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Kirk S.

Hello from an American CI recipient in Japan

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Hello, All.
 
This is just a quick introduction. My name is Kirk. I’m a retired American journalist now living in Tokyo, Japan. I received a Synchrony I implant with a Rondo 2 processor in early January, with activation a few weeks later. All seems to be going well, so far, but I wouldn’t mind suggestions or guidance from Forum users regarding the mapping and rehab process, which I know is extremely important. I’ve had terrific care from one of the leading hearing specialists in Japan — in fact, an entire team of them! — and my audiologists are dedicated and hard-working folks. However, there is a significant language barrier with English and Japanese; and I am one of the very first patients in Japan with Single Side Deafness to receive a CI. As a result, we’re still struggling a bit to communicate what I’m actually hearing through my new CI, what I should expect, and how we should proceed. I still have somewhat functional hearing in my “good” left ear, so of course, my brain wants to listen through this ear rather than my new CI. For rehab purposes, I’m using a neckloop to send sound directly to the CI for two or three hours a day (audio books; Med-El and YouTube videos; recorded word lists; musical tones; etc.). I’m pleased that I can understand most spoken words through the CI, though sound quality is still rather garbled and “robotic.” Overall, my hearing feels more comfortable now that I’m getting sound from both sides rather than just one and I’m sure the sound quality will improve over time. I know that listening “mileage” is a key part of the rehab process, so I’m in no rush and I plan to keep working at it every day. If anyone has any advice or guidance about the rehab and mapping process, I’d be happy to hear from you. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to send them along. Thanks!
 
Best,
Kirk

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Welcome @Kirk S.!

 

I will tag you in the topic of what helped me with aural rehab in case you find something there that interests you.

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Thanks, Mary Beth! As a matter of fact, I’ve watched your “Getting the Most Out of Your Cochlear Implant” video a half-dozen times. It’s one of several videos that I watch repeatedly via my CI/neckloop as a way to work on and measure my progress. The video is very well done and you have a nice message. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you from here in Japan. Best, Kirk

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@Kirk S.

Thanks for your kind words.

Have you met other Med-El CI users yet in Japan?

 

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No, not yet. I asked my doctor if he had any other American or English-speaking CI patients in Japan, but he said No. My doctor speaks excellent English (he did a research project at the University of Nebraska), but surprisingly few people in Japan speak English or any foreign language. Japanese is an extremely complex language, very different from English or other Western languages, so it takes a huge commitment of time and effort to learn. Since 98 percent of the population in Japan were born and raised here (as well as their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, etc., etc.) there’s little incentive to do so. I study Japanese regularly, but even after living here 10-plus years, I still can’t converse in Japanese very well. Especially so after I began to lose my hearing. Hopefully my new CI will make a difference. In the meantime, I think my best bet for “community” will be the Forum. Let me know if you have any ideas on that. Thanks! がんばりましょう! (“Ganbarimashou!” Which translates roughly as “Let’s all try hard to do our best and good luck to everyone!”)

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@Kirk S.

I am glad you joined the forum!

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