- View Profile
I've had progressive, bi-lateral, hereditary, sensorineural hearing loss since my late teens. I started with a mild loss evenly across all frequencies, in a slight "smile" shape, similar to the "speech banana." My loss progressed and in my early 20's I got my first pair of hearing aids. By my 30's, my loss was flat across the bottom of the audiogram.
I am the 5th of 6 children. My dad had a progressive profound hearing loss that was diagnosed when he was in his 20's. My mom had normal hearing. The 3 children with brown eyes, like my dad, have progressive hearing loss that started in late teens. The children with hazel eyes, like my mom, have normal hearing. We are keeping an eye on a niece with brown eyes. She reports a mild hearing loss. We'll see.
In spite of my loss, I got a degree in Music Education in 1978, and taught school for 2 years, which was, frankly, a disaster. I went back to school and got degrees in accounting and computer sci, and have had a fairly successful career in IT Audit and Project Mgt. I do know that I've probably not been as successful as possible due to my hearing loss.
I don't have a "good" ear; I've used hearing aids in both ears for almost 30 years. The stars finally aligned for me to make the decision to have the CI surgery. When talking to me, my audiologist thought it would be a challenge for me to qualify; however, I had her fooled, and passed (failed?) with flying colors.
At age 53, I decided to have simultaneous bi-lateral implant surgery, with the Nucleus 5. Many reasons for this: I did not want to go through this process 2 times; I don't have a "good" ear, so I could never choose; my personal at this time life allowed for the time off.
Surgery was 12/09/09 in Denver, CO. Activation was 12/18/09. Since I had auditory input right up to surgery, I quickly adapted to the CI's. I understood speech immediately. At the 2-wk mapping, I got 100% of the sentences in one ear and 90% in the other (missed one). At one month, I went from about 2% to 96% on the single word test.
I can understand the radio while driving, I can understand people behind me. Restaurants are better than they were; I'm still working out the settings. People I know have noticed the difference. TV and movies are harder. I've relied on captions for so long and not using them is a hard habit to break; I'm trying. Phones are better, but some tweaking is needed.
I can also listen to music, even new music. It might be my background as a musician. Orchestra music is harder. Jazz trios are best.
High pitches are the challenge for me. But after 5 weeks and 2 mappings, they are getting sorted out.
I am very, very happy that I went with the simultaneous bi-lateral. EVERYTHING sounds different than with my hearing aids. I would be bananas having the 2 kinds of sounds coming in, and I would miss being bi-lat. My own voice sounds different, but I am getting used to it.
More to come in the journey.....