CI-activation log no. 7 – day 12 – first re-mapping and feeling of first real breakthrough

Wow, has it really only been 12 days since I walked out from the hospital fitted with a new bionic ear? It feels like a much longer time ago, and so much has happened! Both in my inner self and with the CI-hearing!

small-yard-water-fountain I hear trickling and splashing water from fountains very good, and I have noticed a significant “sound shadow” if I turn the non-CI-ear towards the sound source. In that “Sound-shadow” the sound disappears almost completely.

bird_twitter_full Yesterday I heard a bird twitter for the first time! (I probably have a recollection of that sound from early childhood, because I had strong suspicions what that super clearly defined sound was 🙂 it couldn’t be anything else!) I asked my girlfriend, and the next time the twitter came, I gave her a signal, and she nodded with a big smile 🙂 It was birds twitter from outside all right! That was a wonderful CI-moment! Now I look even more forward to go to Sweden again next week and just discover more of mother nature’s sounds! (and listen to my old 80’s-vinyl!!! My son is going to be SOOO annoyed by his fathers thirst for his old music!)

But, HEY! I’m getting ahead of myself here! Before that beautiful CI-moment, I was so lucky to be able to get a quick new mapping-session at the hospital. Kudos to the CI-team for being so flexible and giving me a new session with only 4 days’ notice! (usual takes 14 days) This time I got a sound-fitting from a new guy (my regular was sick), and he tested my threshold for each of the 16-electrodes (I think it was). I came to that session with two clear goals: increase sound level overall, and to get a better feeling of that much missed bass.

The missing bass has been really noticeable when I listen to my favorite Mötley Crüe songs: “Shout at the Devil”, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, “Kickstart my heart”, “Same Ol’ Situation” and “Smoking in boys room” (I’m THIS close to be able to grasp the harmonica-part in the “Smoking in boys room”!). I retrieved my car’s subwoofer from almost three years of storage, and has been experimenting with the sound settings both on the car’s stereo and on my CI and in combo with my hearing aid. Hearing aid is not used for music, the recruitment-problem is just too much; sure, the bass is wonderful on that ear, but everything else is just muffled, distorted and just… LOST  😦

Speakers-738120 The subwoofer taught me a valuable lesson: I can “hear” the bass through my body. My hearing aid-ear (with the hearing aid turned off, and earpiece blocking the natural airway into the ear canal and the ear drum) actually used the bass-vibrations I got from the subwoofer and blend it in with the sounds I got from the CI. I suspect my whole body “hears” those thumps and “phat” beats. It’s also the issue of bone transferred vibrations to take into considerations :-)  If the sound pressure is big enough (i.e. enough dB), I guess the vibrations get strong enough to be transferred into the cochlea by other means than through the ear-canal…

Also I have been playing with the iConnect, and that contributed to my understanding of the phenomenon regarding the sensations in the bass-frequencies. The bass was totally missing when listening to the same songs from my mobile (Nokia N82 with jack-plug, very useful :-)  ). When the sound input to my brain are 100% digital, it’s brutally truthful too… No other aids like air vibrations, or sound residue from the remaining deaf ear. Or unconscious lip-reading, with built-in context guessing plus sentence construction for that matter.

The songs I listed above, are so well known to me, after listening to them a million times in my youth and throughout the years. They still give me a kick, even if only hearing 20% of it 🙂 (or are just beginning to) I have found them extremely useful for training and identifying which sounds I get and which sounds I don’t get. Vocals have improved, and high pitch has improved. The missing part was the bass…

I threw the 16-electrodes-program out. Bye, bye. It doesn’t sound good at all, already, so I have absolutely no need for it, except maybe for later when I want to assess my 16-electrode hearing again… But that’s not for another 6 months or maybe even a year. (if ever)

Program 1 is my primary program, and this time we raised the bass and the mid-level frequencies as a result of the single-electrodes-test. The high pitch (is this the right phrase?) was left as is, since I get those sounds really well. After that we raised the overall levels quite a bit, I imagine (will get the documentation later).

