Friday, July 18, 2008

Second Bilateral Mapping

I went to see the audiologist again today. I had a few things on a list for her:
- to make sure she knew about my blog here
- to give her the bottle of dark blue nail polish I bought to mark my new processor (she told me that traditionally, the right ear is coded red. So if I marked my new processor, for the right ear, with blue nail polish, I'd be messing with audiologists' brains. So I chose to mark my OLD processor, for my left ear, with the blue nail polish. And I won't be marking much else with it, so I gave it to her. I figured she'd get more use out of it!)
- to ask when I can color my hair again. She said four weeks after surgery. (My grey roots are going to be really wicked by then...)

Then we got down to business. I have gone from the initial program 1 up to program 2, which just had a bit more volume. That is good; it means my brain is adjusting to the stimulation and needing more.

The goal for the first mapping was just to get things going, get the brain stimulated by the electrode array, and give it a chance to get used to that. With this second mapping, we moved on to balancing the sound. We started with the lowest frequency electrode. Is it a comfortable volume? Compare it to the next electrode. Is the volume the same? And so on, through all 16 electrodes. The lower ones sounded pretty much the same volume, but when we got into the higher frequencies, I started needing more. That's where my nerve hasn't been stimulated much in the past few years. Intriguing how the brain gets itself back into old abilities!

Another cool thing was that, at the lower frequencies, I could tell some difference in pitch, or at least in tone. So that means I'm slowly moving past monotone. This is good.

After we went through all the electrodes, she switched the processor back on with all the electrodes. "How does this sound now?" "You sound more like yourself." She smiled broadly. "I was hoping you'd say something like that!"

She fiddled with some more things and had me compare program one and program two, like at the optometrist: which one is clearer? We went through several choices. I'm not sure what she was adjusting. She told me I didn't have to be able to say why one was better than the other, just whether it seemed clearer. That helped--I tend to be so analytical, I want to describe how it's different. So I could relax and just try to sense which was better and let go of why.

She told me one more choice: which is clearer? I chose, and she said, "Well, that's interesting." I had chosen the program from the first mapping instead of the one where we'd just gone through and balanced all the electrodes. Oh. Hm. We decided that we would override that opinion and give me the new balanced electrode program, because that is the direction we want to progress...and I didn't have a strong opinion which one was better than the other.

That is very different from last time, where I felt like I made progress by leaps and bounds each of the first several mapping appointments. It's not discouraging as such, because I can tell I am hearing better. This evening, I was talking with Joe and the battery died on the new processor. I told him to hang on while I changed the battery--then realized how much better I could understand his speech with the both processors than with just the old one. Perhaps that is a "bilateral wow" moment that I've been looking for. :) There will be more.

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Blogger Abbie said...

That is very interesting that you chose your first program... I couldn't wait to get out of my first program :) It was driving me nuts.

2:16 PM  

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