Hi all, today was the big day!! I got my cochlear implant upgrade from the Cochlear Freedom to the Cochlear N6 their latest model.
So off I went to the CI centre at the hospital with all the bits and pieces that I received when I got my Cochlear Freedom implant on 3rd March 2008!! It was weird walking in there with the kit bag.
I arrived into the room to receive my new CI and I saw black suitcase on the table next to my chair where I sit for the tuning. When my CI tuner told me that it was my new box of bits for my new CI, I couldn't believe it!! Well last time I did get a big cardboard box of bits but this time we get a suitcase of bits which was bigger than the box from last time!!!
Today my upgrade brought back alot of memories of my switch on, but this time I came along with experience!!
My CI tuner had already loaded my existing map (which was one of the best maps that I have had with my Cochlear Freedom) onto my new N6 CI. then she handed it to me so that I could check it when it was still connected to the computer in case I needed any further tuning. She switched it on and to me it sounded fine.
Then my CI tuner explained to me all the controls and the programmes on the new processor and how to use the remote and explained all the different accessories that were in the box. Apparently, I can go swimming with this CI!!! but not in the sea!!
It was on programme 1 when I left the hospital which has the background noise reducer. It cut out the sound of traffic and made music in a car sound like as though it was increasing and decreasing its volume which I didn't like very much so when I got home I tried programme 3 which has the background noise reducer switched OFF!! On my Freedom CI, I always had the auto sensitivity (background noise reducer) switched off as I hated it!!
I was born profoundly Deaf and have worn for the majority of my life the highest powered Phonak Superfront analogue hearing aids which everything was really turned up to try and give me some sound as I couldnt hear much. Modern day digital hearing aid / cochlear implant technology have this feature that reduces background noise. I absolutely detest the background noise being reduced cos that the very thing we like our hearing aids or cochlear implants for as we don't understand speech comprehension as we could never access it earlier in our lives. I, therefore switched to programme 3.
And yes, there was some new developments when I got home...
My new CI is BETTER than my Freedom cos, with my Freedom, I could never hear sounds in the next room. So I had gained new sounds already in the 1st hour of being home!! They were.. hearing the kettle boiling from upstairs, hearing the clock ticking in the kitchen from inside my living room and i could hear a phone ringing at the recipent's end when my interpreter was making a call on her iphone with it held to her head!!! Also with my Freedom, I was very sensitive to sound, alot of sound used to give me that nail scratching down the blackboard effect, but this has stopped with my N6!! As lots of my born Deaf BSL using friends who were cochlear implanted in the last few years as adults could hear sounds in the next room and I couldn't and no one had that nail scratching down the blackboard effect except me. It did made me wonder whether the problem I had with my Freedom CI a week after I was switched on was never fixed properly / resolved????? I did suffer alot of discomfort (tingling in arms, made my heart feel like as though it was beating faster etc) with my Freedom CI that I couldn't wear it all the time. Hopefully as the N6 is better, I will be able to wear it more and with comfort!!
I went out earlier this evening to get a couple of things in the city centre and I noticed new sounds which were doors shutting, but I still struggled with the speech side of things even with lip-reading that I had to ask people to write down what they are saying. As being deaf from birth, it's the environmental sounds and music that's ok with CI and will be focusing on those. The speech side of things is pointless!!
Tonight I returned home, I have been in my study and I have been playing my Christmas music on my ipod touch and yes, it sounds so much better, clearer and sharper!! Can these developments carry on.. watch this space.................