Sunday, May 5, 2013

Six-Month Check Up

On Wednesday, April 24, I had my six-month check up with Amy at Austin Ear Clinic.  Can you believe it's been six months?  Our visit started out with a "How is everything going?"-type question.  I didn't have a good answer!  I guess I'm doing well enough.  The changes to my hearing are pretty much imperceptible, so I don't know whether I'm improving upon the hearing that I had with my hearing aid.  I told Amy as much--it seems like I'm where I remember being with a hearing aid in terms of my ability to participate in different listening situations.  The car, restaurants, group conversations, and church are all still terribly challenging environments.  Amy nodded at all of this knowingly.  She suggested that I start this here blog up again and use it to make notes about the things that I'm hearing.  That way, I can keep better track of what sounds are being added to my repertoire.

Then Amy did some more testing and tweaking of my processor.  I'd been wearing it at maximum volume for at least the last month, so Amy added a little more power.  She also said that I had a greater tolerance for high frequencies than is to be expected for my level of hearing loss. (Remember how I was able to hear the "ssss" sound clearly?  That isn't normal, apparently.)  And she also suggested that I try increasing the sensitivity, a detail that is probably meaningless to most of my readers, but I'm putting it here as a note to my future self.

From there, we headed back to the sound booth to test my progress in terms of listening comprehension.  It was the same deal as my pre-implant testing and my three-month check: I listened to ten sentences from different speakers with the topic unknown and then Amy read ten more sentences. This is the test that I hate because I've always been unable to understand so little.  But this time was different.  As the sentences played through, I felt like I could understand a good part of them and asked for repeats on just a few of the sentences.  After the test, Amy tallied up the results and said that I'd gotten an 82% comprehension.  This happened to be the same set of sentences used in my pre-implant baseline test, where I'd gotten a piddly 25% comprehension.  I was pretty happy with those results, and it would seem that the only direction from here is up.  (I just went back and read William's post about my 3-month follow-up appointment.  In that post, he mentions that Amy's goal for me was to be at 80% comprehension one year after surgery.  This is something that I'd forgotten all about.  But looky at me, six months after surgery, and I've already met that goal!)

The last thing we talked about is when I can get an implant in my left ear.  Yes, after all the ups and downs of recovering from my first surgery, I am seriously thinking about getting my left ear implanted.  A large part of that decision is financial and relates to insurance out-of-pockets and deductibles being used up before the end of the current plan year.  Boring stuff, really, but still an important consideration when thousands of dollars are at stake.  Anyway, Amy and I talked about this for a while, but what she told me boiled down to, "Just tell us when you're ready, and we'll get you on the surgeon's schedule."  So, it's entirely up to me.  Stay tuned.

One last thought.  This blog is named after the Primary song, "Heavenly Father Loves Me."  The first line is "Whenever I hear the song of a bird..."  This spring, it seems to me that the bird choirs are out in full force because I'm hearing the songs of birds anytime I go outside (and sometimes even when I'm inside I hear birds chirping away.)  I've never noticed the song of a bird quite so clearly as I have this year.  Last week, I heard the sound of a bird flapping its wings and smiled a little that I could hear "the magical sound" of something new. 


  1. I'm glad we were able to hear the birds with you today. Thanks for the walk and way to go exceeding your goals! You are awesome and I love ya!

  2. Great job exceeding your goals! That is impressive :)