Program 2 now has increased bass-levels. I have strong suspicion I will use that a lot with my mp3-playing mobile phone…

Program 3 has increased levels for high pitch sounds. This will be used for training purposes (increase my ability to take in as much high pitch sounds as possible, since this part is what really makes my head tired, and it’s the sounds I have lost in the last 10 years.)

OK, that was the re-mapping session. Now for the real results:

Music is beginning to sound real again! I could detect (through the iConnect), some of Tommy Lee’s beats now. I still miss Nikki Sixx’ bass, clearly defined, but hey, it’s only been 12 days! I’m not complaining, but I know where I want to go and what I want to get. Even Mick Mars’ guitar is starting to emerge from the sound wall!
Best part of all; I’m getting a feel of harmonies in the music again! Sounds and instruments working together where the end result is far greater than the actual sum of the combined instruments…

I am now able to understand, with the aid of lip-reading, sentences spoken by my girlfriend! Haven’t tried it really hard today, been too much else going on, some work that needed getting done, cranky kid in the house, listening to birds twitter and all 🙂

motley_crue_logoIn all fairness to Mötley Crüe; it is a coincidence that I happened to have their music on both my mobile phone and on mp3 in my car. It’s simple, energetic music and with Vince Neil’s rather boyish voice that breaks through the sound wall from the instruments is perfect for me to train my bionic hearing on. Will keep working with Mötley Crüe for listening training until I get sick of the songs. They have been, and will always be a big part of my musical life.

Aaahhh, I look so much forward to revisit music again! It’s certainly coming alive! Right now it feels like my brains’ got some rusty, creaking parts that only needs greasing! Good thing I like mayonnaise, diary butter and the fat greasy parts off the chicken, fish, pork/lamb chops or steak:-)

I’m definitely on the right track! And perhaps now I can concentrate more on training for the verbal understanding to increase.

This is the point where I for sure can say that my decision to go for CI was a good one! All the pain, all the obstacles, all the waiting, all the crying, all the frustration, all the anger, all the angst, all the hardships has been worth it. I did the right thing!

Today was a good day 🙂

Video that says a lot about my situation too

This video says a lot! I find my own situation identical to these guys’. Everything they say, even at the activation is something I certainly can identify with!

The shhh sound is amazing 🙂

Amazing video! Made by Rebecca Haimowitz.


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CI-activation log no. 6 – day 8 – new test and weird sensations

Time for my first self-assessment test one week after the initial activation and only 5 days after completing the primary adjustments. The change is remarkable when I think about it…
No sounds made sense that first day, and they made just as little sense on day 4, but then the brain kicked into gear and started sorting out the sounds. A very interesting journey has begun, and I’m noticing daily changes. More on that later.

I have noticed some strange sensations when I turn off my CI. It’s like ghost-sounds, and they are a mixture of different sounds. The most noticeable one sounds like howling wind, but very steady in strength and tone. The other ghost-sound is more subtle but more disturbing, since it varies. Remember the old radios with Medium Wave frequency band? It was possible to pick up signals from boats or whatever from quite far away (I’m not a radio-expert :-)   ). And while turning the frequency tuner you would get this sound like it was jumping over a lot of frequencies really fast, picking up all sorts of chatter, Morse code and static noise. This second ghost noise sounds exactly like that! With that sound in my head I feel very electronic!

It’s so clear to me that I really wonder whether I’ve become a human antenna or not! Does anybody know what frequency the HIRes90K-implant operate on, and how weak signals it is capable of picking up? Could it possibly be that I hear radio-signals, or is it just my brain’s synapses that are creating new information highways and I’m picking up on the sounds from the road work?

Today I ran the test with the same settings on all equipment as on the previous test. The self test conducted on 09.09.09 has the exact same programming on my AB-processor as on today’s test.

What do I read from the test? Well, what really stands out is that the very low frequencies from 30 to 125 Hz have dropped. Also the mid-range frequency has dropped a little.

What does that mean? Well, I don’t need so much of the lowest frequencies, and also we found out during my initial sound-adjustment that these frequencies were interfering with other frequencies because they became distorted. And the distorted sounds were nauseating and louder than everything else…

That these frequencies are being ignored or less easily detected is a good thing, my brain is adjusting. And as for the medium frequency range between 375 and 1 KHz, that is where most of the human voice is, and what I need the most; those being reduced is also a good thing, because at a later mapping (or frequency adjustment) we can enhance just those frequencies.

