It has been a whirlwind in my head in the past 72 hours. Let me catch you up back from activation day on Friday. My mom, my brother, Keaghan, and I anxiously arrived at Maegan’s office (my audiologist) at around 10am. There was another audiologist from Cochlear named Sonya who helped with the set-up. With the Processor hooked up to my ear, we went through a hearing test where I would let the audiologists know whenever I hear a beeping sound. Then I went through another hearing test where I hear a set of four beeps and tell the audiologists which beep is louder than the other. After twenty minutes of testings, I turned on my regular hearing aid to listen to some last instructions from Sonya. Then we turned off my hearing aid for the big moment.
In the moment when it was turned on, my entire head went into shock. It felt like there was a mini wind chime in my head that rings at each bit of sound in the room. It was overwhelming and it was hurting my head. I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying. Without thinking, I started stressing out. All I could hear was chime after the chime, and I didn’t like it. After a couple minute of the audiologists talking to me, I began to be able to distinguish what they were saying. I had to think for a few seconds to understand what anyone was saying. Everything sounds so different. Even my own breathing sounds entirely different. It would sound like this high pitch whine as I breathe in and out. Sonya explained that this is a normal part of the process. My brain will get used to the chiming and it will go away eventually. I should eventually be able to be broken into this way of hearing a month from now. Sonya explained that the best way to adjust is to talk to as many people as possible. This is because people vocalize unique sound that music and TVs doesn’t project. When my brain takes in those unique sounds, it learns to understand the complex signals the electrodes gives off.
After having some time to absorb the new sounds, the audiologists went over some of the the new equipment I got with my Sound Processor. I have a remote that controls the volume and program of my Cochlear. I got a microphone, which is a must-have if you know me. I also got a phone clip to talk to people on phone and listen to music via Bluetooth. I even got a waterproof case for the Sound Processor so I could go swimming with it!
I’ve been taking it easy and avoiding places with a lot of noise. There were some aggravating moments that irritated me even in the calmest environments. For example, I went to the bank with Keaghan and struggled to process the drive-thru system sound and interface. I’ve taken the Processor off for a couple minutes here and there to take a break. I’m encouraged to wear it as much as possible in order to get used to it more quickly. Thankfully the audiologists said that I can wear my regular hearing aid in the other ear. I’ll turn off the hearing aid on occasion to exercise my brain with the Cochlear and become more dependent on it.
On a positive note, I am hearing some things that I haven’t before. I can now hear iPhone keyboard clicks whenever someone is texting in a quiet room. I can hear sounds coming from another room, like the dryer running, more clearly. I would hear random chiming and beeping sounds and I would have no idea where it came from. It’s all very new to me. I will definitely hear more and more as my brain adapts to it. Like I said before, I didn’t expect the Cochlear to make my life easier overnight.
My Cochlear sound processor!