Activation Day - Exceeded my Expectations

Hello folks! As I type this my keyboard is sounding like someone is tapdancing! My goodness, so many sounds I haven’t been hearing … crickets … squeaky floors … rustling plastic around the beautiful celebratory flower bouquet my son gifted me … the coffee maker … water gurgling down the drain …

I went into the appointment keeping my expectations very low. I anticipated a LOT of unintelligible noise and static. However that is minimal, as I seem to be making the adjustment quite quickly. It is more obvious during the time my hearing aid is removed from my “good” ear and replaced with an earplug. As soon as I put the HA back in, this excess “noise” seems to be cancelled out. Of course I hear better when I have both the processor on and the hearing aid in - and conversation is definitely improved with my implanted ear now hearing, even if it is robotic. But I will continue to spend periods of time utilizing just the processor - and, already, this morning after reading along this way with an audio book, I was beginning to hear voices more normally, rather than the high pitched robotic sounds. I am feeling very positive and encouraged.

My audiologist was pleased with how I did during my session with her. She said they never know until a patient gets activated, and she was careful to remind me of that in the lead-up to my surgery. The biggest challenge was taking in all the instructions about caring for my equipment, and unpacking that enormous backpack in which AB sent all my gear!! I have been very pleased with Customer Care from Advance Bionics - the Canadian rep has been involved right from the outset and very quick to respond to queries - so a shout out for AB! That is not to cast aspersions on the other companies, I have no experience with them, and I just intend to “bloom where I’m planted” - as we all must when we make our choice - or the doctor makes it for us.

I just feel very upbeat today and want to encourage all those who are awaiting surgery. My recovery was a bit rough with the after-effect of anesthesia and a week of vertigo, but that’s all behind me now and it will be for you, too. It is so nice to be able to look forward with joy and anticipation of a marked improvement in one’s life … and no more so, for all of us, than during these difficult and unprecedented times. Cheers!

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Have you got the Marvel CI yet in Canada?

My friend in Canada was activated 2 weeks ago and was temporarily given an old Naida CI because apparently the Marvel CI hasn’t been released in Canada yet.

This is correct, @Zebras. I was really hoping to start with the M90 as well, but we will be able to trade up as soon as it is available. In the meantime, it gives us newbies a chance to “test drive” things and we’ll be better able to determine which accessories we’ll want when we get to chose our new package. The M90 is what swayed me over to AB - this company seems to be really tackling connectivity options and batteries. I am sure the other companies are also on the cusp, but I am happy that my doctor was happy with implanting me with AB so I could start out well, rather than always coming from behind.

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That is good.

I follow a blog of someone in US who now has the M90 CI.

Have you been told why it’s delayed in Canada?

My friend wasn’t told anything. When she went for activation, she was expecting the M90.

This is the size difference Altho the white CI has a small battery as that lasts her the whole day including streaming.

EDIT- The big difference is the Aqua Kit is so much better with the M90. It’s much improved.

@Zebras - Thanks for the photo. Yes, the size is reduced in the M90, even allowing for the battery size. I now have a medium battery, as it is the required one for the last attachment you see on the blue processor - it is the CI Connect, I believe, which slides onto the battery. However, I was very gratified to learn, during the AB representative’s webinar, that this piece will no longer be required, as the connectivity is built into all batteries for the M90. In truth, I am finding this battery rather large, as I have a small face and ears. I am still slightly tender near the incision site, too, which may account for some mild discomfort back there. Depending on how much life I get out of a battery, once I start streaming (I am to hold off for a week or two), I may opt for a couple of smaller batteries as well when I get the M90…

As for the delay … the rep said it’s partly a bureaucratic hold up to do with importing, but production is also held up due to the scarcity of computuer chips at the moment. That is affecting a lot of manufacturing.

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Hopefully you don’t have to wait too long for the M90. These chips seem to be a shortage for all things at the moment. The News here in the UK, said that even car building is effected.

I had two surgeries on my left ear (rebuilt my middle ear and ear drum), 20 years ago but my scar goes from behind my ear to then in front of my ear in to my hair line. I found with mask wearing, even my 20 year old scar is a bit tender. Hopefully you don’t have that issue.

Congratulations.
It sure sounds like you are off to a great start.

Your comments about how the CI blows away the hearing aid is similar to my experience too.

Keep us updated.
Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks @Raudrive! This community understands and appreciates the beauty of hearing things anew!!