During the initial CI-mapping my audio physicist recommended that I reduce both the bass and the high pitch, in order to enable my brain to be able to focus harder on the medium-range. (hope I remember everything correctly here!) +3 is a very small difference, it is the smallest possible difference in the sound-test that i use. 

I have two mysteries: the 125 Hz and the 2 kHz frequencies.

Date of test: 16.09.2009

(The minus indicates a weaker sound, meaning that the bigger the minus, the better my ability to hear that frequency is. The difference is indicated likewise, where the numbers in red plus is me needing a stronger sound in order to detect it. Essentially: the more minus the better result, and plus is worse.)

Program 1. (weaker low pitch, weaker high pitch, 120)

Freq. 30 Hz 45 Hz 60 Hz 90Hz 125 Hz 187 Hz 250 Hz 375 Hz 500 Hz 750 Hz 1 kHz 1,5kHz 2 kHz 3 kHz 4 kHz 6 kHz 8 kHz 12kHz 16kHz
16.09.09 -27 -33 -30 -27 -6 -60 -75 -78 -81 -87 -84 -78 -84 -87 -84 -78 -72 -27 -30
Change +3 +6 +9 +9 +18 0 -6 +3 +6 +3 +3 0 -12 0 0 0 0 0 0
09.09.09 -30 -39 -39 -36 -24 -60 -69 -81 -87 -90 -87 -78 -72 -87 -84 -78 -72 -27 -30

Program 2. (Same as program 1, 16 electrodes)

Freq. 30 Hz 45 Hz 60 Hz 90Hz 125 Hz 187 Hz 250 Hz 375 Hz 500 Hz 750 Hz 1 kHz 1,5kHz 2 kHz 3 kHz 4 kHz 6 kHz 8 kHz 12kHz 16kHz
16.09.09 0 0 0 -6 -6 -54 -69 -72 -87 -87 -84 -81 -75 -75 -78 -66 -69 -27 -27
Change * 0 0 0 0 0 +3 0 -3 +12 +12 +12 +21 +15 +15 +15 +15 +15 0 0
08.09.09 0 0 0 -6 -6 -51 -69 -75 -75 -75 -72 -60 -60 -60 -63 -51 -54 -27 -27

Program 3. (Flat profile, 120)

Freq. 30 Hz 45 Hz 60 Hz 90Hz 125 Hz 187 Hz 250 Hz 375 Hz 500 Hz 750 Hz 1 kHz 1,5kHz 2 kHz 3 kHz 4 kHz 6 kHz 8 kHz 12kHz 16kHz
16.09.09 0 0 0 0 -6 -51 -63 -75 -84 -87 -81 -78 -69 -87 -81 -72 -60 -27 -27
Dif. pr. 1 +27 +33 +30 +27 0 +9 +12 +3 +3 0 +3 0 +15 0 +3 +6 +12 0 +3

* One have to take into consideration the adjustments that has been made to the programming of my AB CI. Details on that will be posted in a summary if need be at a later time. Primarily the adjustments has been mostly on increasing the amount of power sent to the electrodes, i.e. turning the sound volume up.

CI-activation log no. 5 – first week – Impressions and thoughts

I should be resting, but have so much to share, I need to unload a little 🙂

First of all, thanks to everyone who leaves comments and messages! The comments are all read and appreciated! It’s just that it takes a little effort to answer then, and right now I’m in survival mode… Nothing but the most essential gets my time these days. I will get back to your comments with intelligent responses when my brain has become a little more accustomed to the new world of sounds 😉

One comment made me think; it’s impossible for someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves to understand exactly what this process of learning to hear again through the CI does to me…

I want to try and explain this to all those of you who has normal hearing:

You might have heard about the use of sound in military/international intelligence agencies’ torture-techniques in order to “soften” human beings before interrogations or in situations where someone has occupied a building etc. The sound is in those instances used to reach certain goals: to demotivate, confuse/disorient and cause fatigue via sleep deprivation, in order to reach some psychological effects like depression and anger (in order to make the “subject” loose control of him or herself). Like many things military, the euphemism they use to describe musical torture is “acoustic bombardment”.

