Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free Neckloop From Clarity If Attending HLAA Convention


Monday, June 01, 2009

Why Did I Choose Advanced Bionics?

I decided to do a little spring cleaning to my inbox and I noticed that my sent folder was overflowing with emails answering why I picked Advanced Bionics for my cochlear implant. It seems that after a 100 or so emails, I have unknowingly created this wonderful base for this blog. :)

There are several reasons I chose AB. I wanted to be able to hear better in noise. I wanted to be able to use the phone like a normal person. I wanted to be able to listen to music with ear buds that otherwise proved completely useless to me when I had a hearing aid – the ear was already full enough :) I wanted to be able to transition through different sound environments without fiddling around with the program. I wanted rechargeable batteries because they are safer for the environment and economically friendlier. I wanted the support that was needed that goes along with learning how to hear with a cochlear implant and because of Hearing Journey, I got answers the second I post a question. I wanted to be able to access the latest MRI technology with minimal surgery. I wanted promises of future technology designed to emulate better hearing without further surgery. I wanted total reliability. I wanted the implant to withstand sweating when I work out since I was forever killing my hearing aids. I wanted to push the envelope of hearing. When it came down to it – AB was the only company that could give me that.

1. T-Mic Microphone

The T-Mic ear hook is only available with Advanced Bionics cochlear implant system. This is not to be confused with the T-Coil, an option that can be turned on by your audiologist on your Harmony Processor. It uses the natural shape of the ear to emulate natural hearing. It helps to provide clarity that is needed for speech and is absolutely fantastic in noise because you can rotate your ears to what you want to focus on like a normal hearing person. It comes in two sizes, standard for big ears like mine and pediatric size for itty bitty ears.

Being a long term hearing aid wearer, I was familiar how directional microphones (catches the sound in front of you) and omni-directional microphones (catches the background sound) works but this design intrigued me. With the T-Mic earhook, I can just put the telephone up to my ear without fiddling with anything and the background noise immediately fades away making the your voice or the person on the other end of the phone the dominant sound . When you or the person stops talking, the background noise will become noticeable. It is the same phenomena when I wear a Bluetooth headset and stick IPOD ear buds in my ear. These are things I never thought would be possible with a hearing aid.

2. Auto Sound

The phenomenon that I was just talking about is called Auto Sound which automatically adjusts for the environment that you are in. I shall spare you the technicalities of it all. It allows you to hear whispers to shouts without flipping a switch. You don't have to fiddle around with programs. This is a cut and paste from a bilateral AB user that lives with a bilateral Freedom user that explains how useful it is to have valuable Auto Sound is.

My resident (bilateral) Freedom user having to switch for the phones, having to switch for restaurants, having to switch back for normal conversations. When we listen to music, he switches and switches programs trying to find something that sounds ok. He gets frustrated with it. If he forgets to switch back, he can spend the morning not hearing well in normal situations, with his voice louder than necessary. That is my tip off that he forgot to switch I will have him check and sure enough, he forgot to switch back from whatever program he was using, back to his "everyday" program.

I would be highly agitated if I had to keep flipping programs to go from my house, to my car, to work. With Auto Sound, I hardly ever have to switch.

3. Familiarity of Hearing Aid Style

Advanced Bionics has the options of three program slots and it mimicked the style of what I was used to with my HA. Right after you get activated, you tend to play a lot with different programs options that AB has to see what suits you best but now I settled down with just one program from everything: But just for sake of having options, I have a normal everyday program, a noise/telephone program that I hardly ever use unless I am in a noisy environment and music. I find it redundant to have more than three program options because like myself, most of the CI users after they learn how to hear with the CI, you might find yourself just sticking to one. If you go to a CI clinic that gives you two processors, a primary and a back up, you can utilize both of them to play around with different settings until your brain figures out which one it likes best.

