Last week, August 30th, was my two year CI anniversary. Things were too crazy last week for me to do an "anniversary post" so I'll do one today. It's hard to believe that two years ago, the remnants of Hurricane Katrina blew through Knoxville during my surgery. Two years ago I could not hear birds singing, clocks ticking on the wall, hear the voice of a child, or even have a conversation on the phone. Today all of those things are possible with my CI's. Making the decision to go through surgery (twice) to hear better has been one of the best decisions I ever made and ranks right up there with the decision to marry my husband and have our four children.
On August 13th, I had my hearing tested with both CI's and recieved the audiological evaluation from Susie, my audiologist. Here are the results:
POST BILATERAL COCHLEAR IMPLANTATION
Laurie P. was seen for an evaluation on the above date. Medical history includes congenital genetic severe to profound bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
She wears two Cochlear New Freedom cochlear implants (CI). Mrs. P. received her first cochlear implant at the left ear in August 2005 and her second implant at the right ear in January 2007. She received aural rehabilitation training from October 2005 until September 2006. Sessions were scheduled one to two per week for 45 minutes each.
In July 2007 Mrs. P. was seen for consultation regarding aural rehabilitation therapy using the bilateral CI's. She reported much improved speech discrimination and spatial awareness with the second implant. Mrs. P. stated that background noise sounded like it was in the background now, not in her ear as it had previously with one implant only.
Audiological testing using narrow-band noise as the stimulus revealed aided thresholds within the normal range for the condition using both implants and using each implant individually. Speech discrimination testing using the Synthetic Sentence Identification test (SSI) was assessed in the following conditions:
Both CI's in a quiet condition at 60dB SPL: Outcome: 100% correct
Both CI's with competing background noise:Outcome: +10dB speech/noise condition - 100% correct; + 5dB speech/noise condition - 60% correct; 0dB speech/noise condition - 1st attempt 0%, 2nd attempt following testing at above stated S/N conditions 30% correct.
Right CI only with competing background noise: Outcome: +10dB speech/noise condition - 100% correct 0dB speech/noise condition - 20% correct
These findings indicate that the second implant provides some improvement in speech discrimination in a noisy condition. These findings did not show a robust difference between the monaural and binaural conditions, as expected. Mrs. P. indicated, however, she perceived more difficulty in the monaural condition. The difference in the scores in the binaural condition at 0dB S/N of the first attempt and second attempt is most interesting. This finding suggests that additional aural rehabilitation with the binaural CI's may provide additional speech discrimination in noisy situations.
Reported by: Susie R., M.A., CCC-A Audiologist
In layman's terms, this evaluation says that my comprehension in noise is 100% when the noise level is lower (or quieter) than the spoken words. When the level increases, my word comprehension goes down a little bit. But, when the same test was repeated after I had gone through 20-30 minutes of testing, there was a noticeable difference in comprehension after just a few rounds of "practice." This indicates that some A/V therapy with background noise would be beneficial. I cannot stress how important therapy is. . . and I'm a very stubborn person who doesn't think she needs help or thinks she can do it on her own. It is worth it and makes all the difference in the world.
However, Susie is returning to school to work on her doctorate so I do not have a therapist at this time and am waiting for my hearing & speech center to hire one. I will miss Susie but this is a great opportunity for her.
We are excited about this evaluation. Two years ago my word comprehension in noise was 0%!!!
Also, while I was in the booth being tested, I could hear every "little" sound I made, whether it was moving in my chair, crossing my legs, swallowing, turning my head, or even breathing. The booth is so sound proof that I felt like I had to hold my breath to minimize "extra noise" in order to be tested. Even silence seems to make a sound. When I told Susie that, she said that was a common complaint for normal hearing persons being tested.