Acoustic bombardment has reportedly been used in such a way that the detainee has been chained to the floor of a container and the music /sounds has been turned on. Imagine the acoustic and the psychological effects of said situation on that detainee…

OK, now try to imagine having to live with sounds that are just as loud, and just as strange as Metallica is to someone who has never heard Metallica before. You are the only one who can hear these sounds, and there is no way for others around you to “listen in on it”. There was no way out of that container for me, until I got the CI surgery. And the process I’m in now is in some ways even worse than the hearing I had before the surgery. Now everybody’s voice is unintelligible and everything I hear is just as hard to understand. Imagine that the sounds you hear today all of a sudden has been kind of inverted like a photographic negative! Everything that sounded like normal speech, deep tones and dark voices is now garbled; thin, light and squeaks, really high pitch.

It’s like getting slapped really hard in my face every time I hear a voice. Especially if the volume is a little loud, I cringe inside. It’s downright unpleasant and painful, on the verge of making me nauseous and feeling like I’m going to faint…

The container doesn’t only play loud, it plays so loud that it distorts the signals to my brain. I can hear every little sound, like the wall clock ticking 3 – 4 meters away from me, the water dripping, my own breath and so on. At the same time I hear sounds that my brain don’t understand yet, like this metal-cutting saw-blade, sounds like wind howling around a corner of a house in a storm, crackling of a bad radio.

In other words:


–noun, plural -nies.

1. harsh discordance of sound; dissonance: a cacophony of hoots, cackles, and wails.
2. a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds: the cacophony produced by city traffic at midday.
3. Music. frequent use of discords of a harshness and relationship difficult to understand.

If you can imagine this, (it’s literally impossible, but I hope you get an idea!) and then try to imagine that you’re supposed to be “normal” around other people. Smile and be happy!!
Respond rationally to all rational and irrational emotions to people around you…

I think that what I’m going through is the hardest thing I ever did, and I’m full of awe for the people who has done this before me and I do not find it strange that it is overwhelming for many individuals who reportedly “give” up and resign (i.e. stop training and trying to make more use of the sounds provided by the implant). If you don’t have a lot of knowledge, motivation and/or energy, I can very well imagine that the road back to the world of the hearing is too rough and long!
(In the aspect, I’d like to point out that it is essential that CI-operated and newly activated individuals get a thorough package of follow up by professionals in order to learn to hear and understand speech again!)

Psychologically this is a challenge, of course, but I know this will improve over time, so I just have to make do with what I have right here and now! And I know that people close to me also have a harder time being around me, and for that; I wish to say thank you for your patience and good will towards me! (I might need even more of it (patience and goodwill), and for that too; thank you from the bottom of my heart!)

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CI-activation log no. 4 – day 5 – Initial shakedown

Wow, what a week! I’m very tired now, but need to put some impressions onto writing…

Have already had many CI-moments, here are the ones I remember now:

  • the dogs at my mom; when they walk on the hardwood floor they give off a ticking sound for every step. I can detect them moving with sound only!
  • I can detect the chorus in rock songs that I know well; like “Girls, girls, girls” by Mötley Crüe (I also hear the motorcycle revving in the beginning!)
  • I detect my son singing in the car while the window is open
  • Jingling of my key-chain
  • I hear mobile phones ringing in TV-shows (never heard that before, ever!)
  • I could detect my sons heavy breathing in the car (he had just been running, racing me to see how far he can get from the garage before I catch up with him, I have to wait for the gate to open first)
  • I detect the difference between –s and –sh

I10-85-cochlea2 All sounds are very thin, high pitchy. That is due to the fact that my hearing residue before the operation all were located in the innermost curves of my cochlea. (from 1500 Hz to 200 Hz in the diagram on the left) That’s where the bass is. The entire frequency range that my hearing aids could amplify, and the vibrations the hair cells were able to pick up, were dealt with by the hair cells in that that innermost curve. (Because of the limited number of remaining hair cells in the outermost areas, I experienced recruitment.)
Now, all those frequencies go to the previously almost dead outer areas of my cochlea (20 000 Hz to 1500 Hz). Which used to be the medium and high pitch range of sound vibrations were picked up by hair cells. Because of this radical relocation of sound information in my cochlea, my brain has to rewire all the frequencies through neurons forming new permanent pathways to the old brain-recipients cells who did the actual “hearing”. Until that rewiring has completed, it will continue to sound high pitched and heliumish.

