Three Months Later

by William Jackson on 2013-01-18

On Wednesday Rebecca went in for her three-month appointment and I went along with her. We were actually a week shy of three months since Rebecca had her implant activated, but we are going to call this the three-month appointment anyway.

First, we sat down with Amy (the audiologist) and talked about how Rebecca felt she was doing. I got to pitch in a little and file my opinion that Rebeccaʼs hearing is getting better even though it is difficult to perceive the progress.

Next, Rebecca moved to the sound-proof booth to evaluate her hearing with the implant. Rebecca wrote previously about this evaluation process before she got the implant. The purpose of the evaluation at this appointment was to measure how much better her hearing is now compared to her hearing aid several months ago.

The evaluation for her right ear with her hearing aid (pre-implant) was about 25% comprehension. Today, with her implant, she scored more than 40% comprehension. In other words, she is hearing almost twice as well with the implant today as she was with the hearing aid three months ago.

But also in other words, when she only has sound to rely on (no lip-reading or other visual cues), she comprehends less than half of what anyone is saying. Amy and Rebeccaʼs goal is to reach at least 80% comprehension after one year with the implant.

I enjoyed being there because Amy was telling me all about the equipment and what she was doing with it while she was evaluating Rebecca.

After the evaluation was over we went to another room and Amy tweaked the power levels on the implant. Again, I got to watch Amy make changes on the computer and I learned a little about the software she uses to configure the implant. Of the 22 electrodes in the implant, Amy was only setting the power levels on 6 or 7 and letting the software automatically determine the settings for the remaining electrodes. This process is called interpolation.

It was nice (for me, at least) to see improvement in numbers, even if it is not necessarily an accurate depiction of how well Rebecca hears in the real world. I still think Rebecca is hearing better and is increasingly confident in her own hearing.

Rebeccaʼs next appointment with Amy is in three more months.