At about 3:30 PM yesterday, I received my new ear! I’ll have to post pictures later, so for now, you get the facts and then a synopsis of how the first day with my new ear has worked.
My audiologist connected up my new Cochlear Implant, accompanied by a whole briefcase of options (seriously), and proceeded to do the “mapping.” I learned that ALL 22 electrodes are inside the cochlea (a very good thing) and that all are functional. She proceeded to program each of the 22 electrodes – sending a tone to the specific electrode located in my cochlea. I would then respond when I first heard the sound (that marked the lower threshold) and then she continued to amplify the tone until I responded that it was loud but not uncomfortable. (marking the upper threshold) . After programming them – she then made a few adjustments that brought the tones together in a wave or continuum. Then she turned on the external microphone for me to hear external sounds for the first time through my new bionic ear!
The sound came upon me like a cacophony of twips, twerps, and various sounds that I can only describe as listening to C3-P0 and R2-D2 having a lively conversation! It was odd and soothing all at the same time. Even as I type this message, I hear small twips and twerps that mimic a less lively conversation between those two robots. It isn’t annoying but interesting. Over time, they tell me, the brain is able to start making sense of these sounds and correlate them to their specific source and it will no longer seem like my two droid friends conversing.
Then the people in the room (my audiologist, my parents, and my wife and children were all with me for this momentous occasion) started talking to me (not all at once). Their voices were very foreign to me and the ladies (especially the audiologist and Karin) sounded much like Minnie Mouse. My Mom and Dad’s voices actually sounded close to normal, sounding much like my Mom and Dad!
Right now (the next day – Tuesday) I am waiting to meet with my surgeon, Dr. Driscoll, for the post-operative check-up. I’ll update with more later as after that I have my 2nd mapping session with my audiologist, Amy.