4. Widest Window of Sound (IDR)

Since a normal person ear cannot process any sound louder than 120dB and it will hurt a hearing person to hear anything louder than 120dB which results them sticking their fingers in their ears to dampen the noise. AB has its own ceiling as well. It is called IDR which stands for Input Dynamic Range that can be adjusted up to 80dB. Other companies are at 45dB. It just means that ceiling on the CI or window of sound can process up to 80dB and then Auto Sound kicks in and automatically dampens the sound to make it comfortable for us to tolerate the loud noise.

If you can picture a window shut, which means very little sound is coming through because the window absorbs most of the sound. If you open the window a little bit, you will begin to hear some noise such as leaves blowing around, cars passing or a faint impression of someone hammering. I call this a low IDR. If you open the window up halfway, you are inviting even more noise. You might get the leaves blowing, cars passing and a more distinct impression of the person hammering but you might hear the birds singing as well. If you open it up all the way, you might as well be standing outside. I like to it call it adjustable noise control. :) With a wide IDR, I can go to a concert and hear the concert as it was meant to be heard. With a narrow IDR, it gets rid of unimportant noise or what I call "white noise" and brings a sense of perceptible clarity.

5. Rechargeable Batteries

I am extremely environmentally friendly. I recycle. I drive a hybrid which resembles a hardboiled egg but you just can't beat it the 55 mpg that I get. So, rechargeable batteries are an easy "green" option. Advanced Bionics has two sizes of rechargeable batteries, extended and slim. Extended is what I have which I get an average of 24 hours out of, you figure every two days I'm slipping a new one in. I got four batteries with my processor when I was activated and I lost one (blushing) but three batteries last me the whole week. It is not only environmentally friendly, it is economically friendly as well. There are no trips to the store to buy batteries which means more money in your pocket. You might want to buy a new set of batteries every 2-3 years but if you have a durable medical rider on your insurance policy, that means very little out of pocket. AB provides a little wallet that you can attach to your key ring to carry your batteries with you.

6. HiResolution Fidelity 120 Sound Processing Option

The latest software development is the HiRes speech strategy option with Fidelity 120 options. This is an option that can help you in noisy conditions, appreciate music and on the telephone. The only way I can describe it is if I compare it to a camera. A hearing aid is a Polaroid and HiRes with Fidelity 120, it is a 4MP Camera. I can hear in noise much more easily than I could ever hear with a hearing aid. Since it was designed with music in mind, it has been a joy to actually enjoy music especially now that I am bilateral.

It uses current steering technology to increase spectral resolution from as few as 12 to 22 spectral bands to as many as 120 spectral bands. Advanced Bionics is the only company that can achieve this type of current steering technology because it has a power source each electrode. Other companies that have only one power source for all of their electrodes claim that they can steer electrodes but they have no speech strategy devised for it which makes it totally useless, doesn't it?

7. Independently Controlled Currents or Electrodes

Since I have a technical background, I have always been interested in how components function and it played a large part of my research. All the components may look similar in programming, chip size and material but the old saying, never judge a book by its cover. The HiRes 90k implant has the 16 independent computer controlled current sources where other companies have one power source. It is like if you set up X number of speakers and plug them into one outlet, you will not get the same performance if you plug in each one of those speakers to its own power supply. With independently controlled current sources, the ability for tons of future software development since it can control each electrode.

8. Internal Chip Memory

The fact that the internal chip memory is only operating at 25% capacity means that there are tons of room for development.

9. Total Reliability of Internal and External Report

Advanced Bionics has been able to issue a total reliability report. For the implant, it is at 99.5 on June 2008 and for the Harmony processor, the return rate is less than 1%. I do want to point out that you want to be worried about the reliability of both the implant and the processor because if one stops functioning, you can't hear - point blank. The other companies do not offer a reliability report on their processors because it is absolutely deplorable. I always hearing about parts breaking down and being replaced. I absolutely hated it when I was left in the dark when my hearing aid broke down and believe me, I have done my fair share of killing them. I felt so disconnected from the world as I knew it. I have yet to have my processor replaced (knock on wood) but if I ever did, I would have it within 48 hours with the Processor Direct Program.

