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Meet...Darth Vader! And some dizziness after activation...?


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Hey everyone,

So I've been activated for just over a week and it's been a ride! I can make out quite a bit (yaye!) while acquainting myself to this new character, Darth Vader voice ;)

My hearing loss is the typical profound loss in the high frequencies (i.e. ski-slope hearing loss) which has been a life-long prognosis and the other remaining frequencies just gradually  receded these past couple of years. I don't recall much dizziness in my first implant (18 years ago) so I'm quite disconcerted with the onset of mild dizziness after activation - it started about 6 days after activating. My 4 programs from the activation were strictly incremental volume increases set to auto adjusting, so I just switched program every 2-3 days to those gradual increments. I just had an adjustment appointment yesterday and was at Program 4. The volume is now higher but with a more uniform balance across all frequencies after the adjustments (more to come - this is just a start).

The dizziness isn't so overwhelming that I trip myself or hold onto walls but it definitely slows me down (I tend to walk fast with enthusiasm & energy in just about everything). It's draining and the first few days of those dizziness, I would have a 1-2 hour nap...this isn't typical for me and I feel like I've aged 10 years in that time span - even my husband commented on how I walked uneven while we were out shopping for a bit over the weekend. Both my audi & I think that it may be from never hearing those high frequencies...? During the activation & adjustment, I couldn't actually "hear" the highest frequencies - it was more a feeling that my nerves were "awakened" by those pitches...if that makes sense?

Anyways - nothing earth-shattering but has anyone else experienced this after activation? If so, did the feeling get better over time?

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@NathalieM Sorry to hear about your balance issues.  I'll share my experience in case it is helpful and/or encouraging.

I grew up playing hockey in a back yard rink so I felt like I always had excellent balance but then a few months after surgery, I suffered three bouts of extreme, debilitating vertigo and nausea lasting over 6 hours each time.  I went to physical therapy for balance due to vertigo after my CI.  The PT clinic specialized in issues of balance.  Lots of testing found no evidence of the crystals that are a more common cause of issues (BPPV) but said that I had vestibular hypofunction on my left (CI side).  This was reflected in issues liking have difficulty in a straight line walking with eyes closed or balancing on a foam pad with eyes closed.

Maybe the vestibular hypofunction was caused by the CI surgery or maybe it had been developing and just exacerbated by the surgery.  (I had been having problems with my tennis serve for a few years!)  Not clear why this might cause sudden onset of severe vertigo or again is just coincidental.  Just had to settle for unexplained cause, just like my SSD hearing loss.

The result is that PT gave me exercises to do in the clinic and and at home. 

My main at home exercise is standing in a corner of the room with my eyes closed on a blue foam pad.  Balance uses three senses (eyes, touch, and the vestibular function of the ears.)  This exercise takes away the eyes and touch and requires relying on just the vestibular function.  Trying to stay balanced is good exercise then and I can safely just lean back into the corner to avoid falling down.

After about 4 or 5 PT visits over 3 months and a lot of at home exercise, I "graduated" from PT. I haven't had an episode in around 5 months.  My balance is not quite as good as my younger days but is plenty good for every day activities and sports (hiking, biking, tennis, and pickleball.)  I still have my foam balance pad in the corner and try to use it every couple of days. 

In summary, going to a PT specializing in balance issues might be really helpful.  If you want to get a similar foam pad to experiment with while waiting to get in, I got this big Airex pad on Amazon

Good luck and hope that you find some relief too.

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In my experience that can be caused by overstimulation on some electrodes.  It may be able to be solved by having your audiologist reduce the stim on the higher frequency electrodes that you did not perceive an audible beep and then bring those up much more slowly.  Just a thought.

Hope it straightens out quickly for you.  Welcome to the bilateral CI crew!

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Thank you both @Tim & @Mary Beth for your feedback - I had read about your issues in another post, Tim (yikes, that’s quite an ordeal and I can’t imagine having vertigo to that extent!). I had a concussion from a 2x8 board that fell on top of my head from 10’ above, a couple of years ago (helped hubby building a shed) and this feels somewhat like it but not as bad.

I think that since I’ve had absolutely no balance issues until this surgery/activation, I agree with Mary Beth and going to err on the side of overstimulation. I see my audiologist in a couple of weeks (she’s 2 1/2 hrs away, not a quick trip) so I’ve resorted to reducing the volume extensively so I can find some relief over the next little while. I’m sure it’s just a matter of adapting and we’ve prob jumped the gun on those frequencies.

Thanks for reaching out - with my inquiry, I thought I’d add another perspective for those who might relate.

Happy Thanksgiving to all US peeps on HearPeers!! 🦃🥧

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