K.L.s Wondering Mind

Location: Des Moines, Washington, United States

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Third Mapping

Rachel had her third mapping session yesterday. They are kind of boring and tiring for her, but she is doing well. She was able to tolerate the activation of the lower electrode array, and that is a good thing. She got dizzy briefly, but it went away, and now she says it is fine. Adding the lower electrodes will widen her pitch range, and make it easier for her to understand lower frequency tones. Here is a booth test of her right ear, before the lower electrodes were activated.
The shaded area is what is generally considered the speech banana; the area of sound that most speech falls into. While Rachel cannot yet distinguish words with her right ear, the sound is now coming in well enough for her brain to have something to work with. She starts speech/language therapy for her right ear tomorrow.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Second Mapping

Rachel's second mapping had a hardware glitch. She was given two processors at activation, a pink one and a blue one (her choices). The pink one refused to accept a new map in the P1 slot. (There are four slots). It took a half hour to figure out that the pink processor was defective. Luckily, the blue one works just fine. So the pink one is getting sent back to be replaced, and she got her second set of maps loaded onto the blue processor, and the hearing journey continues...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Activation Day

Rachel's right ear is receiving signals for the first time in over 10 years. So what is she hearing? Bells. Yes. She describes the sound as computerized chimes and bells. But she is fine with that. She has been moving the map from the quietest setting up and up as the bells get too quiet. She has already gone from her first map to her fourth, and her next mapping session is another day away. For whatever reason, the bells don't seem to bother her. What a trooper.

The only minor set back during yesterday's mapping is that they were not able to activate all the electrodes. Because of the ossification in her cochlea, she received a split array. The upper array has 8 electrodes inserted, and the lower array has 3. When they tried to activate the lower array electrodes, she complained of being dizzy. It could not be isolated to any single electrode, so for now, they have simply left the lower array electrodes turned off. We will see how it goes at tomorrow's mapping session.

This is a long journey, and we are just out of the starting gate. It will be several weeks before we get a good indication of how much she will be able to get out of her right ear, and it can be up to a couple of years to maximize her ability to discriminate sound on that side. But the race is finally started, and for that, I am profoundly grateful.