Thursday, August 25, 2005

Another day- another experience

[begin rant]
Ugh it seems spammers have found my blog. Its bad enough that I get spam in my instant messages and spam in my email, but spam ON MY BLOG???? *grrrr*
[end rant]

Now on with the show.... seems that not a day goes by that I don't experience yet another 'CI' moment. Today it was understanding my Mom and a friend of hers having a conversation while we were in the car - Mom had her back to me and her friend was standing outside the car so I couldn't see either of them, but I HEARD EVERY WORD!

I went back to see Dr Pijl last Monday and we re-added my elusive 5 electrodes. I was very excited about this - and we were in for a bit of a shock as well. If you have read my previous posts - when my CI was first activated in April we experienced facial nerve stimulation feedback from 5 of my electrodes (#'s 15 - 19) which caused my right eye to twitch every time I heard a sound. Since there was no way to work around the feedback within the protocols of the Freedom study, we opted to simply switch those 5 off until we had more leeway. That was Monday - and imagine our surprise when we switched them ON, without doing any tweaking or manipulation and *there was no longer any feedback!!!*

Dr Pijl isn't sure WHY it just stopped happening on its own - but he suspects it could be that my cochlea itself has something to do with it - as the cochlea puts down some proteins around the implant - I guess it might have a protective or "buffering" effect but at any rate there is absolutly NO feeback among any of the electrodes anymore. So he was able to give me a full re-map (I also found out I'm using ADRO.)

According to the New Jersey University of Medicine , ADRO (short for Adaptive Dynamic Range Optimization) is "designed to automatically adjust sound levels to deliver an ideal balance of clarity and comfort. Unlike other speech processors that lower all sounds when entering a loud environment, ADRO uses incredibly fast signal rates to adjust sound levels across the Nucleus Freedom’s 22 channels individually. The channels representing quiet sounds are enhanced, while the loud sounds are softened, providing the user with a comfortable listening level in changing environments. This allows users to enjoy environments such as theme parks; participate in conversations at busy intersections; and better appreciate music."

More information on ADRO is also available at the COCHLEAR website

NOW came the surprise - even after a week of having the new map - I DON'T LIKE IT!

I am a bit surprised - I expected the tonal range would be more dynamic, more "whole" but I have found that the addition of my missing electrodes - all on the higher frequency end of the electrode array, make everybody sound like they are Pee Wee Herman! Sounds are tinny, whiny, and almost impossible to understand!!! The only circumstances where I have found I prefer the new map is watching television. I can't use it on the phone, and I can't understand regular speech as clearly either.

I'm not sure WHY ... could it be that after 4 months of NOT having those electrodes I've become used to sound "this way" as opposed to with the higher pitched sounds? I'm not sure - I DO know that even with my hearing aids I always preferred the lower sound spectrum - I was able to discern sounds better at lower pitches. I will keep trying with the new map, and seeing if perhaps like some of the others there is a "sweet spot" timeframe where everything will seem to come together (with the other maps it was in the 4 - 5 week range) but I find I'm switching back to my OLD map more and more (thank goodness I asked to have it left on my processor just in case I didn't like the remap!)

I'm thinking that what I might end up doing at my next meeting with Dr Pijl is asking him to just leave 1 or 2 of the electrodes (probably # 15 and 16) and remove the others and see if that doesn't get rid of the "whiny" aspect of voices. With the new remap even men's voices sound uncommonly "feminine" and I don't like it at all.

I can't help but wonder sometimes - since I don't seem to LIKE how the "full spectrum" of sound is - does that mean that MY concept of what the world sounds like is skewed? Or is MY concept right and the new electrodes are stimulating my nerves to a point where its being percieved as unnatural? And if that is the case - just HOW does one decide whether or not one is hearing something "normally" or not? If I turn on my ABBA CD and listen to it with my old (preffered) map and understand it perfectly, does that mean that I AM hearing it correctly compared to a normal hearing person or does it mean that my perspective is skewed BUT it "works for me"? Just WHAT iS "NORMAL" hearing anyway? Its enough to give you a headache!

1 comment:

Shel said...

Oh, I got a spammer on MY blog, too! :O/ ... I hear ya about the higher pitch frequencies -- they make people's voices sound like Donald Duck is talking simultaneously, to me. My audie told me that IS the higher pitch frequencies that I'm not used to hearing -- and eventually they WILL blend together and become more natural-sounding. I DO notice this occurring, although it's being a very slow process! :O/ ... Hang in there -- you seem to be doing SO much better than I am, yet -- you're truly an inspiration to me! :O) ... Love ya! :O) ... Shel