On Thursday I had my fourth mapping, three weeks after activation day on August 20. It was hard to believe it was already time for another mapping…the week passed so quickly, and I was still not even at the normal level of volume. I never used the louder program at all.
I wasn’t really looking forward to this mapping, after the stress of the previous week with the audiogram and all the testing with sentences. I was kind of keyed up and just looking forward to getting it overwith.
When we went into the Mapping Room, I told Krystine that I hadn’t even gotten to the normal level of volume throughout the week and maybe I was a little overzealous at my last appointment when she set the volume levels. I also explained that the left processor was still turning off at random times and showing the solid red light. We asked about the power saver mode (thinking that turning it off might help with the processor problem) but it turns out she turned that off last week. My batteries, by the way, still have about half the life that most people get from them. Good thing I have a lot of batteries to switch between! 🙂
We started with threshold settings again, with me hooked up to the computer and telling her when the tones were too loud. As with last week, this went very quickly…I just heard a few tones and she was done.
It’s funny, I have a tendency to just listen and not really say anything. She always hands me a little chart that has the volume levels listed on it (soft, medium, loud, loud but comfortable, too loud). I forget that she doesn’t hear what I hear, and if I don’t tell her how it sounds at each point, she has no idea. I guess I assume that she knows she started the sounds at a soft level so I was just listening and not saying anything. Now I try to make a conscious effort to say, “Okay, that’s very soft…that’s medium…” and so on. Some of the high pitched sounds are hard to really determine…they never sound LOUD but if the volume goes up enough, they make me want to cringe. So I use the cringe-factor more than the volume for those tones!
It’s always weird now when I get hooked up to the computer, because I have to remove my other CI as well. I always hesitate at first, because once I do that I’m back to relying solely on lip reading. For much of the time when I’m connected to the computer, I don’t hear anything at all. Periodically she’ll have me go “live” as she’s setting programs on the computer but most of the time there’s no sound. I mentioned that to Dave after we left, because I think he thought I was hearing sound the whole time I was hooked up as she programmed the CI.
She did say something about calling Advanced Bionics for help with something – I think it might have been trying to find a way to troubleshoot that red light/processor shutting down problem. She called them and was on the phone for a bit, then said, “Oh, I remember now” and hung up. I’m not sure if she actually did speak to someone or if she was on hold.
She had me listen to a few different programs but I don’t know what they were. When we first got there, I told her that I preferred the HiRes 90K-P to the 90K-S program because I could hear more sounds with 90K-P. I’m not sure if she was having me listen to different HiRes 90K programs or if maybe she tried the Fidelity 120 programming. Most of the programs I tried that day sounded much quieter and much more high-pitched.
After that, we switched the right ear and did more of the same. More time was taken up during this visit as I listened to the various programs and let Krystine know how things sounded. With one of the programs, the high-pitched sounding one, I could barely hear Dave’s voice at all. It was weird…his voice just kind of disappeared. It’s really cool, though, hearing through these different software programs. It’s mind-boggling!
We talked for a while about how I was doing with the CI, things I was hearing and how I felt about the whole experience. (Very happy!) Krystine told me that my programs now were: a regular program at P1, a program for noisy situations like restaurants and parties at P2, and a background noise program for situations like driving and road noise at P3. All of the programs are HiRes 90K-P. (I had to ask which processing strategy I was using – that’s not information she just voluntarily offers.)
This coming Thursday, my 5th mapping, I need to bring my backup processors and they will get programmed as well. I’m also bringing the Direct Connect and cables so she can show me how to hook directly to battery-operated devices like an MP3 player. I’m going to ask about the phone, if I should hook directly to that with anything or just use my T-Mic and put the headset to my ear.
Apparently the 6th mapping is when they give me all the tests I had for my CI evaluation – kind of a before and after thing. Of course, I’m not looking forward to that but I know it needs to be done! Krystine said if my next appointment goes quick enough, we might be able to get everything done (meaning the testing) at that appointment and I won’t need to come back for the 6th mapping.
A couple weeks ago she had mentioned that I would get Fidelity 120 at my last appointment, but she didn’t bring it up at this visit so I’m not sure if I’ll be getting Fidelity 120 this coming Thursday or not. For all I know, one of those programs she had me listen to was Fidelity 120!
After these one week appointments are finished, then I go for a mapping 3 months after my initial activation (that would be somewhere around Thanksgiving), then 6 months, and then one year after my initial mapping. After that I go on a yearly basis.
Then that was it! No sentences to listen to and repeat, no audiograms. Whew!! We left and I was just starving since this was an early morning appointment (8:30 am). We decided to stop for breakfast since we hadn’t eaten before we left the house at 7:30.
This was my first visit to a restaurant since my activation, and I got a chance to try out P2. It worked much better than I expected it to! I could hear the background noise – all the talking was kind of a low babbling, where I could tell it was voices but not actually hear what people were saying. When Dave or the waitress spoke, I could hear their voices clearly. Dave was also using a new noise suppression program on his hearing aid and it was working well for him, so for the first time we actually went to a restaurant and could hear each other!
I used P3 in the car and again, it worked so well – the road noise just faded away but I could hear Dave speaking clearly. Both P2 and P3 don’t sound as full and clear as my regular program, because of the noise compression, but I am still in awe of how programs like this work. It’s so weird how I can hear the voices of people I want to hear, but all the other sounds fade to the background. Dave and I almost always order food and go pick it up, then bring it home to eat. It’s pretty rare for us to actually eat in a restaurant because it’s always been too difficult to hear. Maybe now we can actually go out to eat from time to time and enjoy ourselves instead of suffering through the meal!
It’s Sunday now as I write this, and again the volume is just fine. I still have to turn it down for the first part of the day and usually by dinnertime I’m up around the normal volume level. It seems like my volume levels are kind of stabilized now because I haven’t been feeling like I need to keep turning up the sound to hear everything. In fact, the sound is sometimes still overwhelming at the normal level, especially in the morning. When I first put my CI’s on it is still really, really loud for 5 or 10 minutes. I try to stay in quiet areas of the house and not talk out loud until I get used to sound again each day!
By the way, our magnetic induction stove hasn’t proved to be a problem and doesn’t affect my CI’s at all. I can hear a very low pulsing sound but that’s about it. I used to hear that sound with my hearing aids too so I’m used to it. I still think we’re going to get a new stovetop soon because I’m tired of only having two usable burners and it’s too expensive to repair this cooktop (we did it once and the burners only worked again for a couple of weeks).
It’s cool, humid and rainy here…perfect cooking weather! Dave is watching football and freaking out (and I can hear every swear word…LOL). Life is good! 😀