2018 UPDATE: Another 2015 post that was unpublished until now.  I hope you enjoy!

Hello everyone!  Happy Holidays!

I certainly count my cochlear implant as one of my blessings of the past year.  It continues to be a journey that’s hard to write about as I don’t quite understand it myself.  That may seem odd to hear, but it is the truth.  The electrical stimulation has enhanced speech understanding, but there have been many moments where I don’t know if I’m hearing as optimally as I “should.”  Naturally, I consult with my audiologist, but it’s a reminder that devices like cochlear implants do not restore normal hearing.  They become a tool to help the person with hearing loss.

But like with any medical device, there are annoyances.  I have experienced multiple short periods where the implant has been louder than optimal – requiring a reprogramming of the implant.  I have a wonderful set up now, where if it becomes too loud I switch the program to a less intense one and am able to finally be less worried about what will happen.

I used to become very worried during these moments where the stimulation would sound too loud… thinking “oh no! It’s not working!”  But I’ve learned with time that everyone’s ears do odd things with these implants.  The brain can do anything it wants!  It’s thus no surprise that for a week the brain may stimulate the ear too much and thus cause adjustments to need to be made.

This makes sense, especially since my auditory nerve’s high frequencies have not been stimulated in ages!  But I work with my audiologist consistently and it’s possible these periods of varying stimulation will become less frequent as time goes on.

I read on forums how people still adjust after years with the cochlear implant.  Their hearing improves after a few years.  It reminds me again that this journey never ends.  The experience of change continues.  I’m still saying “oh, wow, a new sound I haven’t heard before” now and I know that’ll continue.

There was a video with mild background music (air drums) that I wasn’t able to connect to at first as this “sound” didn’t make sense.  It turned out it was air drums, but it was agreed with the person who helped me that it didn’t make sense to use that as background music for the scene.  So much for logical thinking helping to connect new sounds!

I also continually advocate for my needs… much better than I did before the implant.  I’m becoming less self-conscious, although I continue this process as well.  I remember that I still become fatigued if I have a long day of listening in class and most importantly that it’s OK to feel tired!