Friday, October 7, 2016

Cochlear Implant Activation Day

I finally got so frustrated with my hearing aid I went for a cochlear implant. The procedure was completed about a month ago at New York Eye and Ear. My original ENT passed away since I began seeing him so my new doc was Dr. Weber, who kind of looks like Jacob from Lost.

The procedure went well (I was told) and recuperation was as trying as you'd expect having the back of your ear sliced, electrodes inserted and an implant stuck to your skull. The worst were the brief albeit strong headaches I would experience when moving my head. As you can imagine I perfected my posture that week!

Mostly I've just been tired. After two weeks the swelling was sufficiently reduced that I could feel the implant under my skin. It was an odd sensation after half a month later. The area is covered by hair so I didn't even realize I was swollen...until I wasn't!

Today was activation day and I have never been more grateful for a "good" ear!

All voices sound like Alvin (yes, from The Chipmunks) running auto-tune. There is also a small delay so everything on the implanted ear plays like an electronic echo to my good ear.

I didn't realize how much I was relying on my good ear until I started using a device which would stream bluetooth audio directly to my cochlear implant.

Well, I played Kanye's 808s and Heartache - aka my favorite album of all time and could not tell a single song apart from my next! I couldn't even distinguish the beats! I know sound recognition will improve and I can always switch to my "good ear" when listening to music but it really makes me empathize with profoundly deaf people who would be able to hear but not know what they are hearing.

The stitches behind my ear (no photos but feel free to google cochlear implant stitches and squirm) are still very sensitive and the device area feels bruised at the lightest touch. The audiologist suggested I cover everything in moleskin to provide padding BUT but look at my cheat:

This probably won't work for people without hair as ridiculously curly but I just tucked it a bit lower inside my hair and let the battery dangle. Again - its not kosher but I need to listen with my device as often as possible so I can get rid of the synthesized chipmunk effect. Looking at the picture I bet I could rest the battery on my bun when using the device inside the house.

Just don't tell the audiologist!