Finally. Activation Day, May 22nd arrived! By this point, the various tones of ringing that I'd mentioned in Part One had mostly settled by week 2. It was rather annoying dealing with the various changing tones of ringing in my left ear. I was ready to destroy things because I wanted to hear something other than the ringing and internal audio that my mind was playing for lack of external audio.
I also experienced partial loss of control over the left part of my face. This was annoying. Apparently something like 5% of people who get this surgery experience this. 95% of people who experience this recover fully and I can confirm that I recovered fully as the loss of control over my facial muscle was due to the nerves controlling the muscles being cut off by the swelling near the incision site of the implant.
I came in to the audiologist's office on May 22nd. I was nervous. Excited. Frustrated! AAAAAAAAAAA STOP THE RINGING. LET ME HEAR SOMETHING ELSE.
The audiologist, Blair got me sorted. It took roughly two hours or so to actually get everything sorted. Most of this was testing the internal implant, making sure that when the sound processor was paired to the internal magnet that everything worked. The second hour was spent explaining how the implant worked and how the accessories worked. I'm actually due for another appointment on the 20th of June to further tune the processor and to get assistance in pairing the other accessories.
Suddenly I could hear something. AAA WHAT IS THIS? IS THIS THE PROCESSOR TURNING ON? Why, yes, it was. It sounded like a multitude of squeals at initial turn-on. I didn't get to have access to external audio at this point yet.
After it was turned on and we confirmed that the processor had successfully paired with the internal implant, we proceeded to do an hour long test and initial tweaking of the processor's ability to process audio. This was mostly painless. The only actual pain I experienced was the rise and fall of various tones much like you'd get in an audiogram test.
That's basically what it was. If you've been through one, you know exactly what I'm talking about with some of the tones where they suddenly startled you with their loudness or maybe the way that tone just pissed you off and made you want to murder someone. Things like that.
Moment of truth arrives! I am informed the processor will be rebooted and it will start processing audio. It happens and... ... ... HOLY SHIT I CAN HEAR OH MY FUCKING GOD. YOU SOUND SO ROBOTIC, BLAIR. AAAAA I CAN HEAR AGAIN. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA.
About 10 minutes into my actually being able to hear I lost my shit and started crying manly tears because it was so nice to finally be able to hear something other than my internal audio. Cue more internal screaming. NO, I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING. So did the audiologist!
What's interesting was that I could immediately understand everyone in the office at the time. It sounded high and roboticy but I could easily decipher what everyone was saying with a wee bit of trouble.
My surgeon informed me, as did the audiologist that understanding people would take time and that not everyone took to the cochlear implant immediately. I believe I'm in some rare percentage of people that were able to take immediate advantage of the implant.
This is likely a benefit of me using hearing aids for as long as I could remember, as at the time during my initial evaluation regarding candidacy for cochlear implantation that I was an excellent candidate for this.
Part Three of my Journey with Cochlear will be up soon. Watch this space for more details!