Three years and almost a hundred posts later, it’s time to end the blog. I started blogging in February 2016 and continued until July 2017, then had a bit of a break. I started again in November 2017 when I’d just had my implant operation and now here we are……..
These days I’m definitely running out of ideas for things to write about so I’ve decided it’s time to stop. I’ve loved this blog. I’ve loved it so much I don’t want it to just fizzle out, with a post every several months, as some blogs do. I want to call a definite halt.
So there you go. End! Thank you everyone – for reading, for following, and for your support and feedback. THANK YOU.
But one last thing. Some of you might want to hear how I’m getting on sixteen months after cochlear implant switch-on day. Some of you might want not to miss the last episode of the film. If that applies to you…..read on one last time. If that doesn’t appeal…..all best wishes from me and farewell.
OK faithful people-interested-in-cochlear-implants – here goes! Continue reading
Episode five is up on the MED-EL website this morning. A very, very, very happy “three months in”. You can watch it here (or possibly hear). Don’t forget – subtitles can be found by clicking on CC at the bottom of the screen.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Image copyright: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo
Episode Four is now available.
I’ve had the operation, I’ve had “switch on”. Here I am talking about the first few days of being back home with a new “thing” on the side of my head. Getting used to it, arguing with it……and suddenly hearing a wide variety of environmental sounds I hadn’t heard for so long.
One of the original blog posts covering this period was In which I stir a mug of tea and that event (stirring the tea!) is something I still vividly remember. It can still make me tear up. Continue reading
Episodes Two and Three of the film are now available.
Episode Two is about the operation, which is almost exactly a year ago (a year last Thursday, to be precise). Episode Three is switch-on, which took place on 7 December 2017. It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by since those events. Continue reading
Readers of this blog with long memories may remember me being asked by staff at the Cochlear Implant Centre at Bradford Royal Infirmary, over a year ago, if I would be willing to be the subject of a film about the implant process. I said yes and, twelve months ago last week, first met Henrique and Sebastian from Med-El, the company who manufacture my particular type of implant and who had decided to make the film.
There are lots of short films (five minutes or so) available about implants. I watched several in the run up to the operation and very helpful they were too. But I’m not aware of any other film following one person’s story right from the beginning (being offered the implant), through to the stay in hospital, then switch-on day, then the various stages in the weeks and months that follow. I’m really hoping that having something available that shows the whole process will convince more people of the benefits of an implant and, in the UK, possibly even help in the campaign to make the eligibility criteria less strict.
The big news today is that a preview is available. You can watch it here. Med-El are releasing the film in various “chapters” at two weekly intervals, starting with “before the operation” on 23 October. They return to film the last episode (“one year on”) next month. The plan then is to release the full film (all the chapters!) sometime in early-ish 2019. I’ll post when the various sections are available, or you can sign up to get them via the Med-El website.
Hope you like it. HUGE thanks from me to Med-El and especially to Henrique and Sebastian – for the film but also for being there at all the crucial points, making me laugh and buoying me up.
(PS For subtitles click on the subtitles icon (CC) at the bottom of the screen).
Image copyright: Med-El. A scene from their quality control laboratory.
Time to wind up the cochlear implant posts, or at least time to wind up the regular reports on progress. I’ve just gone past the six month milestone and been effectively discharged (no more appointments with the audiologist for another year, unless something unexpected happens). Time to move on.
The six month appointment was quite relaxed. I was happy with the last programme I’d been given, so no changes there. My hearing thresholds were tested again (the quietest sounds I can hear). My ability to hear sounds at one of the frequencies is still below the theoretically optimal point. Research shows that cochlear implant users who can hear sounds quieter than 35 decibels (25 to 35 decibels being the ideal range) tend to do better at speech comprehension, so the audiologist is aiming to boost the signal from the electrodes in the implant until that point is reached for each frequency. In my case, however, boosting that one frequency any more than it already is results in worse speech comprehension, rather than better, so we mutually decided to let things stay as they were. I am hearing just fine in so many situations; let’s leave it at that.
Here’s the point I’ve reached, on an audiogram, before and after implant. Continue reading
Yes, of course I am. My medical ID card says it clearly. “The owner of this card is profoundly deaf, but can experience hearing sensations with the help of the implant system”.
I also signed up to “yes, I know I will still be deaf” as one of the expectation management aspects of the information programme at the Cochlear Implant Centre before the operation. Quite rightly, staff needed to be sure that we potential implantees understood that this was no miracle operation. There would be a long process of rehabilitation and brain training, and we wouldn’t ever hear like hearing people do.
But what does “being deaf” mean? Continue reading
Sometimes, with cochlear implants, there are side effects. You are warned about them before the operation and they form part of the consent process – “yes, I am aware of the following possible side effects……” Frankly, I’d have signed anything at that point, so desperate was I to get an implant. Well, almost anything…….
In my case there have been a few small things.
The area around my ear and my upper jaw were quite bruised after the op, which made chewing on that side of my mouth tricky to begin with and a big, luxurious yawn quite painful. This lasted for a good few weeks, but gradually improved and has now gone. Continue reading
Maybe problem is too strong a word. Hitch maybe? Glitch perhaps???
In the spirit of full transparency it is time to report on a glitch.
In late March I had a programming problem. What goes on at programming (or mapping) sessions at the Implant Centre is that an audiologist first tests your range of hearing for each electrode (the quietest sound you can hear at that frequency and the loudest that is comfortable).
Testing for the quietest sound is much like any other hearing test. You are given a buzzer which you press when you detect the tiniest, tiniest glimmer of a sound, somehow distinguishing it from the tinnitus. You know the routine….feverish concentration, furrowed brow…….. Continue reading
The thing that worried me most about going on holiday with a cochlear implant was airport security screening. I was confident that my improved hearing would stand me in much better stead on the holiday itself, but what if I didn’t HAVE a functioning implant because something had gone wrong at an airport?
Would it set off the security alarms? Could it be damaged by the security screening? Should I switch it off on the plane? Too much browsing of the internet had unearthed a series of horror stories, including tales of problems at our departure airport (Manchester). Someone wrote about having a big argument with the screening staff at Manchester, resulting in security guards being called. Help! I just want to go on holiday, not have a run-in with officialdom. Continue reading