Saturday, July 28, 2007

Closed Set "Animal" game surprise - 7/28/2007

My wife Rochelle was playing a closed-set listening game with Nichole late last night. The category was "animals". Rochelle would say an animal name while Nichole looked away, and she would have to repeat it back to my wife. Nichole was doing well. Her younger (hearing) sister Corey joined in the game as another "caller". Corey has been re-reading all the Harry Potter books, so of course she offered "Blast-Ended Skrewt". Corey and Rochelle were cracking up laughing, but low and behold, Nichole (who's eyes had been closed during the "call') said "Blast-Ended Skrewt" !!! The joke was on Corey after all, thanks to the CI and a quickly re-wiring brain. (This was just 2 days post-activation)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Alphabet Game - Day 3 - 7/27/2007

Nichole and Rochelle are playing the "closed sets" game right now. Rochelle randomly said letters from the alphabet, with Nichole looking the other way. Nichole correctly repeated 85% of the letters! And the ones she got incorrect, were the "close" ones like Z/C, B/E, T/P, and one oddball of A/O.

They have switched to categories, like fruits, vegetables, dessert, etc. I was amazed when Nichole correctly repeated back "acorn squash"! It is 11:45pm and while Rochelle and I are both tired and want to go to bed, it is hard to say NO to Nichole when she is begging to do more, and clearly doing so well.

I will take some movies of this game tomorrow and post them (if I can figure out how).

Nichole Listening for new sounds - 7/27/2007

I brought my stuff out to the car this morning in preparation for heading to work. Nichole, who usually sleeps late, per the sacred book of teenagers, was laying on her back in the middle of our driveway, eyes closed, just listening to all the sounds. She said she was hearing a constant "motor" sound, in addition to the birds in the trees, and an occasional car going by. I listened (hard) and the only thing I could detect (aside from the birds) was the very faint rustle of the breeze through the leaves of the trees (about 160 feet away). Hmmmm. Maybe that, or just a background hum from the processor?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nichole's CI Activation - Day 2 (Mapping) - 7/26/2007

July 26, 2007 - Mapping

Wow. What a great day!

Nichole had her day-2 activation session this afternoon with Marilyn (her Audiologist). She modified Nichole's processing to reduce the "chirpiness" of voices. Where yesterday she could only hear the SSSS and Shhhhh Ling sounds, now Nichole can hear all six (though the sss/shhh appear to be the same, as does eeee/mmmm). But she still hears them! I have posted a video on of this part of the mapping.

We then put Nichole in "the booth" so that we could compare her CI hearing with her pre-implant hearing aid results. Back then, her right ear was about 105dB. Today, with her implant, she was at 20dB across the board (except 25db at 250Hz and 4000Hz). AMAZING !!!!! Her (hearing) little brother Mitchell was in the booth with her and said the sounds were *very* quiet.

We can almost watch her mind as it gets used to the new sounds. At 10:30pm tonight, Nichole wanted to see how many letters of the alphabet she could detect. It was a "closed set" game my wife started with her this morning (thanks to a session at Sturbridge). Nichole was 6 feet from me, facing *away* from me when she asked to "do the alphabet thing". In a normal voice, I said I didn't know what "the alphabet thing is". She immediately started explaining it to me. I stopped her to point out that with her back to me, she had understood my question, and had proceeded to answer it !!!! Whoohooo.

So we played the game. I sat 6 feet from her, in our kitchen (with the fridge running in the background, so not "sound booth" listening here), with only the CI on, and her facing away from me. Of the 26 letters I randomly said, she correctly said back 15 of them (that is 58% correct).

We have a toaster oven in one corner of our kitchen. When set to "toast" it ticks like an old egg timer. With her hearing aid, she needs to be about 3 inches from it to hear the ticking. With just her CI, she walked across the kitchen, into our living room, turned and went to the far corner of that room (so a wall between her and the oven). She could *still* hear the ticking 40 (serpentine) feet away!!!

She is totally psyched. She knows she still needs to work to understand speech fluently, but she is thrilled with the first 30+ hours with the implant (less sleep time last night). Her younger brother Mitchell (9) asked her if she would ever want to get the other ear implanted. She said YES, and that she would even elect to get it done NOW.

As a few people on the list pointed out to me yesterday, it is nice experiencing this journey with a young woman who can articulate what is going on, what she hears, and what she feels. Nichole even insisted on us carrying this electronic waterfall scene "thingy" (like a big picture frame) she had received for Christmas, to her appointment with Marilyn today. It plays an electronic rendition of a waterfall/burbling brook with birds in the background. She wanted Marilyn to hear it, because that sound, as she hears it with her hearing aid, is what she heard with her CI when it was first activated yesterday, and we tried talking to her. A cool way to get the point across to us.

Well, that is all for tonight.

Day 1 Update - 7/26/2007

Yahoo. Nichole just IM-ed me at work all excited.
My wife (Rochelle) was sitting on Nichole's bed, with Nichole about 6 feet away, with her back to my wife. Rochelle told her ahead of time that she would say a number (1-10) or a color (so this is a closed set of words that Nichole would be expecting). With her hearing aid off, and just using the implant, Nichole all but two of the words incorrect !!!!! Guess her brain is re-wiring already !!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Nichole's CI Activation - Day 1 (Turn On) 7/25/2007

July 25, 2007 - Activation

Well, Nichole got her CI activated this afternoon. Her audiologist (Marilyn) had her face away from her while she did made the Threshold (T) settings of the quietest sounds Nichole could hear. Nichole heard the very first one. Whew! I had this fear that *nothing* would come through.

Marilyn spent time setting each electrode individually, then had Nichole turn back around and told her she was going to turn them all on, at a low volume, but that if it was too loud to tell her, and she would turn it down. When it was turned on, Nichole squinted her eyes, and said it was too loud. Marilyn turned it off, lowered it, then turned it back on. This went on for a few passes, with Nichole insisting it was too loud, and Marilyn lowering the volume each time. Marilyn indicated that Nichole had *great* auditory nerves because her "hearing" with the CI was so sensitive. That was GREAT news to us! She played with a few noise makers, and said that she hears a *lot* of high frequency sounds that she can't with the hearing aid in her other ear.

Nichole said that people talking sounded like birds chirping. While Nichole (and us as well) was *hoping* that she would simply understand what everyone was saying (the one in a thousand), she wasn't really disappointed that all she heard was "chirps". At least she didn't say so. We had been telling her ahead of time that it would sound strange.
Out of curiosity, how long after activation before your kids could actually understand spoken words? We didn't think of doing the Ling test until driving home, but she only hears the sssss and shhhh sounds (which is amazing in itself), but is missing the low frequency ones. We will mention that at tomorrow's session.

On the way home, it was obvious that Nichole was tired. She said that she had gotten a bit of a headache (anyone else experience that on activation?). She took the processor off for about 15 minutes to see if it helped her headache. She is upstairs now (10pm) unpacking all of the boxes of goodies provided by Cochlear, setting up the chargers, storing the accessories in her room, etc.

We go back tomorrow afternoon for the second part of the activation.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Nichole's "Outing" request - 7/24/2007

Just wanted to share a little "moment" with you. I was at work when Nichole IM-ed me asking what we were doing this weekend. I let her know we didn't have any fixed plans and asked her why (figuring a friend may have asked her to go somewhere). She said she had checked the weather, and our area is due for some rain and scattered thunder storms all weekend. She said she wanted to be sure to be around "so she could listen for the rain and thunder"! Think she is excited about her new hearing and getting activated?