In 2004, Advanced Bionics was under another company called Boston Scientific when they had agreements with two Vendors to supply a part for the internal component. They noticed that the rate with Vendor B component was prone to moisture issues was 1% lower than the Vendor A component. AB issued a recall on their own accord recalling the devices due to the potential presence of moisture in the internal circuitry, which can cause the device to stop functioning. Not all of the Vendor B implants had this problem. Advanced Bionics has since resolved this issue by only using parts supplied by Vendor A. As a result, their total reliability has gone way up.

10. Processor Direct Program

Processor Direct Program minimizes the time waiting if you should ever need your sound processor replaced. Just call your audiologist and they will contact AB via our secure, automated website and upload your sound processor’s unique program file. AB technicians will load your program into a replacement sound processor and ship it directly to you. Because you receive a fully functional processor preloaded with your customized program, there’s no need to schedule a programming visit. That means more time for yourself and more money in your pocket.

Processor Direct is completely safe, so there’s no risk of hearing with the wrong program. AB’s secure website makes it impossible for your audiologist to upload the wrong program file, and for additional security, AB’s patented IntelliLink™ feature will not allow a processor loaded with the wrong program to work with your implant. You enjoy peace of mind knowing you have the correct programs—developed specifically for you. An office visit to program a replacement sound processor might not be covered by insurance companies, which mean you may have to pay the cost. With Processor Direct, no programming office visit is required and that means no unexpected costs.

11. Support

Advanced Bionics has the largest online community forum – Hearing Journey with over 4,500 users. It consists of CI candidates, recipients and parents of children recently diagnosed with hearing loss, parents of children that have cochlear implant and audiologists. It is a huge wealth of information as everyone rallies around for support, offers advice, shares tips and tricks about surgery or learning how to hear with a cochlear implant. There is a CI chat held every Thursday night from 8pm EST til the cows come home, that you can come and talk to other cochlear implant recipients, candidates, parents and audiologists. Just log in to Hearing Journey and click on the chat options and you are in!

Advanced Bionic has taken it one step further to provide one-on-one support. They have just launched a new site for cochlear recipients and candidates from across the country through its new "Connect to Mentor" Web site. The new site, part of the BEA (Bionic Ear Association) Mentor Program, that I and several other bloggers are a part of, allows cochlear implant candidates to contact volunteer "mentors" and communicate directly with hearing professionals. You see my smiling face on this site as well. :)

Candidates can use the Connect to Mentor website to search for mentors who include parents of implanted children, relatives of cochlear recipients and adult recipients. Each mentor has a profile complete with a personal photo and facts such as favorite sound, interests (i.e., cell phone user, traveler, musician), hometown, age they were implanted, severity of hearing loss and how they can help cochlear implant candidates. Then, candidates can choose to "start a conversation" with the mentor directly from their profile.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Binaural HINT Scores.


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Without it, there isn't anything getting done around this blog here. But through the miraculous powers of the coffee plant, I was able to devise this rather inspiring little chart of all my HINT (Hearing In Noise Test) scores.

Click here to make it bigger.

You will notice that my left ear before I was implanted was 0% across the board. This was an ear that has been unstimulated for over 15 years. I was pretty damn deaf in that ear. I can't argue with that. :)

The red column shows my progress with my left ear tested at one month post activation. I scored 44% in quiet. I was pretty elated to go from 0% to 44% in a matter of a month. I distinctly remember thinking that my brain was playing tricks on me because it was almost as though I had to learn to trust myself that I was hearing something correctly. As it would turn out, I was hearing it correctly half the time.

The lime green column is my left ear tested at five months post activation. It jumped up to 79% in quiet and 34% in quiet. I was practicing with an audiobook every single day for at least half hour to an hour. This was kind of at the point that my brain was sorting out speech in quiet and learning how to pick out what is important in noise. Baby steps!

