that was taken up with this device – listening to the new sounds and having my brain interpret them has been quite the energy drainer.  I’m not back at 100%, but I’m extremely well and feel very good!

I just have to remember that this entire thing continues to be a process.  However, the nice thing is that the experience isn’t so overwhelming as it once was that I am able to more readily navigate through my life with the new experiences.  It took a lot of time to reach that stage where I could do that.  I’m beyond thrilled!

Thank you to all of you who have been reading this blog and my postings over the last few months.  It’s been quite the journey and one where no clear answer lies ahead at any stage of the game!  But I’m thrilled to have undergone this process to enhance my life!

Sentences understanding nearly doubled since last month!

Today I had a three month post-activation follow up and since last month, my understanding of sentences has nearly doubled!  I was absolutely shocked and my audiologist was thrilled.

There are many tests conducted during a session that include sentences, words in isolation, etc.  I wanted to keep this post simple and say that I’ve improved so much since last month and getting objective results is so valuable because at times during this journey it’s hard to gauge exactly how well things are going.

But needless to say this is thrilling information!  Other scores also continued a tremendous increase and I look forward to future improvements.  My next test will be next month!

Whoo hoo!  This surgery was definitely worth it.  I have been told that the one-year mark will show just how great this technology is, as the brain will have had ample time to adjust.  It then continues it’s adjustments and improvements continue!

Also, even with the Hybrid, the residual hearing (existing hearing) levels are very much subject to change.  I’ve had mild changes that have not negatively affected my progress and have been viewed as normal.  Some people lose no residual hearing, while others lose some, and some lose all.  But regardless of what happens, there will be improved understanding over my preoperative condition.  Also, I implanted my worse ear and thus my better ear (better before the implant!) is safe from anything that might happen in regards to natural, existing hearing.

This has been quite the journey, but as I said earlier, completely worth it all!

Maddening to wait. Scary experience this morning!

Patience can sometimes run short as I wait for increased clarity and understanding with my device.  But it takes time!  The length of time is variable and cannot be predicted well.

After 6 months, there should be noticeable improvement and certainly after a couple of years.  Already I’ve noticed improvement and I’m just shy of three months.

It gets better with time, but getting where one wants to be or reaching potential takes patience!

This morning I had a scary thing happen that was truly frightening.  I had an onset of this roaring noise (tinnitus is a medical condition that is not harmful and is quite common – often described as ringing in the ear).  Well, I had an onset in the implanted ear, which hasn’t had much issue with tinnitus.  But it did this morning!  Not only that, but my residual low frequency hearing seemed to be fluctuating.

Right now, everything has pretty much normalized and my hearing is fine.

I have an appointment with a doctor today as I immediately contacted the audiology clinic after my experience. It’s always good to contact one,’a doctor if something strange happens.

But it’s experiences like this, with a new device, that make it scary at times in the beginning.  As time goes on, things stabilize and the expectations are more predictable I believe.  The Hybrid itself, with retaining low frequency hearing (hopefully) rather than the traditional cochlear implant where that isn’t the focus, is a newer technology and thought-process in regards to this retention of existing hearing.  There’s much more hope for residual hearing than there is for the traditional cochlear implant, which from the start is programmed to replace all hearing.

Reflections and Change

2018 UPDATE: Another post from 2015 that remained unpublished until now!

As I no longer feel so like a patient and have more free time to think with clarity once again, I’ve really spent time reflecting on the past and thinking of the future.

I am more empowered and willing to help myself when I need help. That includes asking others for help in getting my needs met.

My energy has come back with certain levels primed for handling even more facing my true self. Being hard-of-hearing has been such a burden largely because I’ve wanted and hoped it would disappear. But despite the reality being that I will always deal with it, I feel more empowered.  I have persevered even when people said I couldn’t.  I was told by a well-respected professional when I was very little that I would never learn to speak.  Well, I certainly did!  I was lucky to have supportive parents that trusted their instincts and didn’t believe this person’s opinion, regardless of her “status.”

A message to myself:

“Accept me for all of me. For who I am truly, not the fantasy hoped for.  I am enough and offer far more than you realize. Partial hearing loss is just a tiny part of my being. It can inform and help others who struggle with their own challenges.  Thus, it empowers me to be helpful to both myself and others.”

Advocacy and becoming a Psychotherapist

2018 UPDATE: This has been staying in my drafts since 2015 and it’s time to publish it!  The date will be listed as 2015.  The post was created back during the first days of my cochlear implant activation.  I’m considering creating another blog where I talk about my perspective being partially hard-of-hearing and also gay.  I would share a variety of things on that blog.  The purpose of the blog would be to remind readers how much more similar we are than different.
Hi everyone,
I have been lucky to have been receiving not only auditory retraining for my hybrid CI, but also tools to better advocate for myself.

I was just thinking that I should state to the caller on my cell phone voicemail to please slowly state their name, telephone number, and message as I am hard of hearing!

Now that makes me feel more in charge of my hearing loss!  Receiving auditory therapy has included advocation and so that has prompted my own ideas, so why not state this with my voicemail?

I’m tired of the fast-paced talkers leaving messages ;-).
As you may or may not know, I’m on the educational path to becoming a licensed psychotherapist.  My goal is to eventually work in private practice.
A few people have suggested that carving out a niche of clients who are hard-of-hearing who don’t fit into the deaf community and struggle with fitting into the hearing community with hearing loss would be a great fit for me.  This is my journey as well and thus I would be able to relate to others who share this experience.
By no means would I limit my practice to certain clients, but certainly being a therapist with this specialization would be gratifying and so important as there aren’t a lot of psychotherapists who can help in this way.  It would be amazing to be able to introduce myself at HLAA meetings and be an advocate in that way.  Plus, I could make suggestions during a session, if people are demonstrating or mentioning difficulty with a part of their hearing instrument or program to visit their audiologist.  — There are a lot of people who unfortunately avoid discussing issues with their audiologist.  The intentions are good – to not bother the audiologist, but that’s what the audiologist is there for, to help out and solve issues.  I have a wonderful audiologist at House Clinic that could definitely help many people.
What’s great about all this thinking is I’m feeling more empowered in my life as opposed to in the past.