(This was supposed to be) Log no. 11 – day 61 (or so) – 3 month mark (, and AB is acquired by a European holding company; Sonova)

hazy Whew! I was right in the middle of the process of writing a new post when it hit me: I woke up Sunday morning, and had severe vertigo and nausea. I had trouble getting to the bathroom, and when I got there I was so sick I had to puke. It took a few hours before I realized that it could be connected to the implant, and that it would be a smart move to call the hospital. Once thought, action was made. They wanted me to come in for a checkup, and when I got there, I was immediately admitted for observation and tests.

Two days later I was released and relieved. I was much better. They found no infection, and the most probable diagnosis to my illness was “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo” (BPPV) which can affect anyone. I recently had a new mapping, and up until the attack of this BPPV I felt as if the sound had gotten worse (after an initial wow-sensation and a feeling of it being much better).

These following thoughts of mine are merely theories and are in no way substantiated by any data or real tangible facts: there is a possibility that there was a minor leak from where the implant enters the cochlea, and that the sudden drop in the pressure inside the cochlea/vestibular/canal labyrinth caused the symptoms I experienced. I have very much the same balance/vertigo feeling as I had in the weeks after the implantation. It’s not very bad, but it’s ever present, and it is only felt when I actually move my head. I sleep more, and have more troubles fixating my eyes to text or smaller objects. I do exercises every day.

OK, enough about that, now over to what was meant to be my original post:

Date of writing: 18.11.09

Got a new mapping yesterday, and that was an interesting experience, both during and especially after. Evidently AB has upgraded both the console software as well as the CI-software. Yeay, I have been software upgraded for the first time in my life!

sineThey had added enhanced ability to control the width of the sound waves produced by the Harmony processor. The software has two automatic settings, and as an extra feature, the possibility to manually manipulate these values. In short it is about how much energy that the sound waves deliver. The amount of energy is calculated by a simple (very simplified) formula: “Total amount of Energy” = “Sound wave width” x “Sound wave height”. This is sound physics ABC.

The shorter the wave width, the more waves per second is possible to expose the cochlea nerves to. That is a good thing, it means more information, and perhaps closer to mimicking mother nature? The downside of more narrow waves, is that the height has to increase similarly. If not increased height, the total amount of energy delivered is less, and it will be perceived as lower in sound strength (ie. lower volume). In order to compensate for that perceived low sound, one has to increase either the width or the height. If the height is increased too much, the sound may sound distorted or otherwise imperfect (I don’t have real data on this effect), and also the impedance will get too high, meaning that the battery will have to deliver more power to push trough the sound, thus making each recharge lasting for shorter time…

Anyway, we use one of the automatic settings, and went with the wave width that the software recommended based upon the historical data about my CI-development. Aside from that techie nerd stuff, we lowered the high-pitch sounds, increased the bass and middle area. I have no problems hearing the high pitch sounds, and I understand what they are, mostly. What I have trouble with is voices, sounding high-pitchy still, and bass-sounds in music. Program 1 is based on maximum level on all frequencies, program 2 lowered high pitch and program 3 is same as 1 without AGC (yes trying to figure out the impact of AGC again… [Edit: Had to trade program 3 back to the old program 1 after the incident in order to rule out the possibility of some weirdo implant-induced disturbance to the balance. Not so.]

phonetOn the way home, in my car, with the music blaring helped by my subwoofer, I listened to my “control”-music, and could actually pick up a few bass-guitar sequences for the first time! That was good 🙂 I have been missing that aspect of the music. Voices sound better, music sound better, and irritating sounds (mostly from high pitch sources) have subsided a little bit.  We did a little test to see if I could distinguish between two words that was impossible for me to distinguish prior to this mapping: (they are Norwegian, meaning “nun” and “many”, the important thing to have in mind here, is that both words have two syllables, and they are very similar in pronunciation, despite their very different meaning) nonne [‘nɔnə] and mange [‘mɑŋə]. I caught the right words many times enough to say that this mapping fixed the problems for me distinguishing between [n] and [ŋ]. Also the difference between wovels like ɔ and ɑ, has been really hard to pick up. Don’t know yet how of if that has improved. (have a newly throat operated 4 year old, so haven’t had the luxury of training properly the last week…)

I’m now leaving the post-CI-calendar and go back to the regular calendar, too much to keep track of, better to simplify things 🙂

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Sound, sound, sound

Sorry for not updating so often anymore, but life is happening, and I have other very life-normal important things to focus on, too 🙂

Sound is getting better and better in my CI. I need a new mapping, and ordered a session for it and got it fairly quickly. Unfortunately I didn’t receive word about it before it was too late. I mean, who depends on snail mail anymore??? I got the previous session organized via mail, but this last was purely physical, and that bummed me :-(  (I live a lot with my girlfriend, see :-)  )

So, that gave me a 14 days extra wait, which is rather frustrating since I’m on top sound and need to both increase levels and adjust them some. But I have used the “worst” program of them all, the one with the most high pitch-sound. That has drained me psychologically, I had a few mood swings etc, but got through it pretty good. I did that because I want to work on my CI-ears ability to absorb as much information as possible. And the high pitch sounds are the sounds that are the hardest to “re-map” in my brain… I still have pretty weird sound compared to hearing aid, but already I’m starting to forget about that… To me that means that normalization is in good progress!

Hearing aid has been taken off, and is now retired semi-permanent. Will probably use it now and then, so that my left ear doesn’t forget where the neurons for my auditory nerve signals are supposed to go…

I just applied for CI number two at Rikshospitalet. Crossing fingers about that, hoping for the best and fearing the worst.

Music is improving day by day in small steps. Last night I turned on some music for the first time with my CI. I haven’t heard this particular album in like 5 years or so, but it was recognizable and I even managed to pick up a few words from the lyrics here and there. I no longer have any doubts that the music will be good again, I’m pretty sure of it. It just depends on how much I work with it, how I program the CI and that I am patient enough.

On a personal level, I’m feeling that the drainage of earlier times hyperfocusing is becoming less straining. I still hyperfocus some times, but not nearly as much as I used to with hearing aids. I’m becoming more and more comfortable with my CI and trust the sounds that I perceive… The hard part now a days is that the sound itself is exhausting because it’s so overwhelmingly artificial, ie. high pitched.

But given time that will normalize even more, and my strain will ease up. Looking forward to that.