As we human beings grow up, we get bigger, hopefully better, although never perfect. Nature likes to throw curve-balls, forcing us to adopt exercise or medicine or body adjustment changes to recover and improve our well-being.
Some of us actually transform into semi-technical creatures. In order to hear, I’m a battery-operated person with my hearing aid and electrically-powered with my cochlear implant. This electrode array in my cochlea has turned me into a computer; I have stuff operating inside my head! In this computer, the Cochlear technology is the hardware—and I’m the software; I control my own hearing success through a variety of communication strategies.
So—what do I need to understand?
- How cochlear implants work and how my brain makes sense of the universe’s sound signals.
- How to turn the sound processor on and off, keep it from falling off, get the batteries in and out. (Hint: it takes repeated attempts with fingernails, until you remember the magnetic battery-remover they gave you.)
- What’s in that powerhouse of a sound processor—the listening programs, status information, how sound can be tweaked, etc.
- The CI’s technical add-ons, the magic that connects us to the world of people and nature.
- That we’re now in rehab! Aural rehabilitation is ongoing (for most of us), taking weeks, months, years, but at least we can do it from the comfort of our own homes at our own pace, rather than at a treatment center, with weekend passes.
- That the big payoffs only come from—Practice, Practice, Practice. (This was a direct order from my surgeon.)
So—who and what helps us to learn all this?
Small, Wonderful Black Things
- Our audiology and medical team
- Reading the many manuals that explain the equipment, which includes many small black things that look alike and all must be charged.
- Watching online CI videos and reading other CI blogs
- Online aural rehab programs and exercises
- Other CI recipients and their family members
- Support from the cochlear implant manufacturer
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