I wonder if the brain would be able to do the job by itself without the aid of any other senses? Now I’m telling my brain what sounds should go in there when I drive the car, or listen to that rock music, or hear my sons voice. Because I SEE the sounds. But what if I did not see anything, just had to figure out the sounds? I’m thinking my brain probably works both ways, some sounds it’s rewiring by itself, some are helped by my thoughts… Anyone with insight into how this process might work?

As I stated in the beginning, I’m really tired! Today I had a 4 – 5 hour period where I did nothing active… (very unusual for me) Last night my son snuck into my bed behind my back without me noticing it before it was too late (he had fallen asleep). That’s never happened before. Usually I have a very sharp sense of sight, detecting any movement very fast.

All kids are really great about my CI. They fancy the magnet and think it’s way cool 🙂

The first 3 days of my CI-life, I suspect I was high on adrenaline. Everything seemed more crisp and sharp. Now I’m almost like I was before I got activated. Dead tired, numb in my bran (just not as “muddy”) and with some psychological reactions, especially very sensitive to any stress, which gives me this tremendous tinnitus again, only now it’s in both ears, and it’s has changed quality in my implanted ear… more low frequency than before, or it’s just my brain who has already started rewiring? Where does the tinnitus come from? Auditory hair cells in cochlea who are trapped in an eternal death scream, or is it from my brain which screams for those frequencies, and when it gets nothing it creates it by it’s own?

I have been avoiding the issue of tinnitus, partly because it’s has been my strategy, to ignore it away and to death, and that has worked quite well… If the tinnitus thing continues now after the CI-implant, I will have to read up on the issue… And I’m afraid the tinnitus on my left ear will take over the job since my right ear now gets plentiful of audio information….

I listen to TV-shows and movies with both the CI and the hearing aid most of the time, sometimes I turn off my hearing aid for a while. While I drive the car I only use CI, since I get too much recruitment from the hearing aid ear. While I’m walking around in shops, ore doing daily chores, I use only CI.

I need the hearing aid to communicate to everybody.

CI-activation log no. 3 – day 3 – 2nd auditory self assessment

Date of test: 09.09.2009 (1,5 and 6 kHz is the frequencies of my tinnitus, hard to hear the test-tone)

I’m only using wire connection now, in order to get the exact same test environments every time.

Since yesterday I have discovered new sounds: the wall clock (electronic with analog display), the phone ringing, keys jingling and the sound of the metal “mats” that are in front of doors in order to get rid of dirt underneath peoples shoes upon entering a building… The sound of women’s high heels are now so recognizable, I don’t even have to turn around to see what it is. I just steer to the wall and slow down to see if I was right :-) 

Bear in mind, that the sounds I’m talking about here isn’t the sounds I’m used to hearing, it’s totally different, but I have started to recognize the sound signatures. Progress!

Yesterday I talked to an audio pedagogue at the hospital, and she suggested several training methods. Will get back to them as I get to them myself. She also recommended something called AudioTrain developed by a Geoff Plant. It’s downloadable, and is supposed to be very good. It’s translated to several languages, among other in Norwegian, which I have found here (scroll down, almost at the bottom).

