Research Map Week 2

I thought I would start out by showing a picture I ran across a few days ago.  It is a picture of my children (twins) on their birthday in 2004.  I think it might have been the last time they were together on their birthday (they live 1,100 miles apart) and work and school make it difficult to celebrate together.  The picture sort of takes me back when I look at it, not only because they look so young but it was also the time in my life when I was desperately looking for a way to hear better.  It would be another year before I actually received my first implant.

IM000648

Research map update–again I ask that you please not contact Vanderbilt as yet about the study.  If you read my previous entries, you will see that they are not ready to accept a large group of people as yet.  As soon as I hear any word on opening it up to others I will post.  I certainly do not want to make more work for the people at Vandy and I feel like I would have to quit blogging about this if they were getting lots of inquiries again.  Thanks!!

I think I must be settling in with this map as I have not had as many aaaah moments the last few days.  It seemed like the first 5 days or so were reminiscent of post activation days where we seem to pay attention to/notice every sound.  One new discovery is that my bedroom door squeaks.

I tried my neck loop and iPod with just the research ear Tuesday.  I was at the gym and time goes much faster listening to a book.  Sound quality was great although a little high pitched.  I asked the audiologist at Vandy which electrodes were turned off and she said:  7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 19 and 20 (19 and 20 were already deactivated in my program prior to my Vanderbilt visit because they caused pain upon stimulation).  I have always suspected that the reason this ear hears more high pitches is because I have had those two lower pitch electrodes turned off almost since activation 6 years ago.  Maybe I am just trying to justify sound to myself.

I did an experiment this week as I was typing up a document.  I put the processor on my clinical map and typed away—single processor only.  After a few minutes of listening with my clinical map, I changed back to the research map to see what the difference was.  I figured this was a pretty stable “sound” that I could use to compare—I am a pretty consistent typist and have heard this sound for a long time.  There is a noticeable difference.  The clinical map has more of a muffled/muddied sound than the research map.  I know I used pretty much the same words to describe the difference in music—I guess typing is just another form of music to my ears.  I suppose that it is good that I am consistently experiencing the same thing rather than being all over the map so to speak.  I am also trying to use the phone with the research map (I don’t normally use this ear for the phone).  My daughter thought I was doing fine when we spoke on Mother’s Day and I concurred.  I will keep practicing and intend to try Cochlear’s Telephone with Confidence website to easily compare clinical map and research map.

This week we went to a different church for Mass Saturday night.  It is a bit older than last weeks and thus I don’t think the sound system or acoustics are as hearing friendly.  The priest there is a former engineer—interesting story he decided in his 30s to give up his career and enter the seminary—and still has that engineer voice; additionally the problem is that he uses a wireless device and sometimes when he turns his head the microphone does not pick up the sound well.  He often talks about his childhood in his sermon and this week’s story telling was no different, however, this time I heard all of it.  Now don’t get me wrong I usually hear enough to understand the point, however, this week I don’t think I missed a beat even the nuances of his dry sense of humor.

The music was great again this week, however, I was disappointed in Mike’s response to me about how things sounded.  I asked him if my singing voice sounded any better with this new map and as gently as possible he brought me back to reality and told me NO.  I guess one thing this research map is not doing is improving my singing voice—so I guess that means no Grand Ole Opry performance for me on my next visit to Nashville.  A few friends have suggested some music/songs for me to listen to and I will download them this week to listen to them on my iPod in addition to a few new books I have.

I am still trying to find situations where noise is a problem.  I have not used my Focus/Beam program like I usually do in restaurants and seem to do well with just the Everyday program.  I can think of at least one occasion where Mike did not understand the waitress and I did so that is good. I hope to make it over to the mall (sounds like a good excuse to shop) to test it out and will seek out a few other places as well.

I think the beauty of this whole Vanderbilt experiment might be (in the future) that I could possibly go in and say gee this sounds a bit high and they could look at the electrode situation and say ok well let’s change out one particular electrode for another.  Or maybe I could turn on 19 or 20 with lower T & C levels and add some bass (I do not like them turned on at lower T & C levels with my clinical map—things sound better with them off rather than lowered).  I realize that technically any audiologist could do that at any time (and I know some people who have electrodes turned off on different programs for different listening environments), however, if this research pans out it certainly would make the whole situation a little more scientific from the start.  Rather than just going in and saying OK let’s try this or that, the initial map would be better from the start.

So I have two more weeks with this map.  As it stands now if given the choice I will probably keep it and perhaps in the future ask to have some minor adjustments made.  I think that I am still getting used to it and the sound is fine albeit a bit high.  It will be interesting to see how I test when I return to Vandy in two weeks.  When I tested with my clinical map I did 94% in CNC words and was told that I did well on all the others as well.  Since I started out at 94% there is not a lot of room for movement so perhaps I was not the best person for this experiment, however, I am still honored and grateful that they asked me to participate.

Thanks for reading!!!    Connie

PS  Here is a picture of my other “daughter”–Sadie.  IMG_4605

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