The purple column is my left ear tested at one year. My score remained the same at 79% in quiet but my score in noise went up to an astonishing 73%. Since I scored so well with the first level of noise, my audiologist felt that I could handle the harder noise test and I scored 64%. I was downright impressed with my scores. Now, I was thinking that the benefit of a cochlear implant can really take up to a year especially on an ear that has been unstimulated for so long.

The dark blue column shows my left ear tested at one year and five months. I don't know whether I had a really good mapping at my one year appointment or my ear just blossomed but I scored 96% in quiet, 88% a little bit of noise and 84% with even more noise!

Now we are moving on to my right ear that has been stimulated all my life. the orange column shows my HINT scores when I was evaluated for a CI in May of 2007. I wish I could get my right ear tested before I had the surgery because I couldn't hear anything after I hit my head on the roller coaster. But in my total unprofessional opinion, when someone takes a loud speaker and talks to you about five feet away with a fully powered hearing aid in and you can't hear didly squat, I'm going to say my scores were next to nothing. Just saying.

The light blue column shows my right ear tested at one month post activation and it scored an AMAZING 85%! Now, it took over a year for my left ear to get up over 80%. Even with the first level of noise, I managed to hear 40%. That will get better as time goes on. Now I am totally giving credit to the substantiated claims that surgeons advice about implanting a better ear. They apparently know what they are talking about. :) It means that it is less stressful and the learning curve is much shorter. But you know me, I do nothing easy...

The mauve or dusty pink column shows them tested together. The results are nothing less them supremely impressive. I scored 97% in quiet, 85% a little bit of noise and 77% with more noise introduced.

I was so proud of the good job they did on the tests that I went right out and brought them a pair of earrings. :)

Northeast Cochlear Implant Convention 2009

I will be attending the Northeast Cochlear Implant Convention 2009 on July 10 - 12, 2009 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center in Sturbridge, MA where none other Josh Swiller who is not only pretty easy on the eyes but the author of “The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa.”, will be the keynote speaker.

You can take a look at the 2007 convention pictures here. I have to say from looking at the pictures, this looks like it is going to be a fun group! Children, adults and workshops - oh my!

So what is this convention about, check out this snippet below.

Dear Families and Friends,

You are warmly invited to attend the Seventh Biennial Northeast Cochlear Implant Convention, to he held July 10-12, 2009 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, MA. On-line registration or registration forms will soon be available on this site. Call 1-800-582-3232 to reserve your room at the hotel, or on-line at

Nearly twelve years have passed since our first convention in Sturbridge, in 1997. In some ways, the convention is like a school reunion. Lounging around the pool or at a party in a guest room, we catch up with our friends’ changing lives: new jobs, or maybe retirement; children progressing through elementary, middle and high school, and on to college. And incidentally, how are you or your child doing with the implant? How nice to hear that things are going well!

The theme of the ’09 convention is “We Hear the World.” It is a natural evolution from the previous convention themes of “Raising the Bar,” “Enhancing Communication,” and “Technology Rocks!” In “Raising the Bar” we considered the new higher standards for classroom acoustics, the rising performance levels of cochlear implants and assistive listening devices. The theme “Enhancing Communication” reflected the many new technologies and approaches for facilitating communication access by adults and children in a wide range of situations. “Technology Rocks!” addressed the many exciting technologies and approaches that can unlock communication potential and make possible more complete and satisfying human communication in school, at work, in social settings with friends, and at home..

“We Hear the World” celebrates the many examples of cochlear implant users participating fully and independently in the world around them. The keynote speaker at our upcoming convention, Josh Swiller, will offer some thoughtful and humorous insights about hearing the world and being a part of the world. Josh spent two years living in a rural village in Zambia. That experience is recounted in his book, “The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa.” Josh has had a “ large variety of careers, including forest ranger in the California Redwoods, sheepskin slipper craftsman and salesman, Zen monk, raw food chef, journalist, and teacher. The title of Josh’s keynote address is “We Are the World.”

