Now Quantified…THANK…YOU…LORD!!

It has been too long since we last posted an update…  This one goes back to September 1st, the day I returned for my first visit to the Mayo since I was activated / turned on.

All along, Karin and I were wondering when this would “hit” me/us; when the reality would sink in that my hearing is as good as it is now.  The day I was activated as well as the subsequent 3 weeks were truly amazing.  But it seemed as if I was more in awe of each new sound I was hearing versus being in awe of the entire scope of what has been given back to me.  Well, Thursday, September 1st, it all “hit” me!

My appointment on September 1st with Amy my audiologist was solo this time.  I was simply going back for one of my regularly scheduled visits to have her make some more “tweaks” or adjust the map…no need to bring the family this time.  Amy made some adjustments during this visit which was really a fine tuning.  She would play a sequence of tones across 3 adjacent electrodes asking me if they all sounded the same in volume (even though they were different in pitch).  After finishing the tweaks, I continued to explain to her how things were going in the real world, she told me that I am doing very well for just 3 weeks on the implant.  We then went into the sound booth for a “quantitative analysis” of my hearing.

In the booth, she did the normal hearing tests (Pure tone or audiometric, CNC, AzBio, & HINT).  As she was proceeding through the tests, I had no idea how good or poor I was doing during the pure tone test because there is no way for me to decipher how loud or soft the tones are.  In fact at one point I was straining to hear and thought the results would be quite poor.  During the CNC (Consonant-Nucleus-Consonant) test, where you simply repeat a number of mono-syllabic words that have a CNC structure (e.g. bat, sock, put, mash, glass, etc.), it was clear that I was doing quite well.  I know that I missed a few consonants but was able to repeat most of them with confidence.  The HINT (Hearing In Noise) test involved repeating a statement with noise in the background (other voices, much as if you were at a restaurant).   The background noise starts softly and increases as one repeats the statements (e.g.  “Pickup some ice-cream,” “Meet for lunch at noon,” “The dog is outside,” etc.).  What they are testing for here is simply the dB level that the speaker has to be ABOVE the background noise at a point where one can repeat at least 50% of the words.  During this test it also seemed I was doing quite well in comparison to my last test (prior to the implant).  After the tests, Amy walked in looking at me with widened eyes and said that these tests show that I am doing amazingly well for 3 weeks out!  Well – here are the results (before and after the implant):

Pre-operative (6/14/11) Post-operative (9/1/11)
Pure tone (Avg dB level to hear the sound) 94.4 dB 20.7 dB
CNC (words in quiet) 8% correct 92% correct
AzBio (Sentences in quite) 20% correct 97% correct
HINT (Sentences in noise) +23.5 dB SNR at 50% correct +4.75 dB SNR at 50% correct

As you can see, the post operative results are astounding!  I was relieved and elated and nearly teared up as she walked me to the door.  Upon exiting the elevator my ear was greeted with the sound of a grand piano in the foyer area.  At that point the flood of tears rolled down my cheeks as I stood at the balcony listening to the concert pianist, hearing the piano amazingly well for the first time in years.  As I stood there listening to the pianist for about 15 minutes, it was all just hitting me how much of my hearing has been restored.  I could not stop the joyful tears of thanksgiving and praise to my Creator for His goodness to me, my family, and all of those that have to communicate with me on a regular basis.  He truly is a good God!  Thank YOU!

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