Today I’m thinking and acknowledging for myself that this CI-process is really going to take time. My faint hopes for something miraculous has been forgotten. Now it’s hard  work ahead of me. I don’t mind that :-)  Probably up to one year or perhaps even more. It’s an ambivalent thing; I notice progress, and I am thrilled, at the same time I’m impatient and can’t wait for that day that I can use the implant for conversations, even if it sounds strange…

One more thing: Before the implant, I was really tired from processing sounds all day. Now, with the implant, I’m also tired from trying to process sounds all day (I’m “cheating” a great deal by using lip reading and also my other hearing aid), but my brain feels different tired somehow. It’s as if my brain was muddy before the activation, and now it feels clearer or sharper…

I also feel I owe my readers a small apology; sorry for not putting much effort into the visual context on my blog posts these days, but it so important for me to get everything down as I go, and I really am stretched thin in terms of both time and strength. So you only get the hard boring numbers and biggest happenings and best CI-moments 🙂

Today we only cranked up the sound, no adjustments to the frequencies. That is probably for the noon session today…

Program 1. (stronger low pitch, weaker high pitch, 120)

Freq. 30 Hz 45 Hz 60 Hz 90Hz 125 Hz 187 Hz 250 Hz 375 Hz 500 Hz 750 Hz 1 kHz 1,5kHz 2 kHz 3 kHz 4 kHz 6 kHz 8 kHz 12kHz 16kHz
09.09.09 -30 -39 -39 -36 -24 -60 -69 -81 -87 -90 -87 -78 -72 -87 -84 -78 -72 -27 -30
07.08.09 -27 -24 -30 -21 -15 -57 -66 -75 -84 -75 -78 -63 -54 -78 -72 -72 -69 -27 -27
08.09.09 -21 -30 -27 -24 -18 -60 -69 -75 -81 -75 -72 -60 -57 -78 -75 -63 -63 -27 -27

Program 2. (Flat profile, 16 electrodes)

Freq. 30 Hz 45 Hz 60 Hz 90Hz 125 Hz 187 Hz 250 Hz 375 Hz 500 Hz 750 Hz 1 kHz 1,5kHz 2 kHz 3 kHz 4 kHz 6 kHz 8 kHz 12kHz 16kHz
08.09.09 0 0 0 -6 -6 -51 -69 -75 -75 -75 -72 -60 -60 -60 -63 -51 -54 -27 -27

Program 3. (Flat profile, 120)

Freq. 30 Hz 45 Hz 60 Hz 90Hz 125 Hz 187 Hz 250 Hz 375 Hz 500 Hz 750 Hz 1 kHz 1,5kHz 2 kHz 3 kHz 4 kHz 6 kHz 8 kHz 12kHz 16kHz
dB -6 -6 -6 -6 -12 -27 -21 -36 -39 -42 -45 -30 -27 -39 -54 -36 -42 -9 -9
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CI-activation log no. 2 – day 1 and 2 – 1st auditory self assessment

These values that I test on myself are values based on this resource:
The scores are from the chart on that page.

The sound-level on my laptop HP HDX18 will be set to the value of 74 every time I do this test. My CI’s volume wheel is set to exact the middle position (turning all the way down reduces sound volume by 20% and turning up increases 50%!). Then I have the same test-settings every time. “Wire” means that I use a direct connection between the computers jack-plug-outlet and my Advanced Bionics processor. No sound pollution possible.

Every level of registration is a notion of sound. That means that I do not necessarily detect the difference in tone/frequency. Green is where I hear the sound (yet so far all the sounds sound mostly the same, i.e.. a very thin squeaking tone or beeep), red is only a short beep, blip, bip or ding.

( I can hear  violin of my own breath, broken glass of paper being crumbled and a ding every time one of my fingers hit a key on the keyboard!)

If anyone know of more sound-test or sound-generating resources on the internet, I’d be grateful for any tips!

Date of test: 07.09.2009 (1,5 and 6 kHz is the frequencies of my tinnitus, hard to hear the test-tone)

Program 1. (stronger low pitch, weaker high pitch, 120)

Freq. 30 Hz 45 Hz 60 Hz 90Hz 125 Hz 187 Hz 250 Hz 375 Hz 500 Hz 750 Hz 1 kHz 1,5kHz 2 kHz 3 kHz 4 kHz 6 kHz 8 kHz 12kHz 16kHz
No wire -9 -6 -9 -9 -18 30 -27 -42 -45 -51 -48 -27 -48 -48 -45 -27 -42 -6 -3
Wire -27 -24 -30 -21 -15 -57 -66 -75 -84 -75 -78 -63 -54 -78 -72 -72 -69 -27 -27
08.09.09 -21 -30 -27 -24 -18 -60 -69 -75 -81 -75 -72 -60 -57 -78 -75 -63 -63 -27 -27

