Cochlear Implant Goes Live

About two months ago I wrote an article about my hearing loss and the surgery I had for the Baha 5 Cochlear bone implant. I wanted to write an update on what’s happened since then!

First, the healing process took longer than originally scheduled. We were initially supposed to do the fitting on April 26th (my dad and great nephew’s birthdays), but my surgeon said he wanted to allow more time. So the big turn-on happened on May 17th!

It was a little disappointing to have to delay it, but at my daughters’ (yes two!) graduation party, some friends and I were talking about the magnet in my head. One asked, “So do things stick to the magnet?” That started a monumental experiment called “Will It Stick?”

I actually got three jumbo clips to stick, but here’s two for you!
I found a rusty screw. It stuck. My audiologist was less than happy that I put a rusty screw so close to my incision. My bad.
The washer stuck.

As you can see from the photos, many items did stick! Not pictured are the binder clip, prongs for those weird files attached at the top, an earring, and more! Heavier items just refused to stay on … nail clippers and a letter opener, for example.

When the day finally arrived, I had so hoped my family could be there with me, but due to one daughter’s FORMER (thank goodness) jerk boss and a medical situation, only my oldest daughter was able to come. Her help was invaluable as we tried to test the bluetooth mic accessory, but it didn’t work well for me so I switched to another accessory – a mini-mic. What’s cool about the mini-mic is I can set it next to the tv and the sound boosts automatically to the processor. Or if I go to the grocery with my husband, he can carry the mini-mic with him and can just say, “Hey best wife in the entire world and smartest person I know, where are you? I’m on aisle 13.” and I’ll hear him from across the store. (He doesnt’ really say that to me… usually he just calls me Katherine or Kathy.)

When the actual devise was connected to the magnet implant, there was no immediate “Aha!” moment because I already had full hearing in my left ear. I could really tell it was working, however, when Dr. Ford told me to put a finger in my good ear and I could hear. That was probably my most emotional moment words were no longer just muffled sound.

So three weeks later, I’m still conditioning my scalp for full use. I was instructed to start out slowly (just two hours a day of use). I wore the device for about six hours today and for the first time felt my office was “loud” when I heard some of our contractors talking.

Another really interesting discovery is just how many people are hard of hearing. I have heard so many stories about life without hearing. One man told me about his wife’s auditory tumor that resulted in major surgery and the complete removal and reconstruction of her ear. A mom today told me how scared she was to go the implant route though a doctor advised it for her autistic child (she keeps removing the regular hearing aids). Another gentleman described his brother’s profound hearing loss and how impressed he was to hear a donkey bray. I will never ever understand how there is dental insurance, vision insurance, health insurance, and prescription insurance, but hearing doesn’t seem to be a priority in our society. And it’s shocking the number of people I’ve discovered who can’t hear and need help.

So when I had the device fitted, I went FB-live. My daughter has edited that video from 15-minutes to just under 5-minutes. If you’re interested!

Thanks for reading! Hear you soon!

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