The Difference Between Test Scores and Life

I have been waiting for my audiologist to scan and e-mail me my scores. But, atlas, she has probably been busy. So I am going to give you approximates.

I went into see my audiologist a week and a day ago. We did our usual adjustments followed by questions and answers before I made my way to the sound booth. I had been nervous about this test all week. It really felt like a test I was going to fail, miserably. Let me explain; I have been at odds mentally for awhile now. Now that the CI has started to sound better, I have noticed that the more I wear it, the worse my hearing aid sounds. A lot of people say this is a good thing; I am hearing things I’ve never heard before with my hearing aid and I’m hearing it at a louder level. It just still doesn’t sound quite right and honestly sounds frustrating. My audiologist sat down with me before the test and explained to me that I need to start accepting that my cochlear implant is the “normal” one, not my hearing aid. She said that many people are trying to “make” their CIs sound like their hearing aids and that is simply not going to be the case: the CI can turn the volume up louder than a hearing aid can and a CI can “hear” more frequencies. I think that has been my frustration which has led to me to putting my CI aside, once again, in favor of my hearing aid.

The other thing that was interesting was that when I walked into the audiologist office, my CI was on “directional microphone” and at a sensitivity level of 4. This meant that I was hearing what was in front of me and not very far away from me either. I couldn’t hear things behind me or further than like a foot in front of me. It just goes to show my lack of tolerance for loud noises!!!!

I’m afraid of letting go of what I’ve known for the last 23 years. I purposely got my right side implanted to avoid this, and what do you know, I have to do it anyways. I think everyone is scared of change, and that’s what makes a cochlear implant so controversial.

So back to the sound booth. She did a normal hearing test with only the cochlear implant on and two sentence-recognition tests: one in quiet and one in noise. I could not lip read.

My hearing in my right ear pre-surgery was at about 110 dBs. When she got done with the hearing test, it was at 20 dBs; which puts me up there at “normal” hearing. All I can say is “Holy smokes”.

The sentence recognition tests were amazing too. I got 82 percent of the sentence-recognition test in quiet correct and 51 percent in noise correct. This is up from I believe 13 percent and 0 percent respectively.

In my right ear (with my hearing aid), I only got 38 percent in quiet! It is such a huge difference.

I was sent home with homework:

  • Increase the sensitivity setting on my CI.
  • Listen with just my CI for an hour or more each day.
  • Work on listening skills with a book from Advanced Bionics.

I go back Thanksgiving.


2 responses to “The Difference Between Test Scores and Life

  1. Oh hon, your audiologist is absolutely right. It is so difficult to associate hearing with a CI compared to years and years with a HA. Sound takes a while to normalize and it does get frustrating but the more therapy you do, the more tweaking is done the more that moment of “Wow that really sounds good!” will come.

  2. those are huge differences on the percentages. i won’t even pretend to understand any of the confusion or frustration of changing everything you know.

    it’s that whole cliche of what’s normal? “the norm” or what’s “normal” for YOU. most would argue the latter.

    that’d be really, really tough to go with what she said about not using your HA as the control group. hopefully it’s a scenario where you start getting more and more what you want out of it šŸ™‚

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