Program 2. (Flat profile, 16 electrodes)

Freq. 30 Hz 45 Hz 60 Hz 90Hz 125 Hz 187 Hz 250 Hz 375 Hz 500 Hz 750 Hz 1 kHz 1,5kHz 2 kHz 3 kHz 4 kHz 6 kHz 8 kHz 12kHz 16kHz
No wire -6 -3 -6 -6 -18 -27 -21 -33 -42 -42 -42 -30 -36 -36 -39 -36 -42 -6 -6
Wire 0 0 0 -6 -6 -51 -69 -75 -75 -75 -72 -60 -60 -60 -63 -51 -54 -27 -27

Program 3. (Flat profile, 120)

Freq. 30 Hz 45 Hz 60 Hz 90Hz 125 Hz 187 Hz 250 Hz 375 Hz 500 Hz 750 Hz 1 kHz 1,5kHz 2 kHz 3 kHz 4 kHz 6 kHz 8 kHz 12kHz 16kHz
No wire -6 -6 -6 -6 -12 -27 -21 -36 -39 -42 -45 -30 -27 -39 -54 -36 -42 -9 -9

CI-activation log no. 1 – day1 1st impressions

OK, finally activated!I’m only one hour into my CI-era, and I sit at a hospital canteen-table next to my good girl, Mette. Her hand is lying warm on my thigh, relaxing me.

I start off very easy, all my sound settings on the Advanced Boinics computer programme “Soundwave” are set at the bottom. It seems I’m able to pick up auditory nerve signals very good. Meaning that I’m sensitive to them. That’s a good omen in my book.

I’m very conservative in terms of setting the sound too loud, many thanks to Abbie who wrote a post about overdoing that part meaning to be offensive. It ended up with her getting an overload.

But in the 15 minutes from my audiophysicist said that now was the time for my first venture out in the audioworld with my new cyborg ear, I discovered that I had maxed out the volume already. So before we went out the door, he made a second programme with an overall higher volume. I have now had that programme on and the volume wheel has been cranked to max. Looking forward to get back to adjusting in more details at noon today (45 minutes from now 🙂  ).

Will be exciting to see if all frequencies are just as good, or if some frequencies will need more/less amplification.

Sounds I get now is just morse-code. It literally sounds like morse code. My own voice is like bip-bip-beep-bip-beep-beep.
Sounds I have received as morse code so far are voices. My own voice, Mettes voice, and the audio physicists voice, and faintly other peoples voices. Cars, trucks, trams and buses don’t give me any sound sensation through my auditory nerves. When I closed my eyes I could sense the sound of the powerful sit-on-top-drive-like-a-car lawn-mower 10 meters away through the air-vibrations hitting my body… No auditory response there.

I had my first-CI-moment: I detected the sound of my own shoes! It came through like this beep – – – beep – – – beep…..  I stomped my feet, and yes, there it was; beepp — beepp.

It’s a strange sensation, it’s almost like a submarine sonar giving off it’s ping sound: PING! ——  (and the weaker echo comes back: bip). Feel like I hear what’s NOT there instead of hearing the actual sound… I know intellectually that it’s my brain trying to make sense of the input, but I have a need to express these sensation in words, I want to remember them and share them…

I found other CI-users  explanations and variations in sound sensations very interesting. And because I read them, I have been very well prepared today. I’m not afraid, I’m just curious on how my adventure will turn out to be, and I enjoy every new discovery, such as the beep-beep of the chairs being moved here in the canteen. I had morsecode telling me that some sound was being emitted, and I looked up at the guys at the next table  and they were laughing loud.

Yes, my CI is already doing me a service. It can tell me that there are sounds out there.

The tinnitus is roaring constantly, but the morse-code is louder.

I’m tired already, every bip-beep makes me feel slightly nauseous, on the verge of making me dizzy. Think I’m doing pretty well so far. Beeps come in from all sorts of sources, and I detect the beeps and bips.

Time to give myself a little break.

