I got my left cochlear implant almost three years ago, and my right one six months after that.
My hearing loss was a mix of genetic factors, illness, and cochlear implants were the decision that was the best choice for me to improve my accessibility, work, and social options.
That is all a different story, and a history that now seems long ago.
But every morning I get ready for work and very last thing unhook my batteries from the charger with a little swivel, hook them back into my processors, and throw them on my head.
The hook does not go in the ear like with a hearing aid, because my ears do not work at all. The auditory nerve was cut in surgery for the implants, and implants bypass the outer ear all together. The hook just rests on the ear to hold everything else in place, meaning the processor (computer) and the batteries.
The sound goes into the microphones on the processors, through the processors, through the wire that connects to a coil on my scalp, and then is transmitted magnetically from there into the wires and electrodes shoved up into my cochlea.
I like my headband head coverings that also help hold them in place. I am so active that it is hard to keep them on sometimes, but doing things like using a stronger magnet makes my scalp raw and sore. So it can be tricky.
That’s one reason I have been nervous about what is in the works: models of cochlear implants that no longer rely on the hooks, and just use a bigger coil against the scalp. We have known that would be the next model, and that all the companies are working on them. My concerns are how sturdy is it – meaning, will it really stay on my head? And if it doesn’t, is it going to shatter like old iPhone glass when it hits my kitchen tiles or my paving stones in the garden? – and also, how sore will it make my head to have such large and weighty magnets on my scalp? How tight will it pinch? And will we have the option to use the hook if we like that better, or is the hook just old school and gone for good? It makes me anxious!
But it is also exciting!
And today, right here in Tulsa, the first child was fitted with the first hook-less processor. Well, that’s what the news said. I have no idea if it is really the first one or not, or how they know she was first. But that was the report.
Anyway, this model is not compatible with my implants (a different company), but is our first look at what it will be like.
I don’t know if I am excited or terrified!
Besides, I won’t believe it until it survives a night of ballroom dancing!
CLICK HERE to see the video of a local Tulsa girl who just got the hookless processor.