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(NL-0052) CI - Bilateral Experience

Posted Jan 17 2010 8:30pm

Nearly 2 months since I went CI bilateral. What a difference.

I had, pretty much, become very happy just hearing with my right CI. I thought I had been doing well, learning to re-hear, learning basic Chinese, and so on. I thought I had made some great progress, but now I see that it was all just a thin shadow of things to come.

How can I describe this; the sensation of hearing so well and from both ears at once?

The contrast is truly startling.

At first activation, I really didn't like the sound of the new CI. But I think this reaction is pretty common to everyone who first has a CI activated. I could understand the audiologist, but she sounded like she was muted; muted like a trumpet, every sound tainted. Just like the teacher's voice in those "Peanuts" TV shows.. .. "Wahh, Wahh, Wahhhhhh.."

In fact, for a couple of weeks (and for several remaps) it always sounded like that.

Then one day, I sat down to watch a bit of TV, just listening to the regular speakers (I can't use the audio cables to watch TV. My wife hates it when I use the CIs with any cable and, besides that, I don't have a bilateral cable).

I literally got the chills listening to the TV sound. It was in stereo. Even though the TV speakers are relatively close to each other (my bedroom TV is about 48 inches), I could tell, from way across the room, that the sound was in two places. I could differentiate between the sound channels. I got the same sensation that I recall from way back, 25 years ago, when stereo TV was a brand new feature (In 1985, I actually paid $150 for a special converter to add true stereo to my TV set, can you believe that?).

Also, I now notice that I can easily locate sounds, zeroing in on "general-to-exact" locations. It's pretty amazing to me that I can do that as well as I can. I remember that I could never find the source of a strange "beeping" noise in my home office (with only the first CI running). Now if anything makes a noise in my house, I know where it is. Simply amazing.

Outside it's also a lot better. I can identify not only the sound I hear (footsteps, cars, dogs barking), I can also tell where the sound is (behind me, to the right or left, or 100 yards away). Before becoming bilateral, outdoor sounds just generally confused me.

Just yesterday I discovered that I can hear and understand my PC speakers (mostly) without the direct cable connecting to my BTE. I haven't really tried to listen to music with both ears yet.. humm that gives me an idea....

it's 7:30 PM now [time passes here] Now it's 8:15! ... Sorry, got lost in my experiment.

I just tried playing my iTunes library via my PC speakers here in my office. Jeepers, that sounds really cool ! But I can tell the tiny speakers don't pass much of the low frequency bands (the bass). I'm going to see if I can set up some good speakers on a CD player tomorrow. So much for working on Monday !

Now I'm too excited ! Guess I'll have to order up a set of the bilateral cables for my N5s.


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