Posted by: T. Boyd | December 7, 2017

Diary of a Cochlear Implant

February 16, 2018

I had my monthly CI adjustment two days ago.  Not much changed except the Audiologists (Lisa and Jennifer) turned up the volume on all of the segments of the CI.

Just before that appointment I did a DIY (do it yourself) hearing test.  The results are added at the bottom of the page – click on this tag.

Sean, the first audiologist, noted about those results: “Interesting information. Just remember that the CI frequency boundries are 60Hz to 8.5KHz. Pretty good if you picked up anything at 100Hz”.

I found out this time that all of the segments of the implant were turned on the first day, but just not as loud.  And as my brain gets used to the “sounds”, I think it gets less sensitive to the different frequencies.

This time, I let the volume for each segment get to the level of “loud and uncomfortable” – and then Lisa turned it back one step.  I think last month, I was so shocked by how loud it seemed that I didn’t get to the level of “uncomfortable”.

And during the conversation, with HA turned off in my left ear, I was able to understand Lisa’s and Jennifer’s talking much better than last time – so that was encouraging that my brain is really learning how to decipher speech.

With the CI alone, it still sounds weird – like I am standing in a small metal enclosure, like an empty water tank, with the resonance that such a surrounding would give.  I think that is what users describe as “mechanical sounding” or “artificial and electronic” sounding.

Another thing I am noticing is that I can hear high pitch sounds from speech – it is the “s”, “t”, “d” – the sibilants – that sound like “hissing” – especially the “s” at the end of words.  And right now,  these sounds seem disconnected from the rest of the sounds of the words – like there is a gap in the frequency response of my ears between the normal pitch of voice and the sibilants.  I imagine that is part of the learning process that my brain is adjusting to.

Since I have not heard those sounds in 20 or 30 years, it makes sense that I am  having to re-learn them.  On the other hand, the twittering of the birds outside, which are also new-to-me in my old age, (did I say I was 77 this year?), I was able to identify and enjoy immediately with the CI. 🤠

The more I read of the dual implant experiences the more sure I am of wanting to get the second one later this year.

That’s the news from Richmond, VA. More next time.  Please leave comments for me and I will be glad to answer any questions.  If you want the comment to be private, just mention that, and I will reply via email if you leave an address.

February 18, 2018  – (A funny aside)

There we were, standing outside at a friends home, looking at their extra car they wanted to sell.  Brad, our friend, was admiring the medallion type necklace that my wife was wearing.  She had had it for years.  “I think it’s made of tin cans,” she said.  I said, “It looks like silver to me.  Here, I have a magnet – I can test it.”

And I proceeded to remove my CI external device from my head and held the magenetic disk to her necklace.  “See!  No attraction – that has no iron in it,” I pointed out.

Everyone laughed.  “I had no idea that the CI would give you a new tool to carry around!” she said.  Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 12.00.02 PM


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