What’s the Buzz

Here’s what’s happening:

The buzzing is gone!  I pretty much never get that weird buzzing sound anymore.  When I first put my CI’s on in the morning now, it is just VERY loud.  It takes about one minute for the sound to level off and get normal again.

I had my second mapping on Wednesday morning, Aug. 27.  I’ll be going once a week through the end of September for mappings, and then I’m not sure how frequently I’ll be going.  The schedule they gave me only covers the first six weeks.

The visit started out just like my activation appointment, without all the magnet drama.  Krystine had me listen to all the tones and tell her when they were loud but comfortable.  This time I was able to tolerate much louder volumes, and when we were all done I asked her if my volume had increased.  She said it had, a lot.  That’s normal though, and to be expected.  🙂

After all the volume thresholds were newly set, I went “live”.  WHOA.  It was really, extremely loud – way too loud for me to tolerate.  So she dropped the volume until I told her it was better.  Then she did the same thing as last week, setting a softer program on P1, the regular volume I had selected in my threshold check for P2, and a little louder for P3.  I was actually on P1 in the office because the volume was still loud for me but it was tolerable at the P1 setting.

As we were talking, the processor started turning off for no apparent reason.  She would check, take it off my ear, put it back on…it’s fine.  A few seconds later, dead again.  It was really weird!  We switched batteries even though I had just put freshly charged Plus batteries in about 4 hours earlier.

She ran some diagnostics on the processor and then did an internal test on each of my electrodes.  She said I may or may not hear something during the test, and it was really long.  It took 15 minutes or more and it was really boring, just sitting there.  I could hear the clicking as the electrodes were tested, though, which was kind of cool.  It would click away, then start cycling through the whole thing again either at a louder volume or in a different pitch.  I was really relieved when it was over and we could get things moving again!

Whatever she did worked, because my processor has been fine ever since.  She did mention that one of the things she did was put it on Economy Power Mode (or something like that) since I had mentioned how quickly I was going through both types of batteries.  She was hoping that would give me some more battery life.  Yesterday (my first full day on Economy mode) my Plus battery made it to about 12 hours on the right side and 14 hours on the left.  I’ve noticed some days I get more life out of them so we’ll see how things go over the next few days.

We set the thresholds on the right side, and again the volume was increased a lot.  And again, when I went “live” it was much too loud, so she brought it down a bit until I could tolerate it on P1.

The right side processor was fine and never cut off like the other one did.  Krystine went ahead and internally tested my electrodes on that side as well.  It was boring but did go faster on that side.  And I’m happy to know all my electrodes are okay!

I filled Krystine in on how much I loved my CI’s, how the sounds changed over the first week, and also told her how the right side sounded more treble and the left side more bass.

She told me that for the first few weeks, the main thing we’ll be doing is re-setting the volume.  Usually it needs to be increased a lot each week, and then it starts to level off.  Once that happens, we’re going to start adding the other strategies/programs like Fidelity 120.  I’m still using HiRes 90K – S right now.  She also turned off the second microphone (up near the top of the CI processor) and I’m 100% T-Mic in each ear now.

Once we were done with the volumes and electrode testing, I noticed voices were much easier to understand.  Dave’s voice had lost a lot of the raspy and growly tones that were bugging me so much before.  He was a lot easier to understand.

To wrap up the visit, Krystine pulled out a book with sheets filled with sentences and words for listening practice and evaluation.  We went through about 5 to 8 of these sheets.  I was really apprehensive when I realized what we were going to do, since I did so badly the week before and my perfectionist Virgo personality really hates to fail tests!!  I just dread hearing and vision tests.  😦

She covered her mouth with the screen and then she would read a sentence and I would have to look on the sheet of paper to find what she read, then read the sentence back to her.  Sometimes she just said sentences and I had no paper to look at, I just had to repeat them back to her.  She read a list of words and had me tell her what they were (no paper to refer to).  She would say two similar-sounding words and I had to pick the word she said (referring to a sheet).

A few times I had to have her repeat the words or sentences before I got them correct.  But I surprised myself by getting most of them correctly on the first try!  After we were done, I turned to Dave and asked if he was able to get them all.  He grinned and said there were a few that I got that he didn’t get!  (On the other hand, he was able to get some of the ones that I missed on the first try.)

Still though, for only being activated for one week I was absolutely thrilled with the progress I made!  Just last week I couldn’t understand any of the words she said.

My homework was the same this week – read out loud to get used to the sound of my voice.  She also recommended some beginner level (i.e., kindergarten) books on tape for listening practice.  We have to get over to the library to see if they have any I can check out.

I had a true CI moment as we walked out of the doctor’s office.  A man was wandering in the hallway, looking confused. He was looking around at the doors and numbers, and asked me in passing, “Is there a directory here?” He wasn’t looking at me since he was peering around at the doors, and I understood him without lipreading!

After My Week 2 Mapping

I found a great resource for online aural rehab sources:


I came home and tried to listen to a voicemail on the phone.  The dial tone was much louder and very clear this time.  However, I could just barely hear someone talking so I ended up passing the phone over to Dave.  Krystine said it would be a while before I should really try the phone but I couldn’t resist seeing what it sounded like!

