Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My fifth mapping went a little something like this...


About three weeks ago, sounds from my implant began to sound fuzzy, robotic, and barely audible. This means that my brain has gotten use to the electrical output of the electrodes and in simple terms, needs more juice. I know a passing thought must be why don’t I just pump up the volume? I could pump up the volume but then my eye starts twitching at high frequency and hard sounds like SH, CH, S, and dogs barking (especially a certain Italian mastiff name Kane) Therefore, it forced me to keep the volume down so I could enjoy a twitch free day :)

In dire need of a mapping, I met my audiologist Jennifer and Advanced Bionic representative Tammy to see if we can resolve the silly little twitch of mine. They worked their mojo and it was resolved! I was using HiRes-P Fidelity 120 and they changed that to HiRes-S Fidelity 120 and widened the pulse width. HiRes-P was stimulating two electrodes at once, HiRes-S is stimulating one electrode at a time. What exactly does the pulse width do, beats me but I am going to figure it out! All I know that when they switched me over to HiRes-S, I whined that I sounded very digitalized. I had to laugh at myself. They changed my pulse width from 18 to 38 and that solved the digital voice issue. *clapping*

Another issue that could have been related to the twitch is that I had AGC (Auto Gain Control) turned off because I was not fond of hearing an ambulance or my cell phone and then having it cut off. AGC apparently applies a limit to the loudness coming through the processor. To troubleshoot whether this could be a cause, the dynamic duo gave me some homework. They loaded up one processor with AGC turned off and the other one with it turned on. It has been a couple days with AGC on and I notice a difference with sounds cutting off. Next week I will try the other processor with AGC off and report back.

I finally requested a telephone program to be put on my processor. Since I used telecoil on my hearing aid since I was a teeney bopper, I thought I would have it turned on. WRONG! I hated it. I think I had it turned on for all of three minutes before I asked to take it off and give me straight T-Mic. Poor Jennifer, I think she created about five programs for the telephone.

After I left the two girls, I went downstairs to wait for the valet get my car and I decided to call my mommy. Let me explain how the waiting room of the hospital is set up. Marble floors, glass windows, speaker phone blasting, escalator, vending machine down the hall, people coming and going and chatting about toilet paper being on upside down, not exactly a library. Not quite the ideal situation for me to try to make a phone call but this implant is a computer in my head so I am going to challenge the damn thing. I rang the lovely lady up and I heard everything she said, SHE had problems hearing me because it was so loud :)

I have had quite a few moments besides the unbelievable Daughtry concert. You know those moments of when people hear something and they start laughing? I am usually left out in the dark on these moments but I wasn’t this time. I heard my coworker’s cell phone ring who sits on my unimplanted side and to the back of me. I hear a click and her say “Recording!” which is how we answer the phones at work. I started laughing because I was able to figure out that answered her cell with our work greeting and that was something that I was never able to do before unless you were sitting right in front of me.

My next moment was that I was driving with my friend as a passenger on Saturday night. Anyone who is deaf will know this is not an ideal situation either. Normally in order to have a half-decent conversation, I have to turn my head towards them, which means my eyes are NOT on the road. Surprisingly, this does not bother my friends. I was actually watching where I was going, my friend was still gabbing away, and I realized that I heard what she was saying. I just let her keep talking to make sure I wasn’t fooling myself and hot damn, I heard her without turning my head! I have never been able to do that in the 10 years that I have had my license. That was an amazing accomplishment for me :)

This moment is not a CI moment but it has to do with the possibility of going bilateral. I was on my way to the hospital (both eyes on the road of course) listening to the radio and all of the sudden all I heard very little road noise. I thought something happened to my radio but it turned out to be my processor battery died. I replaced the battery and everything was right as rain. Technically, I should have heard at least some noise from the radio from my hearing aid and I got hardly anything. I should start to do some serious thinking about getting the other ear done. I will start looking into this next year, one ear a year :)

There is a couple CI surgeries and an activation that I would like to highlight. Jeff had an amazing activation yesterday! :) Stop by his blog and give the newest bionic man some praise. When I posted my activation video, it was only a visual for him. After his second mapping today, he was able to hear just about everything that my audiologist said. Jennifer continues to astound me with how well she is doing with Thing 2 as she calls it since she is a bilateral belle :) Geo had his surgery and is due for activation next week, I think he should move it up because quite frankly my electrodes are going to burst if I have to wait any longer! :)

Now I am off to find a WII, the wonderful WII of all!!!