Goodbye old life – Hello new life! (?)

Wow… I’m still here!

neuronsMore than 4 long years after the neurons (picture on the left) in my brain formed the thought of getting a Cochlear Implant for the first time, I’m finally here. At the doorstep of a new reality. A new perception of the world of sounds promising improved social interaction and perhaps even music.

Back in 2005 my son had his first day at school, Microsoft’s Windows Vista was still to be officially launched, Pope John Paul II had just died and Pope Benedict XVI became his successor, the superjumbo Airbus A380 had it’s maiden flight from Toulouse, the Kuwaiti women were granted the right to vote (on my birthday), Lance Armstrong wins his 7th (and so far the last) Tour de France and the hurricane Katrina wreaks havoc in the US city of New Orleans and surrounding areas.

Now, in 2009, my son is in 4th grade (!), has a new set of front teeth and has grown almost 50 cm, Windows 7 is just around the corner, Barack Obama is the new US President, Lance Armstrong made a comeback to Tour de France and the world is desperately trying to shake off the effects of the worst global financial recession since 1930.

This time of waiting for CI has been hard and exhausting. I want to direct a very criticizing finger at Norwegian health authorities (forget about party-lines, this goes for all politicians and all policymakers!):

norsk_flagg_stang It is de-motivating, devastating and beyond understanding to have to wait 4 years for a life-improving sense enhancing procedure such as the Cochlear Implant! It is counter effective, both in terms of pure financials for the society and in human capital. Instead of returning quickly to a productive life and continuing as a healthy member of the taxpayers force, individuals such as myself are forced into years of life suspending professional and personal social life hibernation. It is such a place where the personal price is high, and the society’s costs are growing into grotesque proportions!

I have a 3 point petition:

1. Sense improving technology such as the Cochlear Implants is the future, embrace it! Build and strengthen national CI competence right now!

2. Stop being afraid it costs too much! In the end it costs much more to stall, let alone not doing it! It’s plain common sense! It is a CHEAP investment into human capital! Build for the future!

3. Grant all who might benefit from it, bilateral CI! In return I can promise you happier and much more productive deaf citizens of Norway!

I can’t say that the 4 years that has passed since my brain created the first thoughts about putting a Cochlear Implant into my head has been boring, far from it. They have been eventful!

research-sanity-1 Related to my condition; I went through 2 years of psychological therapy, countless visits at the hospital asking about when I could get the operation done (nagging), I said goodbye to my beloved music, I went through many life changing decisions, all in order to survive and maintain a life in order to be able to father my son the best I could and to remain sane, healthy and alive.

Yes, it’s been the fight of my lifetime so far! I had many small and big defeats, such as the day I admitted to myself that I was no longer fit for the A4 working life, or when I had to accept that I had to wait 4 years for that life-changing all-important cochlear implant…

But it’s a lot nicer to count my victories 🙂 I remained on my feet, I did not succumb to self-pity, I have been a somewhat decent father to my beloved son, I actively worked my brain from a medium depression state into a better functioning state with a more realistic view of myself, the world around me and it’s expectations from me. I made my life better, in spite of the borderline progressive deafness and it’s challenges. I lived my life to the maximum of my capabilities. I started my own company (in order for me to be able to work as much as I could/can). I got closer to my family and I found a very promising life-partner! I did not waste my time :-)  Sometimes challenges bring out the best in you.

At last, but not least; this blog has been my salvation, brainchild, hope and joy. I started ci4me2007 in the last weeks of 2006. I had such high hopes for it to become the year that I would finally get my CI. Now, 157 (counting this one) posts later, with 45.000 accumulated views (that means 45.000 opened pages), it’s almost nostalgic to look back. I wonder what will become of this blog now.

doorsA new chapter in my life begins the day after tomorrow. I owe the ones that are next in line for CI, wherever they might be, to be able to access my experiences both good and bad, just as I have been able to read about Michael Chorost (read his book!), Jennifer, Abbie, Sam, Jeff, and many, many others, and more recently; Kate, Movale, CIborg.

It’s time to walk through that door of perception, and shape my new world, and my life along with it. Wish me luck!

See you on the other side! 😀