Kimberley Chan

One Year Later….Your Questions Answered

Today is my CI anniversary! It’s been exactly one year since I had my CI surgery in Quebec City. I could hardly hear anything, and couldn’t imagine what things would be like in one year.

Fast forward, I’m in cold, rainy, snowy Montreal, still catching up on getting my life back and looking forward to some music and dance events this weekend.

Over the past few months, I’ve received many questions about my progress. Thanks to all of you who reached out! I needed all the support I could get, and definitely felt it from all of you. Here are the answers to the most common ones:

Can you understand music?
Yes! Almost everything, except mumbly/muffled/scream-o singing!

Do you find this thing on your head a burden?

Well…this ‘thing on my head’ is a blessing. But at times, it can be a burden. I love that I can wear it while swimming and not worry about missing out on anything. On the downside, I have to be careful when I move around a lot…and that’s often because I’m a very active person. I’m dancer and whenever I dance I have to make sure to secure the CI so it doesn’t go flying off. Same thing for when I work out. Even when I lay down, the behind-the-ear part will usually slip out. I use this thing called the Snugfit to hold it down and it works well, but I hate having to stop what I’m doing to assemble it.

Can you hear people speak from far?
Yes, as long as it’s not too noisy. Also, if I really want to, I can hear through walls

How well can you hear in noisy places?
Not perfectly of course, but better than I could than with the hearing aid. I can control what I hear. In noisy places like restaurants, I can dim the background noise and turn up whoever is speaking, or whatever dominant noise there is. Sometimes, this allows me to hear better than someone with normal hearing in noisy environments. Back in Novemember, I was out at a bar watching the US Presidential elections (yes, I went that route), and because I wanted to hear what everyone around me was saying, I put it on SCAN. I could hear most of the conversation, and occasionally, understand what people were saying at the table next to us. Because we were close to the TV, I could catch a few words from the TV once in awhile – with the hearing aid, I was never able to even hear any sound from the TV in a bar as the background noise would down it out.

Is the CI really more powerful than the hearing aid?
Yes – way more powerful. This was actually surprising, considering that my audiologist told me that we would never be able to match the power that my good old analog hearing aid would bring. There was a lot of playing around and may I reiterate, a lot of frustration in getting there. Raising the threshold on my mapping and creating a program that had no treatment did the trick.

Do you need to lipread?
Nope, which is good since I’m not a fantastic lipreader. I may have to once in awhile in a really noisy place, but other than that I can pretty much hear everything.

Can you hear without the CI?
Nope. I lost all my residual hearing with the surgery. The first few days after the surgery were really weird.

Got questions? Send them to me. I answer every email personally, and will put the most interesting questions here.

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