Consonants, you guys!
This morning was my first mapping session in a year, and almost three years since getting my cochlear implants. I don’t need mappings every few weeks like in the beginning, but with dad dying and then me getting engaged and married, miscarriages, mom being killed… well, it has been a sad and hard and amazing and good year all wrapped up in one, but little time for mappings. Last time I went, my hair had grown back from surgery, but now I have long hair again.
It was also my first mapping session since getting married, so Nathan was excited to see how it works.
For a mapping, they unhook my batteries and plug in adapters that connect me to Brooke’s computer:
The computer checks my cochlea to make sure everything is working as it should:
Then we check each and every electrode to “map” what my brain is picking up and likes, and what it isn’t picking up and doesn’t like.
We also check volume of each electrode, to see what is enough volume but not too much, just comfortable.
There were two amazing things that happened today with my mapping!
First, remember when I first got my left implant and each mapping left me so sick, and I wouldn’t let them turn it up, and then when I finally tried, bad things happened like getting sick when I did the dishes, or dizzy when my nieces were playing and loud, or experiences that seemed random but unrelated? We had turned down my high pitches, and that made it better. But now I can finally distinguish sound well enough that I noticed one frequency also had a vibration to it. During mapping we noticed this was really distorting the sound and also sometimes a physical sensation as well. We were able to isolate it to electrode 4, turned it off, and all those symptoms went away! And the engineering is so amazing that I don’t lose any frequency, but the neighboring electrodes (3 and 5) will start picking up those frequencies for me! That’s crazysauce amazing!
Secondly, immediately after that, I heard for the first time the difference between “s” and “ch” and “sh” and “j”/”dge” (like “judge)!!! As soon as I realized how distinct the sounds were, I got them right every time! This was new for me, and as clear as when I first got glasses! It was amazing! I could catch the sounds I had been practicing and trying for two years to get. I can’t tell you how exciting it is, and what a big deal it is for me!
So I have brand new sounds in my head, and more volume to pick up sounds I was missing, and my handy remote to adjust volume when I need to, adjust between sound environments, and change sensitivity (how far away sound is).
I also can better hear “k” and “t”, and have so much better speech sounds that it is like a whole new world.
I am so super über excited!
And it’s really going to help with Hebrew class!