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Recently implanted ... is pounding unintelligible noise normal?


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Hi all-
First a few things about myself ... I've been single-sided deaf (left side) at least since early elementary school (I was not born that way as far as I know, but the precise etiology and dating of the degradation is unknown), so that's roughly 30yrs of very poor hearing on that side. However, my right side has carried me all these years and I'm a very high functioning professional in NYC. However, I recently had a sudden degradation of my hearing on the right side as well (sudden sensorineural hearing loss), but fortunately after several direct intratympanic steroid injections (NY Eye & Ear Infirmary) that ear has recovered sufficiently and functions fine with just a Lyric hearing aid. But after losing my entire ability to hear for a few weeks, I decided I needed to do something more proactive about my weaker left ear to ward off any future difficulties that I might encounter with my dominant right ear going forward. This led me down the path of a cochlear implant which I had surgery for on July 30th and was just recently activated for this past Friday (Aug 30th -- all work done at NYEE).  

I've been browsing through the various threads here and there's a lot of helpful info, so thanks to all who have contributed. However, there are a few questions that are a bit more specific to my experience that I was hoping somebody could help me with. I know it's been only 3 days, but I do not feel like I'm "hearing" very well out of my left ear implant ... or more to the point, the sounds I do hear are just rocking my brain, for lack of better words. I can hear speech, mainly syllables and/or the separation of words, but very little-to-none of it makes any sense at all, it all sounds like morse code. And some sounds that I would expect to be loud, like the streets or say the subway, aren't really very loud or noticeable at all, while others, particularly music, just rattles my brain nonstop (music I'd have to say is the worst). Also, I am clearly hearing high pitched noises, like keys rattling, as it makes me want to cringe, but at the same time (and this is going to sound odd) I don't feel like I'm really "hearing it" per se, it has more of a blank feeling to it.

In the same vein, another item I've noticed has to do with "state changes". For example, if the water is running I can tell as soon it's turned on or when it turns off, but while it's on I probably couldn't say "oh, the water is running" or "the A/C is running". Similarly I can tell the difference between speech and music or say a tool being used, simply by the rhythmic nature of the sound patterns, but it is still just similar sounding 'noise' almost beating into my head. The one thing that does give me optimism though is that if stream a book directly to my processor via Audible, and I follow along with the related physical text, I can "hear" the words/sentences magically begin to form out of the text, I hear the book being read and can follow it (I've done this for 100 pages of a bio). It's a lot of focus though and very easy to lose my place and without the text I'd have no idea what the reader was saying, so I'm not sure what to truly think about this. 

So I guess my main question is, is this normal, particularly for someone who hasn't heard out of one ear for an extended period of time? Has somebody else with single-sided or double-sided deafness for an extended period of time experienced anything similar upon initial implantation that they could relay? Apologies that this message got a bit long.

Many thanks, 
Joseph

   

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Sounds a lot like my journey, constantly having to ask my spouse what each new noise I was hearing but I eventually sorted it out. Doing well on the audiobooks I must say. I didn’t start audiobooks for about 3 months kind of being overwhelmed by the whole process and at the start I could understand the words as long as I was reading along but was completely lost if I glanced away from the text. Now 1and 3/4 years in I can read whole paragraphs without looking at the text. I kept steadily getting worse in both ears from childhood and hearing aids never helped a bit so I’m likely climbing from a bigger hole so to speak. 

Has your audiologist suggested wearing an earplug in your “good” ear to help get used to the cochlear implant. I still do sometimes but wish I had done it more right from the start.

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@JosephG

Hello and welcome to HearPeers!  It’s always great to meet another NYEE CI user.

yes it’s all normal.  In fact, there is a huge range of normal at the beginning.  I will tag you in some aural rehab posts to give you ideas in addition to audiobooks.

My right ear had not processed any sound for 24 years before being implanted (It had heard prior to that.).

Which processors did you choose?

Wishing you the best.

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Here is a link that tells how my journey started.  

 

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@Hicksy Thanks for sharing your initial experience! It's good to be able to connect with people who come from somewhat similar starting points, though of course, everyone's path will be a little different. Regarding "wearing an earplug in your 'good' ear", that actually is something my audiologist strongly recommended and as such I have been trying to rely almost exclusively on my left (CI) ear, plugging my right ear to the extent I can and/or wearing noise-canceling headphones on my right ear alone. But to be frank, doing so has been extremely difficult because everything sounds like morse code or just plain horrible (though I've been sticking it out). So in your opinion, do you think it truly helps to improve the acclimation process? 

@Mary Beth
 Thank you for all of the extremely helpful aural rehab links/materials, greatly appreciated. Your video was also fantastic and might I say, encouraging. I actually ended up going with the Nucleus 7 sound processor with Kanso (I know, I know, it's not Med-El, which was the alternative that I was leaning towards, but with the recent MRI approval (3T) of the N7 coupled with the direct iPhone/iOS connectivity features and a few other things, I ended up being sold on the former  ... though of course the right ear is still open to change ;) ). Just broadly speaking though, everything just sounds so similar right now, lots of pure noise/hums/pitter-patter; and words, even knowing what they are (particularly with similar syllable counts) are very difficult to distinguish from one another, if at all. So in short, it's very easy to be discouraged and question whether the device is even working properly. So knowing that none of our journey's is identical, I still do find it quite helpful to see that we're not quite alone and that others were able to overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that confront the new user. That there might just be light at the end of the distant tunnel ...  

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I have minimal hearing in my “good” ear but still think it is best to block that ear as much as possible right from the start. This forces your brain to adapt quicker in my opinion. I wear an earplug a lot while listening to music as well. You will be surprised at how quickly you adapt while also being impatient it’s not quicker. I’m still not comfortable on the phone but I lost that ability over 30 years ago so the fact I can talk to some people blows me away. Considering the depths of hearing loss I had got to, the implant is simply amazing albeit not perfect (yet)😀

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@JosephG

The beginning weeks vary so much from person to person but are no indication of someone’s success with CIs over time.  Hang in there.  Trust the process.  Embrace aural rehab-it helps speed things up.

Wishing you the best.  Keep us posted.

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