A year has gone and a new has started – it is therefore time to reflect upon the year that went and the year that we are facing. There is not much doubt that the year 2013 will be a year where the ability to hear will be in focus for me. I am going to receive a surgery that will make me deaf for a month after which I will have to follow an intensive rehabilitation process that will make me able to hear much more than I can today.
The year that went
When looking at the year 2012 it is without any doubt the process of deciding to get Cochlear Implant (CI) that is the most important thing I have focused on. It is a process that originally started 1½ year ago when I started to realize how bad my ability to hear had become. My considerations about CI started after having attended a camp for young people with hearing disabilities in August. But throughout the whole period from August 2012 where I started to think about CI and started writing this blog I have been thinking about CI every day.
Personally it has been an extremely exciting journey to investigate what CI is and what it could give me. But it has also been a tough process as there are so many different aspects to think about and relate to. The most difficult aspect to relate to is how CI actually sounds and what my outcome will be. There are as I mentioned in a previous post a long range of sound examples online that illustrate how a CI sounds – but they are not of much use when considering CI as it is a mechanical sound which cannot be perfectly simulated. It is also worth keeping in mind that because this sound is so different you have to go through a long rehabilitation process – when listening to this simulation you are not trained at listening in this way.
In some sense you could say that you are taking a leap of faith without any options to regret when choosing to receive CI – most people loose their residual hearing during the surgery and it is therefore not possible to go back to using hearing aids again. But on the contrary I could not imagine the doctors offering this surgery if they did believe that you will be able to hear better.
All these considerations and worries have of course been touch to relate to and I must honestly admit that the christmas of 2012 has been the toughest christmas I have experienced in relation to sound. In the period before christmas I have been very busy at work while I still had all the thoughts about my ability to hear and the result was that I was very low on energy during Christmas. The low energy levels and my extreme focus on what I could and couldn’t hear had the result I could not tolerate much sound during the holidays.
I have not experienced problems with not being able tolerate sound to that extent before. What I experienced was a feeling not being able to manage sound and a feeling of not wanting to wear my hearing aids in the morning (but I still did it). But this feeling of not being able to handle sound is a strange feeling because some times I wanted to have full volume while in other situations I felt that sounds were totally unbearable – For instance it could be very fantastic and relaxing to hear music at full volume but on the other hand I could feel like I wanted to run away screaming if someone just rattled with a plastic bag.
All my considerations about CI and my experiences of listening with my current hearing loss does that I feel as ready as humanly possible to get this surgery. I really want to be able to hear better and I am very tired of this feeling of not being able to tolerate sound. But wow – I also sit with a big joyful feeling about having made this blog – it has given me so much to put words on my thoughts and receiving feedback on the entire process from all of my circles – so I will keep writing in the new year!
The new year is as already mentioned centered around my ability to hear. I started the year with a conversation with an ENT and an audiologist on January 2nd. This was a follow up meeting after all the examinations which are now done. This means that I had to once again confirm which CI solution I wanted (1 vs. 2 implants and the choice of brand)
It also had to be clarified when I was willing to get my surgery and then we had to make some final decisions about the CI equipment that I will receive. I clearly expressed that I wanted the surgery to be as soon as possible as we were just postponing a very frustrating problem if we delayed the surgery.
In relation to the equipment I have as mentioned in some previous posts to get implants from the Brand named Advanced Bionics. There are 3 brands to choose from and you cannot change brand without getting a new surgery so this choice is a choice for life. The staff on the hospitals have to be impartial and it is therefore not possible to ask them which brand is best. It is therefore a question about choosing based on your own gut. On this last meeting before the surgery I became absolutely sure that I made the correct choice of brand.
Advanced Bionics have a new processor which will be released this spring. I have been offered to start with the current procesor and then swap to the new one once it get released. I have received a folder that describe the new processor that I will get and it is very clear to me that it has some pretty good specs that seems to be better than what I could from the competitors. I don’t want to describe the specifications of this processor compared to the ones that competitors offer – I just want to refer to the specifications that the manufacturer will present when announcing the new processor on their website. But in short I can safely mention that it will feature a lot of the functions currently available in top end hearing aids from Phonak (Phonak and Advanced Bionics is owned by the same company)
Apart from the 2 procesors that I will be using in the everyday life (1 for each ear) I will also receive a third processor which will be waterproof – that for instance means that will be able to hear while swimming in a pool – I really feel that this is a big upgrade – currently I don’t like to go to public swimming pools simply because it also means that I will not be able to hear what other people says – and that is a shame because I really enjoy water 🙂
EDIT: There have been a little confusion about whether or not I would receive the waterproof processor without having to pay 16.000,- danish crowns (approximately 2.150 euro or 2.800 USD) – it has however been clarified that I don’t have to pay for it – I am very happy about this 🙂
When will it be my turn?
After the meeting on January 2’nd the ENT wanted to inform the unit on the hospital that is in charge of these surgeries and should afterwards receive an appointment by letter. I haven’t received the letter yet so I am waiting impatiently to receive a date. I was however told that I should expect to get an date that will be within 1-2 months but with an option to be called in earlier in case they had a cancelled surgery. I am very much looking forwards to getting this date and getting started with the rest of my journey. In some way you could say that I am looking forwards to “being ill” as this means that I will have moved on and be done with all the frustrations about my current ability to hear.
But what I am looking most forward to is to get to the other side of the entire process so that I can be more relaxed in listening situations and hear much more. But I cannot really imagine what this will mean to me – but I would not be surprised if it could change aspects in my personality – just being able to participate more actively in conversations in social situations will be absolutely amazing 🙂
Happy new year for all of you – It is great that so many of you is reading this blog!