Hearing the world also implies that we listen with empathy and respond to needs that we learn about. Like everyone else, cochlear implant users experience passages in their lives. High school students leave home for college. College students enter the workforce. The generation born after WWII leaves the workforce for retirement, and many of those who received the earliest implants are now golden agers. New technologies and communication approaches can ease the transition to a more mature stage of life. At the convention we will explore these transitions to the next arena of life.

See you there!

Larry Orloff, Chairperson, President, MIC and Marilyn W. Neault, Ph.D., Co-Chairperson, Children’s Hospital Boston

So go ahead and download the registration forms here and I hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

HLAA Convention - June 18-21st

Hearing Loss Association of America is holding its annual convention AND celebrating its 30th birthday in Nashville, Tennessee at the monolithic Gaylord Hotel on June 18th to the 21st. You can check out the convention registration package and rates here. Hurry though, the rooms at the hotel are at 98% capacity and registration ends on May 24th. So, break out your happy finger and click on this link for convention details.

The keynote speaker for this year is Vint Cerf, Ph.D., vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, and widely known as known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet." Anyone who had a hand in developing the Internet is alright in my book. He is hard of hearing and his wife is a recipient of a cochlear implant. I can't wait to hear Cerf's up!

I just so happen to have the workshop schedule here. If you take a gander, you see that Tina Childress and I will be giving a workshop called "Wireless Technology Made Simple", on Thursday, June 18th at 2:30. I'm so excited because I love bringing out the inner geek in people especially when it comes to helping them hear better with technology. :)


I am going to be representing Advanced Bionics on Bilateral Cochlear Implant panel that my buddy Wayne Roorda is hosting on Saturday, June 20th at 10:00. This panel will be made up of recipients of all brands. I encourage that if you have any questions or concerns regarding bilateral cochlear implantation and you are attending the convention, shoot an email to with your questions.

At the same time, my very best bilateral bionic belle, Jennifer and coincidentally Nashville's local HLAA Chapter President will be giving a presentation on Social Networking for Young Adults. She is just the person to give that presentation because she emanates social butterfly! On another note, please help Jennifer reach her goal for the Chattanooga Walk4Hearing on May 16th.


I will be volunteering at the Advanced Bionic booth just waiting for people to pick my geeky brain about cochlear implants and the Harmony processor.


I am HLAA's 2009 convention blogger!

I got some pretty big ears to fill here...

Your Hearing, Your Life - Free Seminar in Melville, NY

I'm attending this free Seminar on May 11th, 7-9pm at the Melville Marriott Hotel in Melville, NY on candidacy and advancing technology in the treatment of hearing loss. Sponsored by Advanced Bionics.

Featuring Speakers from North Shore Medical Group, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

  • Eric Smouha, M.D., ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR Otolaryngology
  • Karen Siegel, Audiologist
  • Christie Haug, Clinical Specialist Advanced Bionics
  • Katie Peter, Regional BEA Manager, Advanced Bionics

Space is Limited! To register for this free event please contact:

Linda Luallen at
866.844.HEAR (4327)
TTY 800.678.3575

If you are unable to attend our event and would like information
about cochlear implants, contact The Bionic Ear Association at or call 1.866.844.HEAR (4327).

May 11, 2009 • 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Melville Marriott Hotel
1350 Old Walt Whitman Road • Melville, NY 11747

Sunday, April 12, 2009

First Bilateral Mapping...

This week has proven not be superfluous but surprisingly productive towards the end. The first couple of days, I would be sprawled out on my recliner, cupping my chin in my hand and staring into space wondering why in the HELL everything was plinking. People plinked. My dog plinked. She was plinking all over the house. I was ready to take her plinking fuzzy butt and have her deplinked. The leaves plinked. The wind plinked. My breathing plinked. Paper plinked. Staplers plinked. It was a plinkerific mess for the first couple of days.

