This week I got a card in the mail reminding me that it is time to make an appointment with John, the audiologist that programs my cochlear implant. It hardly seems like six months since I have seen him. Once again, I am uncertain how things will go. On the one hand, because whatever changes are happening in my head are incredibly gradual, I don’t really notice that much has changed. And yet, other people tell me that they can tell that I am hearing better.
One of the few places that I notice a difference is in meetings. Whether it is in a small meeting, or in youth group, or in a large room like the fellowship hall, I notice that I can hear more than I used to. Not that long ago, I could barely make out anything in our youth meetings and almost nothing at all in a big room like the fellowship hall, but lately I can hear enough to keep up with some of the conversations. I still am not where I would like to be, but I can tell that things are better than they were.
At least until last week.
Right around Ash Wednesday, I noticed that it was suddenly harder to understand the people around me and discovered that my hearing aid was acting up. No problem. Since receiving a cochlear implant, I have two hearing aids and only one ear to wear them in, so I have a spare. In fact, at one of my last visits my regular audiologist, Walt, reprogrammed them both to fit my right ear. So when my hearing aid went on the fritz, I just switched over to the spare. Things were kind of busy at work so I figured that I would just make an appointment after things calmed down a little.
That worked for two weeks.
But after two weeks, my spare hearing aid quit. I emailed Walt on a Thursday and got an appointment the very next Monday. One hearing aid didn’t work at all and the other works as long as the ear mold isn’t attached. Even Walt thought that was pretty weird. In any case, both of them have been sent back to the factory. That means that the only things that I am currently hearing are coming through my cochlear implant.
And that is my good news, bad news thing divides.
The bad news is that I really can’t hear anything on my right side without hearing aids. But the good news is that since I have an implant I can still hear something. If I didn’t have the implant and both hearing aids quit, I would be in deep weeds.
The other good news, and really sort awesome, is that even hearing only through my implant, I am doing fairly well. I can hear reasonably well in most situations and have even been listening to the radio (a little) in the car. Of course, any place with a lot of ambient noise is almost impossible, and conversation around the dinner table at home is pretty difficult to follow, but I am relatively functional.
Six months ago, I’m not certain that I could have done this well on my implant alone.
So I guess I’m a little excited to see John and have my implant reprogrammed again.
Who knows how much better things might get?
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