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Mary Featherston

Sudden-Onset Frustration

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Have any of you experienced this?  I've had little appreciable improvement in clarity.  I'm still listening to beeps and whispers.  I've been listening to music in the hope that it would help my brain sort this out, but it sounds abysmal, and today driving home I couldn't take the aural crap anymore and turned the music off.

My hearing sounds like an accident in a cartoon factory.  At what point, on average, did all of you start achieving some clarity?  And what helped the most - listening to the beeps and buzzes or re-mapping?  I don't feel like I got much from my last mapping but volume, and honestly, the beeps are quite loud enough, thank you.

Can anyone talk me off this ledge?

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Hi @Mary Featherston

I’m sorry it’s been difficult. There are people who start slowly and end up in a good place.

 

Have you tried the step 1 level I tried to describe with words that differ in number of syllables using a closed set of 3 word choices at a time?  If yes, are you able to tell how many parts the words have even if they do not sound like words?

 

Were you able to see your X-ray showing the position of the electrode array?  

 

 

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@Mary Beth - I didn't think to ask about the x-ray.  I'll have to do that.

In general when I'm doing word recognition I can tell the number of syllables and even generally distinguish vowels.  It's just really bad sound quality.  Right now I'm chewing and that makes a beepy sound.  Seriously, my teeth don't, I'm pretty sure, actually beep.

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It can be very helpful to know that the electrode is indeed positioned correctly.

 

Want to do a test?  Remove your processor and chew on something.  Do you still hear the beeps as you chew?

 

I did with my left side for awhile.  It didn’t happen with my right side.  It went away.  But it was strange.

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Nope, no beeps without the processor.  I emailed my audiologist just before I left work and am hoping to hear from her tomorrow.  I'm not scheduled to go in till the 30th but a week is  a lot of dang beeps.

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@Mary Featherston

Do you have two Sonnet processors now?  Are both of them set for the same MAPs?  If yes, have you tried the other processor just to see if things sound the same?

 

I hope you hear back from your audiologist soon.

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@Mary Beth - good thought, I'll try the other processor, thanks!  But yes, I hope she responds quickly.

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Hang in there @Mary Featherston.  I know it’s difficult when things sound off.

 

keep us posted.

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@Mary Featherston ?

When I first got switched on the tv was horrible noise. Enough to drive you absolutely nuts!!!! I made myself sit through it no matter how uncomfortable and awful it sounded. The reality of it was - I was hearing things I’ve never heard before and my brain didn’t know what to do with it. My brain needed time to sort through everything it was hearing. Unfortunately, some things will be uncomfortable at first - I asked my audiologist to turn off the high frequencies and he said NO! I laugh now but seriously it was so uncomfortable. It takes time,  on average, I’d say 3 months to fully adjust. 

Hang in there!!!! You got this Mary ?

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Oh man, @Megan L. - I really hope it's not three months before the beeps go away.  I nearly ripped the sound system out of my car today already.

I mean, do you know what that would have cost me to fix?

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I totally understand you! I have some things that I can’t stand either. But now it’s been 20 days and things are getting better. Almost no more Donald Duck. But still don’t hear much in the way of background noise in my new ear that is. Speech is coming slowly. As long as people speak slow and clear I can understand. It took me three months with my first er before I could seven understand music. So don’t fret. It is a wild ride and takes tons of patience. Keep practicing and persevering. You will get there. 

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? @Mary Featherston

I’m sure veryyyyy expensive!

I had ringing every time I spoke or my mom did for the first day and ringing every time I heard water - toilet flushing, water running, or the freezer making ice cubes for 2-3 weeks. I meant that the FULL adjustment is probably 3 months but for the beeps/ringing to go away probably 2-4 weeks depending on how much you subject yourself to it. As hard as it is - work through it because the sooner you figure it out, the sooner you have peace!!! At least that is what I figured out. I’m stubborn so I was determined not to let ringing and horrible noise get the best of me or make me turn it off ? 

I promise it gets better! Hang in there and work hard like you have been doing!

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Thanks, @Kara of Canada - I will admit that I'm not as patient as I could be.  By the way @Mary Beth, I just tried the other processor and it sounds the same.  My husband is mowing and the lawnmower sounds like freaking Donald Duck, and I assure you that in fact it doesn't.  Just a regular mower. 

I'm going to hope that we can map some of this out and then it's going to be waiting it out.  I just wish it didn't make the music sound so awful.  You know?  I *like* music.

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Thanks, @Megan L. - I'm definitely not giving up, just banging my head on the wall a bit (opposite side from the implant, of course).  As I mentioned, it just does such hideous things to perfectly good music that I was losing my (ahem) stuff.

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Do not give up and I totally understand @Mary Featherston!!!

There was this one song that was all noise and it used to sound good! WTH?! But being stubborn I listened to it on repeat!!!! Eventually it sounded like I remembered, actually better because I could hear the high frequencies ? Maybe circle back to the music that sounds bad and vary your music choices to keep yourself from banging your head against the wall (opposite side of course) ??