As each new day dawned, the chipmunks have gone into hibernation and the robotic voice synthesizer has come out to play. The plinking began to lessen leading the way to the subtle phonetic nuances to enter the foreground. Of course, this wasn't entirely clear to me until I picked up the phone and heard a series of numbers correctly. First, I thought that I got them wrong but I listened with my old ear which proved me wrong. I was hearing nothing but plinking, and unknowingly I was understanding more than I thought. I took me several weeks to understand numbers with the old implant. The last time I could understand anything on my right ear on the telephone was February 22, 2007.

Naturally, my optimism levels rose. I decided to tests my brain out to see what else it was hiding from me. I had the LING sounds read to me, and I guessed all but one correctly - EEE. In the beginning I thought there was no way I could start auditory rehab with everything beeping, boinging and plinking but with my newfound discovery, I threw myself into it. My first "lesson" is Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I downloaded the audiobook on my ipod and plugged myself in via the Direct Connect cord. I could tell that it was a woman narrating the book, but in real life I had difficulty discriminating between a male and a female. I was not expecting much - a phoneme or two, but much to my surprise I was sporadically picking up broken sentences. I was throughly confused when I closed my eyes to understand real live speech, I felt as though I wasn't picking up diddly squat. But, when I had myself plugged into the Ipod I was picking up strings of words. I've deduced that my brain is playing tricks on me.

This whole week I had the chance to adjust to HiRes - P. In the beginning, it offered me less plinking than HiRes - S. So, I stuck with P all week but on my way to my first mapping this morning, I put the ear buds from my Ipod into my ear to listen to Twilight and noticed that I was picking up a lot more road noise than I liked. I decided to cycle through the programs to see whether the other two could filter out the road noise. I was pleasantly surprised that when I used HiRes-S at how well it filtered the road noise. I was even more surprised at how well I was understanding - far superior to what HiRes-P was giving me. At the last moment, I decided on HiRes-S as my speech strategy.

As I was waiting in the waiting room, I sat a good 20 to 25 feet at a distance from this secretary who was brandishing a very shrilling piece of machinery - a stapler! I was dying listening to every time she felt the absolute need to fasten some papers together which happened to be every ten-seconds. Then my audiologist came and rescued me. First, she performed what is called a NRI test which measures the nerve response to electrical stimulation. I didn't have to do anything but sit there and look out the window watching clouds roll in. This gave us an indication of where the volume should be and it was right in the ballpark.

My main issue was the robotic voices and certain high pitched tones such as staplers, dishes, and squeaky doors, paper and numerous others were causing me to brace for the auditory attack. It doesn't hurt, but it just makes me acutely alert that they are there! So what my audiologist did was raised the volume and added some gains in the high and the lows frequencies. As I expected, we could not map out the robotic voices but we got them tamed. My brain will acclimate in the coming months. This took just a half hour, I was out the door and on my way home. Once I got home, I crashed...

Since it has been a few days, I can make an honest assessment of the mapping. My voice sounds like Darth Vader which is really testing my ability to have a conversation without laughing. I can tell the difference between a man and a woman's voice. I noticed that while I am reading along with the audiobook, the frequency that I am picking up sentences is increasing. Yesterday, I was driving with a friend in the passenger seat and I could understand him without reading his lips even when night descended. Since my first implant was on my left ear, there was always a degree of difficulty with hearing people in the passenger seat but that has become easier.

For me, this bilateral process is like waiting for a flower to bloom. I know the seed has been planted. I'm watering the seed by wearing it by itself as much as I can. I'm fertilizing it with auditory rehab. I'm providing the necessary light by venturing out into different environments. For I know that this cannot be rushed and all I can do is wait. I'm just thankful that I don't need a green thumb for this. :)

Friday, April 03, 2009

Bilateral Activation

My new ear was activated yesterday and the results were very promising. When my audiologist plugged me into the computer, I could have sworn I heard something – a surge of electricity but at that point my audiologist didn’t even touch the volume control. As my audiologist gradually turned up the volume, I watched her lips emit an artificially high-pitched voice. When the volume reached a tolerable level, I actually HEARD but I didn’t understand her talk where with my first ear; I wasn’t blessed hearing any type of vernacular. Naturally, my response was giddy since she talked like a chipmunk. :) It was difficult to keep a straight face while trying to effectively describe what I was hearing.

