Monday, October 3, 2011

5 years on

Here is my take on the difference between normal hearing and the CI:

The sound is different to normal hearing, it is a bit more robotic. There are still difficulties with background noise. Hearing people might be able to hear conversations across the room.. I can't, people need to be fairly close to me so I can hear.

I can talk on the phone, so I don't need to lipread. I can hear sounds like sand falling on floors, but sometimes need to ask what it is if I don't recognise it.

I prefer having subtitles for movies and TV, usually because the background has music. But that is my preference, I know some CI users who manage without it.

I make it sound awful, I've just listed all the drawbacks!

BUT - the CI gives enough dB that speech can be understood without lipreading and that is such a blessing.
It gave me a confidence that I had lacked, I am now sure of myself that I have heard something right and can join in group conversations better, rather than hanging back wondering if I've heard correctly and looking like a dickhead if I'm not on the same subject.
There are a lot of sounds (like computer beeping, doorbells) that I can hear again and little things like that make the CI all worth it.

It is definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made to get implanted, being late-deafened in in an oral family, it has improved my quality of life immeasurably!

There is a wonderful webpage which shows hearing people what it sounds like to a CI recipient:

So, saying all this and saying how great the CI is, I would recommend it to people, especially to people in "hearing" families but I'm not going to scorn people that don't want one, it is a very personal decision afterall!!


Matt said...

Hi Nikki, I found your blog while doing a search on cochlear implant on youtube. At least I didn't find it on reddit. I enjoyed reading/watching your experience with your CI. I've had mine for almost 15 years now (34 now). Still love it. Do you have facebook or something like that? I'd like to compare my experience with yours, ask questions... if that's ok with you =)

Nikki said...

Hi Matt, you can find me on FB here:

Would be good to compare stories!

Jason Michael Shuttlesworth said...

Can you feel the cochlear implant inside your head? Have you had any problems with it? I think I have to get one soon. My speech comprehension is only 4% in my left ear and 50% or so in my right. I'm kind of scared on whether or not to go do this since the CI surgery apparently destroys the cochlea. I keep thinking they'll find a biological cure (with stem cells?) soon.

Jason Michael Shuttlesworth said...

Hi. I found your blog on YouTube while looking for CI information...since I may have to get one. Have you had any major problems with it, like having it cut out on you? (I've had hearing aids to stop working on me before.) I'm hoping that they'll come up with a biological cure for hearing loss, but so far-nothing.

Nikki said...

Hi Jason... only cuts out when the batteries run out!! I haven't had any problems with it. I've been waiting for a biological cure too :)

Nikki said...

When I first had the surgery, it felt like a board was under the skin on my skull! Very occassionally I will feel it there if I've laid too long on that side. Are you just getting the left ear done? I got my "bad side" done in case it didn't work and now it's my good side :)

Jason Michael Shuttlesworth said...

Hi. Thanks for responding. I think only my left ear since the speech comprehension is only 4%. Hearing aids only make everything louder, but there is no clarity whatsoever. My hearing started decreasing the year I graduated college (15 years ago) and keeps getting worse. I'm kind of antsy about the CI process and don't want to go through with the surgery only to find out the clarity is still poor. Has the clarity increased compared with a hearing aid?

Nikki said...

Oh, it is SO much clearer! It is 1000 times better than a hearing aid. It won't work immediately, your brain has to learn to hear again. But I found sounds to be very clear from the beginning. Eventually I understood speech without lipreading and that was a fantastic day :) I can speak on the phone too :) I can assure you that it will be so much better than a hearing aid, once you get used to it! Saying that, noisy situations can still be difficult. You will probably adapt to it faster too, being late-deafened (same as me).