Countdown to Cochlear Implant

Well, my surgery date is fast approaching, July 23. I am basically isolating until then and trying to control my anxiety. I am not sure what is making me so anxious, the surgery itself or the worry that something is going to crop up, or we won’t get to the hospital on time (a two hour drive), or what Implant I will be receiving … they still haven’t informed me … how strict the Covid protocols will be … will my eyeglasses and hearing aid for my ‘good’ ear be close at hand when I wake up … I think I am being a bit of a baby.

On the plus side, I was told that my husband will be able to accompany me into the hospital and wait inside, thanks to our province entering a third phase of re-opening. He has not been allowed through all my appointments, and I have really struggled to hear what is said to me because of masks. I think that has been my biggest stressor - and everyone on this forum can relate to that due to the last year and a half!

I guess I could use some positive encouragement from those who have gone before me. I will be so glad when I am on the other side of this.

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Less than a week until your CI. After all the hoops you had to jump through I can’t blame you for being anxious or nervous. Try to relax, the hard stuff is over.

If your surgery is like mine, the people you will be dealing with are very versed in the fact you can not hear. They will be super helpful that you understand what’s going on. I had to sign a few legal papers before they knocked me out. The nurses I had were over the top nice and helpful. The anesthesiologist came in and talked as well as the surgeon. The surgeon used a maker to indicate which ear was getting the implant.

We had an hour and a half ride to the after lunch surgery. Got out early enough to get ahead of the high traffic time of that city. Both of my implant surgeries went well. Most of the same people were involved in both operations.

Have you been given surgery instructions? If not, lots of your questions will be answered then.

Hang in there. It’s all downhill now.

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Thanks Raudrive. I appreciate you walking me through the surgery day. I had the pre-op over the phone, which was a challenge. My streamer didn’t seem to help with the phonecall, so I put it on speaker instead. Hubby translated the nurse’s mile a minute cheerful questions. Oh, I do hope I will get to the point where I can handle my own phonecalls again. I just hate having lost my independence - as you can understand, I’m sure. Thank God I had my hearing during the years I really needed it.

I know I am in good hands, but it’s going through this with everyone masked and I can’t understand. It makes me feel quite helpless.

Certainly Covid drove it home that I needed to do something. I had been relying on showing up in person if I needed to handle any business, health care for my elderly mother, etc. Then that was abruptly cut off. So there is a silver lining in this cloud that has hung over all of us.

I am very grateful that this is all coming together very quickly, just having a case of the jitters now.

Be patient about this. It will come.
Some people it’s quick and others it may take 6-8 months. Everyone is different.

It can seem agonizingly slow at first but time flies by and you will be flat amazed in time. I am at about 10 months from my first plant. I am still getting better. I can have a conversation with someone standing behind me or my wife 50 feet away in another room. Phone calls are actually getting easy. Not afraid to make calls to strangers.

CI is amazing. Do understand you will lose about 25% of your existing hearing or maybe more from the implant. Some people save more than others. I am flat deaf without the processors but that’s ok. When the processors are on it’s a whole new world now.

Hang in there.
Blink your eyes and it’s over.

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My surgery was June 2020. At that time I could not hear what any masked person said. I still can’t. But I took with me my Android phone with the Google transcribe app. That app recorded on my phone in nice large print what everyone within 10 feet said. I was allowed to take it into the operating room. I continued to “hear” what was said until I felt the anesthetic going into my arm. After the surgery when I woke up they handed the phone back to me and I continued to see what was being said to me. If you have an Android phone download the app and use it. Borrow one if you have an iPhone. I have an iPhone now but if I need to hear a masked person I take my husbands android phone with me. iPhone has a similar app AVA which does not work for me.

I have no natural hearing in the implanted ear and almost none in the other ear. I have a hearing aid in that ear but truly, the processor on the implant does all the work.

Good luck and let us know how you’re doing.

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Thank you very much, nelhop. I have that downloaded. I will do that!!

Great. Practice with the app and it’s settings before the surgery day. If I’m not careful the app transcribes in some language other than English.:smirk:

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Is this true? Still can not understand people wearing masks?

This was my case too before getting the second implant. Within a week of activation I took the non implanted ear hearing aid off and never put it back on. The CI and processor was that much better.

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My surgeon did not recommend a second implant. My age, 88, may have something to do with that. I’m doing okay with just one implant. A few problems. I can hear a bird song but I can’t find the bird. With just the one implant I have no directionality. Everything is on the left. As for masks. I do still have a problem understanding masked people. I do still rely quite a lot on lip reading which is impoSsible with masks. I’m hoping that will get better as I think we will be using masks for some time to come.

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With two implants I still don’t have directionality, maybe a little. I have a feeling it will get better in time.
Speaking of birds, my wife is a bird nut, knows their sounds and flight patterns etc. When we met all birds were pretty much sparrows to me. Now that I can hear I can now identify many birds from the sound. The CI hearing continues to get better. I think it’s about wanting to learn new sounds, paying attention to what you hear and identify it.

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Raudrive, what does it mean “processing”? Thanx.

Raudrive sorry…I meant the meaning of “processors”? Thanks again.

The processors are the cochlear implant devices that are on the outside of the head like a hearing aid.

