Mapping Session Weirdness
So this was kind of a weird mapping session.
I had mapping #5 on Thursday, Sept. 18. Krystine had a student with her this time (whose name I didn’t catch). We started by sitting down and going over how things went in the past week. I let her know that my left processor was still shutting off at random times, and giving me the solid red light. It just turns off completely, until I remove the battery and slide it back on…then it works fine. She seemed really surprised and said she had done everything she could think of, the week before, to keep that from happening. So she called Advanced Bionics to get their opinion.
After she explained the situation, they recommended switching me to the Fidelity 120 sound processing strategy. Originally she was going to give that to me on my last weekly mapping (which is tomorrow, Sept. 25). I was pretty excited to be getting it a week early, since I’d heard such good things about it!
Originally she wasn’t going to check my volume thresholds, since I mentioned that I had kept the volume pretty much at the normal level all week long with no need for extra volume. But since I was switched to a new processing strategy, she did a short volume threshold check in each ear. Then she had me go live with the Fidelity 120.
It all sounded very quiet and very high pitched. I was kind of disappointed because it really sounded very different from what I had gotten used to over the past few weeks. I had her bring the volume up a lot. She also had me listen to the background noise program and the program for driving in the car, which is a different type of sound compression. Then she did something and said, “How does that sound?”
WHOA. It was very loud again, and it seemed like I was hearing a lot more. She asked if I preferred this and I told her yes. It turns out she originally had me on Fidelity 120-S instead of Fidelity 120-P, which is what I prefer (the P, or paired firing of electrodes). So we brought the sound down a bit and I listened to my other 2 programs and they were both good.
I was happier now because things sounded more like what I was used to, just with more “detail” and less of a fuzzy, buzzy edge to certain sounds. Things sounded more crisp and sharp. We set the thresholds in the right ear and went through the same process until everything was set. I listened with both CI’s on to make sure things weren’t too loud. For my 3 programs I have a regular listening program on P1, one for restaurants, stores and parties (to cut out background noise) on P2, and one to cut out road noise in the car for P3.
At this visit she also programmed my backup processors, so they both have Fidelity 120-P on them now as well. I brought my Direct Connect earhooks and she showed me how to use them with the cables. Luckily Dave already had a connector that can accept two inputs for my MP3 player. I plug this adapter into the headphone jack of my MP3 player, and it has a place for each CI to plug in. I’ll have to get some pictures and post about how I use it to listen with my MP3 player.
Right now if I use the Direct Connect, all I hear are the sounds coming from whatever I’m connected to (basically just the MP3 player…I can’t think of anything else I would use it for since we don’t have a laptop or portable CD player). I asked Krystine about that and she said it’s easy to give me a program where I can also hear environmental sounds too. I wasn’t sure if I would want that but after trying it at home, I definitely would like it. It takes some time to get everything switched out and connected, and if I want to be able to hear someone talking to me, I have to switch everything back (change earhooks, etc.) which is kind of a pain.
Anyway, after we went through the attachments and how they work, and I confirmed that I can only use them for battery-operated devices (nothing that gets power from being plugged into the wall, for instance) she decided to give me another hearing test. UGH.
Krystine and the student accompanied me to the sound booth and I was given the button to press when I heard a sound. Okey dokey. This is where it gets weird.
First I’m tested with both CI’s on. I made a conscious effort to stay calm and not hold my breath. I thought I was doing pretty good, but I still really hate when the sounds get so soft that I’m not sure if I’m really hearing them or not. It’s more like, I can tell the absence of sound when the tone finishes.
Then it sounded like the tone was just one long, sustained sound. Huh. I would keep pressing and pressing the button. The student was doing the test and I thought maybe she was doing it differently.
The door opened and Krystine asked me, “Is your left CI working?” What?! She comes in and checks, and it’s fine. That’s weird. Why would she ask that? (Looking back now, I think it’s because I wasn’t responding for the high pitched tones and that CI was the one that was able to hear them when I was last tested. My right CI didn’t respond to the high tones.)
They a did a few more high pitched tones and Krystine opened the door again. She told me, “Be sure to only press the button if you are really hearing the sound.” Okay. Now I’m embarrassed, thinking that it must look like they think I’m making things up and pretending to hear sounds I don’t. 😳
We kept going. She opened the door and said the same thing one or two more times, about making sure I really hear the tone before I respond.
Then Krystine is gone and it’s just the student. She tests me wearing each CI individually.
Then I put them both on. Krystine comes in and tells me I’m testing better with the CI’s individually than I am with both of them in! This is crazy. I know, without a doubt, that I hear better with both of them on. What is going on?!
So she leaves the door open and stands in the doorway. The sounds, by the way, are playing through a speaker and I’m not wearing headphones – I’m just sitting in the room. She says, “Can you hear that?” I shake my head because I hear nothing. Then I realize she’s talking but I don’t really hear her…then I hear her voice come back into focus. Oh my God. The CI’s are compressing the high pitched sounds!
So I tell her what’s going on. They test it with a few more tones and each time, that’s what is happening. The CI’s are compressing out the high pitched sounds. I can tell when they happen by the sound coming back up to normal levels after the tone finishes.
So they give up on the tone test and she tells me she’s going to play a few sentences for me to repeat. Originally she wasn’t going to do this test, because she wanted to give me time to get used to the Fidelity 120 program. But she decided to just do a few sentences, just to see what happens.
This is the part of the original test that I never responded to, a man saying sentences. I repeat what I hear, even if it’s just one or two words. Then the volume is a little louder, and that’s much easier.
By now we’re about 20 minutes past the one hour mark, so my appointment has gone much longer than usual. Dave actually fell asleep in the CI room, waiting for me to come back! 😆 He knew something must have gone wrong, he just couldn’t figure out what it might be.
Krystine took a minute to compare the results to my previous tests, and then came back. My tone test was about the same as the last one. The first sentence test was at normal speech level, around 45 db, and I got 44%. I consider that to be pretty darn good, since I got 0% at my original test. 😆 When they raised the volume just a little, to 50 db, I got 92% correct. She was happy with that, and so was I!
So tomorrow is my final weekly mapping session. I’ve been noticing that the Fidelity 120 program does seem to be compressing sound more than the regular HiRes 90K-P program, but I still like the way it sounds much better. I’m going to see if she can either turn off the compression or, if there’s a sensitivity setting, not have it be so sensitive. I do like knowing it will compress really loud sounds, but it tends to do it even for speech at times. I’m not sure how they will be able to accurately test my hearing if they don’t turn the sound compression completely off. I’m glad, though, that we figured out what was going on and why I wasn’t giving a response for those high pitched sounds. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have a better test result!
On a final, positive, note…the Fidelity 120 did solve the processor problem. It hasn’t turned off once since this mapping session! 🙂