I definitely have started experiencing real life situations where I am picking up speech better and better! This process definitely includes a lot of baby steps, but it’s all worth it!
I’m so lucky and blessed! I picked up the phone today and placed it against my implanted ear and I could understand a full conversation. Granted, it was with my mother and I am used to her voice, but I have had many with her where I don’t pick up every word.
It’s scary to use the phone with the hybrid as I’m so used to my left non-implanted ear being the one that is used during phone calls. While I have gotten much more comfortable with the hybrid, the phone can be a frightening experience because I don’t know how well it will do. But I will continue using the hybrid ear and practice!
The sessions of auditory retraining have demonstrated my progress as in the beginning we practiced with sentences where the context was known (eg. a topic was chosen and thus I would know what topic was being referred to in the sentence). Well, we moved on to more complex sentences where the topic may not be so apparent and I’ve been nailing the sentences!
However, the context-based clues that still are a part of the exercises on a lessening basis, but still nonetheless a part of the program remind me of how when I have a group conversation, if I miss hearing the key concept, that makes it difficult for me to follow the conversation, especially when the context changes and I miss the “clue.”
That will always be a challenge and is a challenge for everyone who struggles with hearing. But having greater awareness of this and reminders of when and why things are more difficult are sources of information for me so that I can reason why I didn’t get a conversation. So it makes me feel empowered in a way!
Anyway, I’m very pleased to have been implanted and to be able to be going on this journey!
To be clear, I was implanted in one ear only as that is what is approved and since the risk for losing all hearing is so high, it’s the right thing to do at this point.
There may be a point where hearing preservation improves and there could be hybrid version 2.0. If I continue retaining my residual hearing for a year, my surgeon said that a hybrid in the other ear could be considered. I would consider it if the current hybrid continues the remarkable improvements and if it truly would be beneficial enough to risk the ear’s natural hearing.
The risk of losing the quite good low to beginning mid-frequencies in my unimplanted and so far, “better” ear would have to be worth it. It’s better in it’s natural hearing ability while the hybrid is proving to be better with it’s identification of high frequency sounds. The high frequency sounds are still getting sorted by my brain which is completely par for the course. So, how well the brain does it will be a factor in my decision obviously.
So it’s good to wait a year and see what happens with everything and to make an informed decision later.
Cheers everyone! I feel very happy!