Once we fiddled around with the new ear, they decided to throw the old one back on to see whether I have a sense of balance auditory wise. I immediately had to turn the volume down on the old one. I could tell that I was hearing in stereo because the auditory input in each ear was dramatically different. My old ear was well, my old ear. My new ear was beeps, bongs, whistles. After a few minutes, my old ear decided to become the dominant ear. Once it did that, it somewhat canceled out some of the beeps, bongs and whistles.

No one took pity on the deaf girl because they started ripping paper, banging on the table and tapping their nails. The entire activation took less than an hour. My audiologist didn’t have to explain anything to me since I am a seasoned pro with the implant business. :) Since I went through this process already, I was very conservative volume wise. With my first ear, it was my initial instinct to amp up the volume because that is how you hear with a hearing aid. This time around, since I know what I know now, I know that you can’t rush it. Your brain will tell you what it wants, when it wants it. I was fitted with a Hi-Res Paired program with Fidelity 120, Hi-Res Sequential program with Fidelity 120 and a Hi-Res Paired noise program with Fidelity 120. I get to cycle through each one for several hours to see which one I prefer. My audiologist strongly suggested that I leave my old one off as much as possible to give my new ear some time to play catch up. Joy. :)

After activation, I walked out of the hospital with my slot firmly in position for Hi-Res Paired program with Fidelity 120 and unknowingly walked into the world according to Super Mario brothers. All sorts of beeps, buzzing, and bongs just pulsing away in my head. It sounds all futuristic but emanates the past of the arcade games from the 80’s.

Just driving home was a trip having the wonderfully iconic BOING of Super Mario powering up as I drove over every bump on the road. The only thing that really stood out is when I yawned a good healthy yawn – it sounded like a very horny orca performing their mating call. Feel free to YouTube that. I had noticed that I was unable to hear my blackberry chirp or croak when someone sent me a message. A few hours later, I could hear it. When I first got home, I couldn’t hear my dog’s toenails click clack against the floor. A few hours later, I could. I must have walked her up and down my 15 foot hallway about twenty times to hear it. I’m sure she thought I had gotten lost in my own house. :) I can tell when someone really has a good laugh. That is probably the only thing that I can pick out right now. BUT, I did pick up that there were some drums playing on the television.

I learned a little something about bilateral mappings – it wears you out. I mean my mappings for just one were a bit tiring but two – Oy! I’m not a napper by any means because I’ll sleep when I’m dead. But I buckled under pressure and took a twenty minute snooze.

This morning I decided to give Hi-Res Sequential program with Fidelity 120 a whirl – at work. I am sitting here with my hair down cleverly disguising two cochlear implants - the new one attached and the old one with the coil hanging just in case I need to use the telephone. it looks like a very ugly earring. Instead of listening to the world dictated by Super Mario Brothers, I am on the Galactic Republic listening to the auroral radio chatter of R2D2. When someone talks, it is as if R2D2 has a hyperactivity disorder – different beeps, bloops, and whistles randomly and furiously. And I am supposed to figure those out. :) I am listening to rain and it sounds like when Sonic the Hedgehog is collecting a whole mess of rings. When I walk down the hallway with my heels, I feel as I am walking with the weight of an elephant because it is very loud.

All in all, I am thrusting myself into the noisy world starting from scratch – hearing everything for the first time – again. I forgot how much I loved this process. :) Everything that I am hearing, coincides with a sound immediately. That pleases me. The toughest part about this for me is leaving my old ear off but I will remain diligent. My next mapping is next Friday on April 10th and that is when the real fun begins. For now, R2D2 and I are going to be buddies for the next week.