Let There Be Sound

How did I feel on the way to the doctor’s office for hook up? Nothing. It was as if we were dropping off a kid or running an errand. Just didn’t want to have expectations and let things happen as they go.
Pam (the person working with me) talked a few minutes about the CI and other things. She put the receiver where the magnet is located just above my ear to the right. It took a few moments to get it to connect with all the hair in the way. She easily put the microphone behind my ear.
Here comes the fun. I probably looked like a nervous person having one leg propped on the chair and a finger on my lips. I’m so tired after all the vertigo and nausea I’ve experienced for three weeks that I was on guard for noisy sounds.
She ran a series of tests on different channels on the internal processor (the mic was not turned on, therefore I couldn’t hear any outside noise) asking me to let her know when I heard something. It sounded like cloudy noise or tunnel noise with a heartbeat fluttering in the ear… thump thump thump. A couple of sounds had me flinching because they were uncomfortable and new. We finished the internal test and moved on to the external component.
Pam warned me to be ready for static that lasts a few minutes. I braced myself as I didn’t know what to expect and my poor head had been so abused. She turned it on and it was noisy, but I tolerated it fine. No one spoke during this time, thankfully.
She started talking and I could hear different sounds reflecting her voice. But it doesn’t sound like the typical voice. More like a sound that appeared when she spoke and she spoke softly to help me get used to it. Time passed and I adapted to her voice. My mom started talking and I could hear her. While this may be an exciting moment for some, it isn’t exciting for me yet because I heard her voice far better with my hearing aids than the CI. Then, Paul started talking but I couldn’t hear him at all. Of course, we made the joke that I’ve learned to tune out the husband.
The baby cried during the session because he was in the middle of his feeding being burped. He doesn’t like it when he has to take a burp break and cries. I didn’t hear him and haven’t been able to hear him well enough to define it’s him.
After the jam session on my poor ear, Pam showed me how to use the processor. I’ll be glad when I move to the behind the ear processor. Right now, I have the processor on my shorts, but when I go to the bathroom I have to adjust it or take my ear down with the shorts.
We left. In the car, I recognized music and Paul’s voice. After we got going on the road, I couldn’t hear Paul or my voice anymore. I played with the processor and couldn’t get it working. I gave up and waited till we got home. Sure enough, as soon as we turned off the car, I could hear voices again. I figured out that most of the sounds drowned out as we hit the highway.
I’m tired and feel headachy. The sounds have been different and noisy. But I am going to keep the CI turned on because the more it’s on, the faster my brain can adjust to the new way of hearing.
I promise to get excited once I get used to the hearing and it’s better than the hearing aids. The hearing aids did a lot of good for me, so it’ll take time. In fact, I am more comfortable with it now than I was this morning. It’ll improve each day. Time for Tylenol and ginger tea.

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    • Phyllis on August 8, 2003 at 3:59 pm
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    Meryl-thanks so much for the update. I’ve been thinking about you. It sounds like this ear thing might just work, at some point in time! Hope you feel better. Love-Phyllis

    • Jamie on August 8, 2003 at 4:09 pm
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    I am very excited for you. I hope that this will be all that you dreamed for and much much more!

    • Jeffrey Johnson on August 8, 2003 at 4:19 pm
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    Meryl: Thanks so much for sharing your honest thoughts. You are such a brave lady! I have always admired you in so many ways.
    Looking forward to hearing more great stories from you. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jeffrey

    • Patty Kelley on August 8, 2003 at 4:29 pm
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    Congratulations on reaching this milestone in the process. I’m glad to hear everything is going well.

    • Hank Stroll on August 8, 2003 at 4:44 pm
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    Meryl … Your story moved me. I admire your strength, hope, and realistic outlook. You are a great role model for your kids. The lessons you are teaching are ones that few of us have the opportunity to share: 1) there is no such thing as a free lunch; 2) Everything that is good and sustainable comes with work; 3) There is NO such thing as real instant gratification.
    I have some more cliques, but you get the picture. ;-).
    I feel a bit humbled in your presence and am delighted that you stumbled into my life.
    Warm Regards,
    Hank

    • Rogi on August 8, 2003 at 5:06 pm
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    Please don’t encourage ‘tuning out the husband’, or my better half of many years will probably do that to me – oh, hold on, perhaps that’s why she never seems to answer me – damn…:-)
    Nice to see things getting nearer finished and feeling better for you, and BTW, I bet you looked pretty cool reading the monitor in shades. Shame it didn’t stop the feeling sicker than a sick thing feeling. You can’t have everything tho’ hey? Looking cool has its price. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    See ya’s. Keep on feeling better!

    • Carol on August 8, 2003 at 10:58 pm
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    Meryl….
    I enjoyed reading about your new experience with your c i. When I wear the BWP I find it easier to wear it on a separate belt (not attached to my pants. By doing this, it doesn’t interfere with going to the bathroom. Give it a try. It makes life simpler.
    Also, regarding the vertigo issue, I felt spacey for almost 6 weeks after the surgery. I seem to get this kind of reaction to anesthesia any time I have any kind of surgery. I looked like a drunk… couldn’t walk a straight line if my life depended on it.
    Good luck with your journey into the hearing world. It is a wonderful journey. Enjoy.
    Happy Hearing
    Carol
    Coral Springs, FL
    N24C 12/11/01

  1. Meryl, I’ve been following your progress constantly, reading how you’re doing with each new update. I’m so glad you’ve got this blog going about your bionic ear — I love that name, too. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I can’t believe what you’ve gone through in recent months, and I hope the days ahead will find you feeling better each day and that the CI will bring terrific results with your hearing.
    Your experience in the car on the way home somehow doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen my daughter’s hearing dramatically reduced when we’re in the car — she has significant hearing loss in one ear, some loss in the other ear… but hearing aids won’t help her hearing problems.
    I’m curious to see how your experiences unfold during the coming weeks and months. The CI technology amazes me and I’m hopeful that it provides much improved hearing for you. You’ll continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Take care, my friend.

  2. I’m so sorry I’ve been out of touch the past few weeks. Hope you’re feeling better soon and thank you so much for updating me on your progress. *fingers crossed for you*

    • Tiffany Woods on October 16, 2003 at 9:34 am
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    Meryl,
    hi, im Tiffany Woods from Portal Georgia and im only 16 and i only want to know was it worth it.
    You said that you could hear things better with your hearing aid. why don’t you go back to it if the bionic ear thingy doesn’t work?

    • meryl on October 16, 2003 at 6:42 pm
    • Reply

    Tiffany,
    It is getting more and more worth it as I get comfortable. I can hear sounds from other rooms — where before I could only hear them if I were IN the room.
    Also, a couple of things that I could barely hear and easily miss (microwave beeping) – I can hear better.
    As for hearing aid — I can’t wear my hearing aid in my implanted ear because it takes away what leftover residual hearing you have. I could wear it in my other ear, but the implant is already better than wearing one hearing aid in the other ear.
    I hope this helps. Good luck in making a decision.

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