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I am so envious. I was all primed and ready to receive a CI and on the day of my surgical consult, the surgeon said no. He said that 26 years was too long to expect the brain to make sense of the sudden input and he refused to do the surgery. He offered to do a bone conduction implant instead. I’m now back to looking at CROS hearing aids again and hoping for a medical breakthrough.

@TexOkie - Oh how disappointing for you. I hope you are a candidate for the bone conduction procedure. You have been struggling for such a long time!!

I had a phone call from Med El’s Director of Bone Conduction systems and we discussed my situation at length. I sent him my audiogram while we were on the phone and I could hear the tone of optimism drain from his voice. He suggested that I pursue BICROSS hearing aids again due to my high frequency sensorineural loss in both ears. He thinks I will get better results with hearing aids. So I have ordered a pair of Phonax Paradise CROS aids that should deliver in about 10 days. My audio has me on the schedule for September 9 to be fitted and pick them up.

Im attaching my audiogram for your entertainment. This is what it looks like when someone hears good enough that they should just be thankful and keep their trap shut.

Ejones audiology report .pdf (444.5 KB)

Find another surgeon. Get that second opinion, I did!
Maybe give Cochlear a try. They have great representatives that want to help.

For what it’s worth, my hearing has been bad for at least 35 years.
If you are active, I can not see a CI not being worth a try.

My right ear has been bad a long time. The left not so long. I can say the left is doing better with the implant at this time. The right is getting better though.

Find another doctor. If you want to hear, keep trying.

I am the furthest thing from an expert.
Sure don’t want to give you false hope.
But……

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I’m moving on. I’m tired of fighting that battle. There are only two other surgeons in my area and the wait list to get an appointment is six months. I’ve ordered a Phonax Paradise CROS hearing aid set and will revisit this issue if that does not work. I’ve got more pressing things to do in life than try to play games with doctors who have a God complex.

I agree, you need to get a second opinion from a different ENT.

I had moderate to severe loss high frequency congenital loss in my CI ear for 64 years. I had a SSHL in that ear 2 years before surgery. For 18 months of that 2 years I sat on the fence, do I, don’t I. That extra wait didn’t make much difference in the whole scheme of things. I’ve had a fantastic result from my implanted ear.

A 2nd opinion is worth a shot…Good Luck to you.

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Ok, have a question for you.
If you can understand speech from your ear or ears, why can’t you understand with a CI? Only much better!
I feel your frustration.
Think about getting a second opinion.
Get support from Cochlear or AB or Med El.
Good luck

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Susan huge congratulations on a very successful activation. You are doing extremely well with the environmental sounds around you. It took me 6 months to distinguish those sounds. With every mapping speech will become a lot clearer. Good luck with your rehab.

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Thank-you, Cheryl. I am quite in awe at the wonders of technology. I am sitting in my living room just now as my coffee brews in the kitchen. I can actually hear it, not as I used to, but I know it’s on. A little thing, but it’s important to be aware of household noises. I’ve had water running all over my kitchen floor because I couldn’t hear that a tap was still slightly open. I think we can all relate.

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Pending on how long you have not heard particular sounds, you will hear all sorts of things and wonder “what is that?”
For a few months I would ask my wife what a sound was that I didn’t recognize. It has been a big learning curve. It takes each of us more or less time but I believe it will happen to us all in time.

How is music?

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@Raudrive - My audiologist surprised me a bit, when she seemed to temper my expecations about music. She is more concerned about speech right now, and rightly so. It’s my biggest handicap. However, my husband likes to have music on in the car (we both did at one time) but I have found it very irritating over the last few years as it seems to just be a racket that I had to endure. Given all the driving he has been doing for me back and forth to hospital appointments, where he has had to sit outside in the care for hours, I have been doing my best to accomodate him listening to his favourite playlists - it’s the least I owe him! Well, over the last couple of days on the road, I have been exposed to about 4 hours of music. I am actually beginning to hear some of it as music again. I hear very little of lyrics, but I realized I had been tapping my feet to the beat and recognizing some of the instrumentals. It’s not an endurance test anymore. I have been able to enjoy music via BT streaming into my “good” ear, but when listening via a radio or stereo speaker, something gets seriously lost. I am staying very hopeful that I will regain my ability to hear music along with everyone else, because I absolutely love to dance and it will be awesome to have a party when our plague subsides … I have a “special” birthday coming up in the New Year … hint … I grew up in the “Wonder Years” …

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Music is trying to get better for me too.
Hearing songs I am familiar with seem to be best.

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