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I keep telling myself that, @Megan L. - those are the ones I should be listening to.  I'm gonna end up truly loathing Mickey Mouse.

You know what's kind of funny, though - songs with a lot of percussion actually sound halfway decent.  Songs that are just voices sound worst.  That's what's hard for me. 

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@Mary Featherston

Haha I love all the Disney references everyone is making here ? I think Kara said Donald Duck and you with Mickey Mouse. I used the Smurf reference to describe voices when I was activated ?

I believe it! The songs with a heavy bass and percussion sounded good to me too when starting out. And interestingly enough there were no voices when there should have been in the song. It was only music! The first song I listened to was Maroon 5 “Sugar.” No voices showed up until the next day...kind off! 

Stay diligent and believe it will get better ?

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The MAPping changes in the early weeks are very important.  But even more so, it’s training our brains to interpret the CI input.

I used a sponge comparison for the early need for increased charge units from my CI.  It’s like my auditory system absorbed more sound and then needed a boost.

Training our brains though is what will attach meaning to the CI input.  The same exact MAP sounded different to me as I continued to use it and train.  The actual charge units my auditory system was receiving were the same but my brain got better at processing the input.  That’s how a pencil dropping onto a wooden table started off sounding like a bomb exploding and ended up sounding like a pencil dropping onto a wooden table.  I just kept dropping the pencil and telling my brain, this is a pencil dropping onto a wooden table.  Smile.  The early days and weeks are full of strange sounds.

I listened to music right from the beginning but I did not expect it to sound great right away so I just enjoyed whatever part I could detect.  For me it was percussion first.

I don’t believe there is any way to rush this process.  We need to give our brains a chance to sort it all out as we continue to get MAPped.  Patience helps.

I hope you have a less frustrating day.  I am glad you are in contact with your audiologist.  Try to hang in there.

My right side did not enjoy music until about month 3 or 4.  My left side liked music before speech.  It is a journey and it takes time.  But it is so worth it.  Amazing technology.  Life changing.

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Thanks, @Mary Beth - today was better.  I have a friend with a CI whose beeps and buzzes began to integrate into voices within a week of her activation, and until HearPeers she was the only person I'd heard from.  Now, I may wish I had Lisa's apparent CI superpowers (well, okay, not "may" -- I do.) but it looks like I don't.  So I'll work my way through it.

I suspect that part of what makes her experience different was that she has normal hearing till she was 39 and then lost it suddenly over the course of about three months.  So she had good memories of what things sound like, but no interference from a hearing ear because she was not hearing anything normally.  So her brain apparently just seized on the CI sounds as though it had been waiting to hear again.  And I know she hears music - her husband is a musician and it's a big part of their life. 

But I'm on a different path.  Today I took a suggestion from Megan and listened to the same song over and over.  It didn't sound great when I got to work, but maybe a tiny bit better.  @Megan L.

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@Mary Featherston

There is so much science and advanced technology in our CI process.  However they have not found any way to predict any of our hearing outcomes ahead of time.  And no way to know how our individual journey will progress.

 

Just from my own two ears, they did not follow what experts predicted.  The ear that had not processed any sound for 24 years started understanding speech hours after activation.  The ear that had always been processing speech was slower to understand speech after activation.  In the end, they are very balanced ears.

 

There are still a lot of mysteries.

 

I know one thing for certain though.  How fast or slow the journey begins, it is no indication of the end result.  

 

I thought about you often today.  Hang in there.

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@Mary Featherston

That made me so happy to hear that the song sounded slightly better today after a few times ? it’s not how you start - it’s how you finish!!

Think of hearing with a CI as a puzzle - your brain needs to match the sound to the object, music, or voice. The more practice you get the better your brain will understand. Everybody’s journey is different so embrace it and don’t compare. Only use other people’s journey as an inspiration to help you get to where you want to be ?

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Two great inspirations. @Megan L. And @Mary Beth  I totally agree. When it comes to music you need to practice. I had to listen to new songs or songs I hadn’t heard for a while at least three times before they starrted to sound good. Right now I’m using audiobooks. Love them. ( if I’m repeating myself LOL it’s  because I have to tell myself the same thing!) 

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Oh, that reminds me ,I want to download some audiobooks.  I've never listened to one, but we will be up at my brother's cabin for a week soon and I'll have more time for stuff like that - no office to go to!  I was going to get audiobooks that I have in print copies so I can listen and follow along.  Thanks for the reminder, @Kara of Canada!

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? @Kara of Canada how is your rehab going? 

@Mary Featherston enjoy your vacay! Don’t forget to go outside to hear all the nature sounds ?

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@Megan L. - oh, I'll be outside.  We are bringing out pop-up camper and will be in it all week.  We just like going to Mike's because he's got ten acres and no neighbors.  No people nearby, no barking dogs or yelling drunks or whatever.  Most of which only bother my husband, up till now.....

 

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