Nikki said...

That is so awesome :)

Jennifer said...

Abbie...that's awesome! I hate that I missed your phone call the other day...for you, I would have would have been my first bionic buddy phone call! I have been practicing a lot more and am doing quite well.Tonight I called one of the teenage boys from church on my cell phone (he had my son and I didn't know where they were). Before, I didn't even like to TALK to Zach because he mumbles...but I understood almost every word on the's great :)
It sounds like you're doing GREAT...and I am SO, so thrilled for you!!! Awesome stuff!!!

Xtreme English said...

congratulations, abbie! what a joy to read about your success so soon after turn-on...and know that your CI will keep on giving you gifts. mine continually amazes me. you commented on my scotland-dwelling daughter's blog (lazy gardener), and she sent me a link to your blog. i'm amazed at the long list of your CI friends' blogs. check out ronniecat in
she, too, writes a very cool blog!!

m.e., blogging as xtremeenglish

deafcone said...

Hi Abbie,

Glad things are getting better abd better for you. You mentioned trying out T-mic and T-Coil. What's the difference? I used to wear hearing aids and just switched to Mic mode to hear on phone but wasn't sure if that is the same as t-mic in an implant or not. Do you need a wire hookup with one or the other for the implant?

jim cone

Abbie said...

Deafcone dear,

T-Coil is that thing on our hearing aid and CI that we can switch to that cuts out the background noise and generally helps out with hearing on the phone.

T-Mic is an earhook with a microphone that is available with AB's device. It is located right where the ear canal is and it picks up sound pretty well because they say it is in a natural place to pick up sounds. I'm using this when I talk on the phone AND I can talk on the phone just like a everyone else, I don't have to aim it halfway up my head :)

Have you digged yourself out yet? :)

Jeff said...

On the subject of T-Coil (Telecoil), they function by means of electomagnetic induction. The changing magnetic field of the telephone's speaker coil induces a current in a small coil in the hearing aid (or CI processor). Personally, I've never liked using them on hearing aids and probably won't bother with my CI.

Abbie, I'm REALLY glad you are posting technical details regarding your mappings -- keep them coming! My audie is not completely expert with AB mappings so at some point I'm going to need to get more invovled. And that's great that someone from AB was there this time and helped out. Sounds like it was another improvement. Yeah!

deafcone said...

Hi Abbie,
Yes, I got us dug out. Got my snowblower going finally but haven't had to use it yet as all the snow removal has been done. My activation date is almost a month after the surgury. I go two days in a row. then one week later the a couple weeks twice. after april it spreads out farther. we'll see how it goes.


Sam said...

It looks like you are way ahead of me and that is so absolutely awesome! I am going for a mapping next week so I will mention how you got rid of your twitching to see if they can work the mojo for me. Happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

The thing about going bilateral is that if there is a biological cure eventually, neither of your cochleas may be able to take advantage of it.

Abbie said...

That might be a logical assumption but the scientific community just simply does not know enough about stem cells to draw a conclusion such as the one you just made. If you have more information then I do about it I would love to read it but I am lucky that I am not holding my breath waiting for one of these cures to drop in my lap. At the moment, I am more concerned with what or should I say what I want to hear at this moment.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't drawing conclusions (note the word "may"). I was simply stating my concern with going bilateral.

Kim said...

Whoa--This technical stuff is way over my head-- but I'm so happy for you and how well you're doing. You can talk to friends in the car while you're driving????

Thanks for blogging in such great detail.

SHANNA said...

hi abbie- you do not know me, but my 7 year old son has advanced bionics as well. i found your activation very interesting. congratulations and good luck with everything!!

Anonymous said...

It's great to see that you are doing well! I had my 4th activation a while ago and just recently started to talking to strangers on my new cell phone =)

Take care!
Kal - from alldeaf