Today, I had an interesting day in the journey of my cochlear implant.  Since I am now living in South Dakota, I have a new audiologist, and she has been very great in my journey thus far.  Last week, I was asked by one of her students at the University of South Dakota to participate in a study for those with cochlear implants.  So this morning, April 5, 2012, I was at the USD campus, being a lab rat (my own words…its not demeaning…I think its funny.)    Funny thing is that I am studying how psychologists conduct their own research and I experienced it first hand.  I had to fill out some forms, which means that I had to say “Ok, I agree to this study,” and “Yes, you can look at my information that you have.”  Pretty basic stuff.

The whole purpose of the study, as I was told, was that they wanted to see how well cochlear implant wearers use the telephone.  Well…first thing we did was the “Repeat the words after me” test.  I spent a total of three hours in a little blue room, with only one window (small, and soundproof) sitting on a somewhat comfortable chair.   The one thing that drove me crazy in that room was the voice of the guy who was doing the test….He kept saying…..”READY?  Then the word.   I was tempted to just say READY every time I didn’t understand a word.  (Which wasn’t that often….major miracle.)   Then she had a television screen and I was to use my visual cues to repeat the words.  Only problem there was that some of the speakers (4 all together, two male, two female), had very low movement on their lips.  Now if you know me….I am a big lip reader.   So, I think I aced that study part.

The next part….She gave me a telephone, and I had to repeat what I heard on the phone.  Major flaw in the study there was that I was surrounded by too many computers and static was going ape nuts in my device when I had on telephone function.  Now, out in the real world, when I am outside with no computers or static around me, I can hear on the phone just perfectly fine.  But in that little blue room…oh not a thing.   Fail.

We did some more modified tests, and it was very interesting.  I hope to someday see the results of that study as I am curious to how the others responded and fared in that same test.  She used ten people from this area who have had the implant for over a year (I am going on six years now).

When I got done, I had my regular one month check up for my new device that I got last month.  We re-arranged some programs on my device, and she gave me some new “maps”…(google that if you are not sure what a “map” is in cochlear implant world)…..I have a nice comfortable sound in my ears, and I am loving each and every minute of the cochlear implant.

THEN…………I had to go back into that little Blue Room again……..for more tests………..However, the chair was more comfortable because I had my own butt groove imprint in that chair…..When we got done….she gave me the results of the tests.  When I had the old device….I scored abotu 56% on the hearing tests……….with the new one……..I improved to 69%.   Either I am getting better at these hearing tests, or the new device is just the best thing in the world…….

Well……..coming up on six years of being a cochlear implant wearer……..what a ride.

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