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Tim McKenzie

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About Tim McKenzie

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    Candidate for a hearing implant
  • Implanted
  • Implant Period
    Not applicable
  • Implant Type
    Cochlear Implant
  • Hearing Loss Type
  • Cause of Hearing Loss
  • Pre/post lingual Hearing Loss
    Post lingual Hearing Loss
  • Sudden/Progressive Hearing Loss
    Progressive Hearing Loss
  • Uni/bilateral Implant
    Not applicable
  • Country
    United States

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  1. Adam, Thanks for the effort to search, find and share the link to Sarah’s blog. Now, I’ve really got some readin’ to duo! Kara, Mary Beth and Matt, Thanks, also, for your kind and encouraging feedback. I’ve got a lot going on this month (have started a month-long residency at a local hotel, involving weekly rehearsals with special guest artists, etc.) so I’m likely to be even less of a presence here than I have been already! …but this issue is never far from my mind. I have been scheduled for an MRI in early March to rule out any structural barriers to a CI. I’ve learned that meningitis, in particular, can cause ossification in (usually only) one cochlea, so that’s a key concern. If one of my cochlea has ossified that would settle the question of which side to implant …and also rule out ever having another implant down the road. I’ve also learned that I am not a candidate for a Hybrid device because I have too much low frequency hearing loss and have had severe/profound high frequency loss for too long. Reportedly, this puts me in the demographic of recipients who are “quite miserable with their hybrids”? It feels like I'm on an emotional roller coaster these days. The almost universal and dramatic improvement in speech recognition reported by not only you all, but other CI recipients I've read about and spoken with, is certainly compelling, Also very encouraging to learn of the generally positive experience you've all had with hearing and appreciating music (ability to distinguish one instrument from another; sounds(or beginning to sound) "normal" again; etc.). But, countervailing reports of dissatisfaction among other CI recipients (also some audiologists and technicians) with one or more of the key components of music appreciation (i.e., pitch, tempo, timber, etc.) really scare me. If I had to choose right now between speech recognition and hearing (and playing!) music ...well, it feels a bit like a Sophie's Choice. Not nearly as gut wrenching and devastating as that choice, to be sure but, when I put myself in that moment? ...it feels pretty close. I do know that an ability to both make a full commitment to the procedure (and follow up training) and peace with the risks is key to a successful CI, so as I do more research and learn more I'll surely be checking in with more questions. Again, I appreciate your help. Thanks to you all...and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Tim
  2. Holy smokes! Thanks everyone. I'm a little embarrassed to just now be seeing these helpful and thoughtful responses. I kept checking back for several days but neglected to refresh the tab I had left open after posting and figured "...well, it's the holiday season and everyone must be as crazy distracted as me!" Good to know that's not true! Ivana, Thanks for the "Beats of Cochlea Music Festival" link. Adam & Ivana, thanks for searching for the posting from the implanted orchestra musician. Please let me know if you find it. I performed professionally, full time for decades (and still do, but less often) so I’m particularly interested in connecting with other performing musicians who may have been implanted. My biggest worry is that I might never get back to hearing even the currently compromised sound quality of my beautiful guitars. Adam, you mentioned you were happily surprised when music came back, but you didn’t mention how long it took? I already have gigs and concerts scheduled for next year which, except for the ones through March, could be cancelled/rescheduled should I decide to go through with the CI. I know there are no guarantees and each person’s experience is different, but among those for whom the ability to appreciate music did return, I am hoping to get some sense of how long, on average, it took. Actually, the average timeline is only part of it. I’m mostly hoping to get a sense of the ratio of success, overall, among CI recipients in their ability to hear and appreciate music “normally”, i.e., recognize/differentiate instruments (especially an acoustic guitar) again, etc. I recognize that music is never likely to actually sound “normal” again. It already doesn’t and I’ve managed to adapt. But if the odds are that it will likely get worse with a CI - and that playing solo, let alone with others becomes impossible? - I don’t know how one could adapt to that? Christa, I’m encouraged to learn that “an acoustic guitar is starting to sound normal again” …after only 5 months! (Btw, I totally get your take on an electric guitar’s propensity for distortion. Funny.) I have a wide range of musical interests. I play exclusively acoustic guitar – everything from old “American” standards to “hot lick” flatpicking, western swing, bluegrass, jazz and original compositions. But I rarely “listen” to the radio or any other music other than that streamed via Bluetooth into my hearing aids, Even so, other than a tune’s title or “hook” (and the occasional well-engineered/mixed recording of a ballad or other slow to medium tempo tune), without lyrics/captions I don’t understand the words …and haven’t since the early 1960’s …so it’s also encouraging to know that, with training, this might be possible again. Sorry in advance for this rambling and disjointed reply. I'm new to these types of forums, as you may be able to tell, Didn't know whether to reply to everyone individually or all at once? Tim
  3. Hello, My name is Tim McKenzie. I'm a musician (acoustic guitar) and was identified as an implant candidate 3 years ago. I wear two hearing aids and am now seriously considering a “one implant/one hearing aid” set-up. As part of the process of deciding whether to do this I’m extremely eager to connect with other musicians (acoustic guitarists, in particular) who may have a similar set-up, if any (i.e., one implant/one hearing aid). I am 66 and began wearing hearing aids, off and on, 15 years ago. It was then I learned that my hearing loss likely started as result of bacterial meningitis when I was a young teenager …from which, it was thought, I had managed to recover unscathed. Word is now that, in addition, the meningitis may have caused bone growth (ossification?) in my cochlea, perhaps rendering the CI option moot. A scan will be conducted to check this out. My speech recognition is poor (just under 20%), but if folks speak to me slowly, I find I am still able to converse face-to-face, one-on-one in a quiet situation. (Strangely, this is true even when the “mute” program on my hearing aids is active?) But, with the slightest background noise or more than one person talking at time, I’m pretty much out of luck. When playing music with others (an increasingly difficult situation) I need the hearing aids on in order to hear my own guitar, but then it can sound tiny, brash,sharp, etc. In addition to very noisy situations, I sometimes use the mute program on my hearing aids when playing my guitar alone because, with the residual hearing I do have, the sound is so much “warmer” and “natural” ...even without the mid- and high frequencies. I’ve read up on both the Cochlear Nucleus and the MED-EL Synchrony devices and find MED-EL’s emphasis on reaching further into the cochlea to enhance not only speech recognition but music appreciation to be compelling. My poor speech recognition is a tangible and isolating burden but, as I mentioned above, I am still able to “get by” if the situation is just right. It’s just that I don’t know that I could “get by” without being able to play music. I’m not tone deaf (in fact, I play at a fairly high level) so I’m encouraged to think that with one implant and one hearing aid (thus retaining the residual hearing in the aided ear) that I might still be able to enjoy some of the natural sound of music (and my own guitars in particular) while eventually becoming better able to recognize the spoken (or sung!) words of my grandchildren in particular …and everybody else. But I also have read enough to understand it may be naïve – unrealistic even - to hope for such an outcome. I will deeply appreciate any advice or experience any implanted musician - or anyone really in this forum, really - may be willing to share regarding their experience with hearing music. Thanks, Tim p.s. Happy Holidays!
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