Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sounds I'm looking forward too

I’m going to make a LIST of all the things I’m looking forward to hearing/doing again if this CI works.

* using the PHONE! I’m not sure if I’d be able to use a mobile.. but WOW, that would be UNREAL
* going to Gold Class (or really, any normal movie)
* hearing the car indicator, keys rattling, birds, the FFSSHHTT when opening fizzy drink bottles
* group conversations
* conversations in the dark
* conversations that don’t require lip-reading
* understanding speeches!
* TV without subtitles
* dvds without subtiles (bring on Joan of Arcadia!)
* understanding the radio
* hearing my mobile go off
* hearing the punchlines of a joke the FIRST time
* cyclists who ring their bells behind me while I’m rollerblading (hahahaha!)

God, I can’t believe that’s all I can think of. There should be billions of things. I'm seeing the audiologist in the new year, I'll have to find out what day I get switched on!!!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Surgery date


*drumroll* ... 23rd of January!!!

Write it down folks, then there are no excuses not to send a get-well card :P

I had a bunch of tests this morning, one of which was the most relaxing hearing test ever. I just sat there and had some things taped to my head and the machine worked it out for me. Wicked. Though, I did discover my favoured ear (the one NOT getting implanted) is actually not as good as my non-favoured ear. Oops. I wonder how that happened.

Then I had some balancing tests with involved looking at dots on the wall with things strapped to me so a machine works out the information. Then another test which had me lying down with my eyes closed while the audiologist poured water in my ear. This makes you SO dizzy! And the audiologist make you think of other stuff (like, girls names beginning with each letter of the alphabet), probably so you don't be sick everywhere coz its not fun being that dizzy. Anyway, the audiologist is going to be dealing with the actual CI ajustments and that sort of thing.

Then I had an appointment with the specialist, he looks over the results of the tests I just had and says "That all looks good, do you want to make a date for surgery today?"
So I talk to the receptionist, she gives me a date and I've chosen the colour of my Speech Processor. Its going to be a grey colour (See it here). I figure if I'm going to be considered a cyborg by having this, I might as have a metallic colour :P

I have a couple more appointments with the audiologist for speech discrimination tests (which I'll fail miserably, lol) and just general discussions about it and I'm not seeing the ENT again until the day of my surgery... I'm still in shock that its that soon.

Monday, November 28, 2005

How it will be paid for!

Dear HBF (health insurance for those not in Australia)

After years of fighting tooth and nail to get you to pay a decent percentage of the costs of hearing aids, I forgive you. I am still in shock after finding out you'll cover practically the whole CI device. Not to mention that being a private patient means I go to a fancy hospital :P

Dear Government

Thank you for paying the gap that HBF doesn't cover. I realise that the benefit has only been available since October and the timing couldn't have been more perfect ;)

Dear Work

Thank you for being so understanding and accomodating. It is a real load off my shoulders knowing I can take as much time off as necessary without worrying that I'd be resented for it. I can not imagine my previous employer being this nice OR flexible.


So, thats all the outside factors taken care of!! My next appointment is in 2 weeks, it involves a bunch of hearing tests then seeing the ENT again!

Friday, November 25, 2005

How it will work

As a fair warning, its going to be an emotional process so any ranting and raving isn't intended to milk for sympathy but just more of an outlet. So apologies in advance if I sound like an emotional wreck ;)

For those who have absolutely no idea what a Cochlear Implant (CI) is you can visit this link and that has a picture and describes how it works.
During surgery, they "install" an electrode into the cochlear and this electrode stimulates remaining nerve fibres and makes the brain think its sound. There is also some kind of titanium plate under the skin, I think Dane is looking forward to sticking magnets to my head :P There is an attachment (speech processor) which looks and is worn like a hearing aid which has the microphone which directs the sound to the electrode.

Its also like a hearing aid in the fact that you can't sleep/shower in it, you take it off.

It is better than a hearing aid because all a H/A does is increase sound. I have lost ALL my high pitch so no matter how loud my hearing aid is, I can not hear things like birds. A CI will not only increase sound but will do it across all pitches. I think the idea is that it also increases clarity... with my hearing loss, I can tell there is sound but I can't work out what is being said.

So basically the goal of the CI is to allow the recipient to have normal hearing. Telephones, no lip-reading, understanding group conversations, uncaptioned movies/tv. And still with the benefit of silence at night for a good nights sleep :P

But the CONS! It is NOT guarenteed to work.

One major thing stopping me is during surgery, you lose your residule hearing. I may not have much left of it, but I can use a hearing aid and if it didn't work, I'd be even more withdrawn and it would be even harder to communicate with me than it is now. And I do appreciate the fact that people do make the extra effort to make sure they are understood :)

The other major thing stopping me is that if a face nerve gets hit, that paralyses one side of my face. Great. (Saying that, my surgeon says he's never done that).

It could upset your balance... it could get infected... other normal sort of risks when you go in for surgery. (knowing my luck, it'd be the anesthetic that kills me).

Its VERY expensive but we are hoping health insurance covers that. I find out next week exactly how much it will cover.

Apparently everything sounds different. You have to learn to hear again. Because the technology is so focused on speech, music can either be improved or ruined forever. What would I do without Run to Paradise??

Then the other thing is more about work letting me have time off because they like you having 3 weeks off to recover from surgery. Then all the time off for various tests.

SURGERY: Its DAY surgery, you don't even stay overnight. I couldn't believe that, especially as they drill holes in your head! haha!

Then its 3 weeks for the wounds to heal. After 3 weeks you go in to actually have the speech processer (hearing aid thing) turned on and "tuned". They start you off on a low volume (thank god, I don't think I could handle "normal" loudness) then they turn it up each week.

After all this... there is a 90% success rate. And I like those odds.

Feel free to ask any questions, if I don't know the answer, it'll give me something to ponder!!

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Specialist appointment this afternoon. He got my money's worth of the x-rays by staring at them for ages before finally announcing my head is all normal (ha!) and that I can have surgery.

I haven't actually made any firm decisions about getting the cochlear implant yet.