They pick up sound and communicate with the implant inside the head that sends electrical signals to the nerve that goes to the brain.

My simple description of CI.

Nelhop my surgeon did recommend me going bilateral. But I’ve decided to stay bimodal until/if I have a drop in my hearing. Then I’ll think about moving forward for bilateral CI. Rehab is a lot of hard work, and as we get older it does become more difficult…

Deaf_Piper my surgeon, too, is suggesting a second implant as well in a year’s time, which is how long I would have to wait for our public healthcare to cover it. However, I am loathe at this point to give up the considerable hearing I still have in the “good” ear. I have nothing to lose with the other, and everything to gain. But it scares me to lose whatever decent residual hearing I have if I go bilateral. My hearing aid still gives me pretty good hearing of environmental sound in the “good ear” , just poor speech recognition. Someday, I expect I will have to take that leap, but I will delay as long as I can.

@susanmarylynn Your surgery is 7/23? That’s my surgery 1 year implantversary. Things went great for me and they will for you too.

The nursing staff will probably give you a small plastic bag to place your eyeglasses and hearing aid into. They then hooked the bag to the hook on the pole that holds the IV bag. Shortly after I was awakened back in the room I was prepped for the surgery and sitting in a chair to earmt a snack and drink some juice, they gave me my glasses and hearing aid back. You are allowed to wear these things right after surgery, but be prepared to fidget wth the arm of the glasses ghat is on your implant side. You will have a bandage around your head like a head band and a dome like plastic protector with bandages underneath protecting the operated area. That domes area is where you will need to find a spot to lay the eyeglass arm. Everyone is different, but I had no pain, just soreness. You will receive scripts for at home meds. I had all mine filled, but didn’t use them all. My meds were a pain med, a steroid, anti nausea med, an antibiotic, and lorazepam (I think or something similar, which is normally used for anxiety disorder, but in this case, used to help you sleep). I only took the pain med a day, the steroid and antibiotic till finshed. Did not need the nausea or sleep meds. You will probably be in hospital total of 4 hours, 1 hour before to be prepped, an hour to two hours surgery, and 1 hour recovery. Seems long, but it isn’t surgery is a blink of an eye. You will get post op care and probably you follow up with the surgeon a week and a half later to check area and remove any stitches. At that time you will be released from the surgeons care to the audi to receive sound processor and get activated. That’s how it went for me, Iwould expect something similar unless Canada does something different.

Good luck, all will be fine!

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@debbie_o - Thank you so much, Debbie, for kindly taking the time to walk me through surgery day! Just 2 more sleeps - if I sleep at all the night before! I seriously think my biggest anxiety is navigating rush hour traffic to get to the hospital on time!

That is a neat coincidence that you were implanted on the same date a year ago! Your implantversay! I really appreciate knowing what is ahead of me on the big day.

I first heard of cochlear implants about 20 years ago, when my son-in-law’s little niece was implanted. She was just a toddler. She is now a lovely grown up young woman who loves her job working with seniors - and would totally understandand empathize with the challenges of hearing loss that inevitably comes with age. So nice how life’s circumstances can work out so well! Little did I know I would be one of those folks, just a little earlier than I imagined!

I am encouraged by your post. Cheers!

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I may not be able to decipher human speech, but I remain grateful that I can still hear birds! I can’t always determine where they are either, but I have fun trying to locate them. I must puzzle and amuse onlookers during my walks when I stop at the sound of Cardinals and look up and about into the trees. Those birds seem to like to tease and I am sure they can throw their voices! “Over hear!” “Nope, just kidding, over here!” “Ha, ha, fooled ya again!” We have a wren couple nesting for theie second brood this season on our cottage deck. They are very talkative, but I daresay they could expand their repertoire!

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@susanmarylynn When you feel up to it how your surgery went. No two surgeries are alike and I hope your experience went as well as mine did. I’m glad I could give you some encouragement. You need to rell me which implant you ended up with. I didn’t leave you with an impression everything would be rosy, just how things went with my procedure. I don want you to have confidence that you made the right decision. Make sure once you are activated that you take advantage of the technology with your new sound processor to practice your hearing with your implant.

For example, I have a TV streamer that streams the TV to both my hearing aid and sound processor/implant. Don’t use your aid, just your implant and find out how much of the speech you can hear and understand. If you need captioning to help you, that’s fine. Same thing with audio books, podcasts, etc. I’m fortunate that I can hear the TV without using my streamer , but it’s good to have if I do need it.

I go with the same thing with my hearing aid in hearing the birds and other sounds of nature. I can hear heavy rain on the roof and against the windows. I think how lucky I am to hear these things with my HA. If you use just your CI alone, you will need to relearn those sounds because they will sound different. After awhile, some voices will sound normal or close to normal, just not exactly the same, your brain will get used to it and adjust. It won’t all happen at once, it takes time. If you have questions, feel free to ask or you can message me or anyone else through the forum if you don’t want to post publicly. Follow your doctor’s advice, once you have the post op follow up and the stitches come out, your care will transition to your audi, unless you are having issues with the site of surgery or things are done differently in Canada. Good luck and blessings to you!

Well today was the big day!
You are probably groggy from the surgery but hope you are doing good.
Let us know how you are doing when you can.

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