When we first walked into the house, it was overwhelmingly loud.  I wasn’t even sure I could tolerate the volume.  We have fans going all over the house, even when the AC is on (they help circulate the cold air around the house).  All I heard was this roaring sound from the fans.  I couldn’t even hear my keys clacking on my keyboard as I typed.  I mentioned it to Dave and we turned the fans down to their lowest setting.  He was going to turn them off but I told him I wanted to see if I could get used to it.

After an hour or so, I could barely hear the fans.  They were just a very low hum in the background, and all the more important sounds came back into focus.  Awesome!!  😀

I really love how my CI’s handle loud noises.  The sound dampens down for a few seconds, then it comes back up so I can hear everything well again.  The background/loud noise, though, is barely noticeable.  It’s like the CI’s know what sounds should be foreground and which should be background, and they also keep sounds from being so loud that they make me cringe.  It’s amazing!  Even after just 1-1/2 weeks now I feel like I’m hearing better with my CI’s in most cases than I did with hearing aids.

The few things I still need to work on are the telephone, the TV (still has a strong buzzing sound to it) and music.  Sometimes music will sound better after a while, but usually if there’s music in the background (overhead at a store, or in the background of a TV show or movie) it makes everything else sound kind of weird.

I had another kind of gross CI moment yesterday morning.  Dave and I were sitting in the living room at our computers, talking.  I kept hearing this very quiet “click” on a fairly regular basis.  Finally I asked Dave what it was.  He thought it was me clicking a button on my computer but it wasn’t.  It happened during a lull in our conversation and I said, “There!” Then again.  He definitely heard it too but couldn’t identify it so he got up to look around.  He walked into our bedroom, which is at the total opposite end of the house, and came back amazed.

“I can’t believe you heard that!”

It was our cat, Sabrina.  She had an ‘accident’ in the bedroom (hence the ‘gross’ factor) and was trying to cover it up.  Every time her paw brushed the dresser, I was hearing it.  She’s declawed though, so there’s not much to hear!  (And no, we didn’t declaw her, poor baby – she was that way when we adopted her.)  I joked to Dave that it was like being able to hear a cotton ball brushing up against the dresser since her paws are so furry and she has no nails.  I guess I was hearing her paw pad!

Now I can hear and understand Dave talking to me in the car if we’re driving at night.  I turned on the dishwasher last night and it was so loud that I thought something was wrong with it!  It sounds like gears clanking and clacking.  I always thought the dishwasher was so quiet…I used to have to put my hand on it to feel if it was on or not.  I worked out today and heard the instructor’s voice (on DVD) again!

It’s been so weird to hear the voices on TV shows that we started watching when I couldn’t hear.  (I was going to say “When I was deaf” but I’m still deaf.  Hmmm)  There are a lot of shows where I’d never heard the actors before, like Generation Kill on HBO.  We started watching that in July, I think, and watched the season finale on Sunday.  For the first time I got to hear the guys talking and singing.  They never used to caption the songs they sang.  I didn’t catch the song until Dave told me what they were singing in this episode, but once I knew, it all made sense – it was “King of the Road”.

Getting Old

I turned 44 on Thursday.  It was a low-key day, we just went up to the mall for some shopping and then brought home dinner from Outback Steakhouse.  But what an awesome birthday – my CI’s were the best gift I could ever get!!

And Finally…Half Empty Nest

I’m not sure what’s worse…having a teenager who drives you crazy so that you’re thrilled when they leave home (but you suffer for all the years they do live at home) or getting along really well with your teen and then feeling your heart break open when they move out, because you miss them so much!

Just for the record, I really, really miss this guy:

Eric and Me, in his dorm room

Eric and Me, in his dorm room

That’s me and Eric in his dorm room, doing the NIU Huskie “sign” (which looks a little like heavy metal devil horns, LOL).

Eric loves loves loves college, his dorm and the people there.  That makes it a little easier for me, because I know how happy he is.  Still though…it feels like just a few years ago I was taking him to preschool.  How can he be in college already?!


About wendiwendy

I'm a real-life bionic woman.

Posted on August 29, 2008, in Cochlear Implants & Hearing Loss, Medical Visits, Observations and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I had no idea that Eric was that tall!!

    I’m really glad that you have so much progress with the CIs.

    Your “bionic” ears are really tuning in to what the “kids” might not want you to hear. 🙂 I laughed at the picture of a cat trying to cover up her “crime.” Just like a kid might do. Hmm, I’m going to have to watch the dog more…lol


  2. What an awesome post! You are doing fantastic! Just reading it brought back memories of my early activation days. Congrats! And congrats on the half-empty nest! We are nearly there, too. . .

    Have a great Labor Day weekend!


  3. Fantastic Wendi

    I had the opposite reaction to how Shari put it. First thing I said, outloud actually, was, “I didn’t know you were so short, Wendi.”

    I’m ecstatic you are doing do well! And Happy 44th Birthday! (I’ve got 11 and 1/2 years on you but who’s counting?)

    Keep letting us know how you’re progressing. Always a thrill to hear your stories AND see your pictures. So glad Eric loves loves loves college life!

    Jennifer 😀


  4. happy birthday to you!!! I have nine years until my little one leaves the nest. I hope it goes slow.

    I never thought of asking for the economy battery saver. I will talk to my audie. My batteries goes so fast too.

    Isn’t it fantastic the new world a CI gives us?

    Happy Labor Day,


  5. Oh the day that the weird buzzing, static, strange weird beeping sound goes away is a day to rejoice! I’m so glad that it came for you so quickly 🙂


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