I've decided that being hairless-of-head is a good thing. At least as far as my bilateral CIs are concerned.
Having a clean noggin means that both of my BTE (behind the ear) processors and transmission loops are clearly visible to anyone and everyone.
This is good. It's a great way to meet total strangers because many people stop me and ask about my CIs and I am always happy to chat with people.
Tonight, I played baccarat with some friends and then headed up to my fave hot dog stand in the New York, New York Casino. As soon as I finished gathering my order up, a very nice young lady approached me and asked me about "those things on my head" (well, maybe that's not the exact phrase, but I liked the way she asked anyway!).
Her mother, who was with her, has in-the-ear-hearing aides, but is progressively loosing what little hearing she has left. They were both interested in asking about how the CI had worked for me and they were considering a CI as a possible hearing improvement/solution for the mother.
Well, folks, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know the answer to that question: my CIs work absolutely great! And, of course, I did say as much to the young lady and her mother. (Shameless plug: I also pointed them to this blog for additional information... if you read this, Mom and Daughter from New Jersey, please leave me a comment... and, thanks for visiting our city!).
Anyway, in spite of some feature creep and use issues I have with the newer Cochlear N5, I am, and have always been, very, very happy with my hearing restoration.
In the past month or so, I've had a couple of re-maps for both CIs (I am up to map #61!) and I really have had some substantial improvement in both speech recognition and in listening to music.
In fact, I found myself quite startled to be able to suddenly pick out every word of several albums that I had loaded into my iPod several months ago. The music still seems to sound off pitch here and there, but it's way and far away, better than it was at the start of my CI experience. It just took time, practice, and a several remaps to get to this point.
But back to meeting strangers.
Tonight, at the baccarat table, I also met a nice fellow who also asked about my CIs. He was a physician from the state of Tennessee. Apparently his wife also has a CI. We had a very nice chat.
I've also had the opportunity to meet with the Cochlear Representative and a larger group of Cochlear implantees folks here in Las Vegas. That was the very first time I met, face to face, with any other CI'ed adults. It was really nice to chat with them and listen to their stories.
But I think the very best personal CI encounter, so far, was when I was having my CIs remapped a couple of months ago. While I was chatting with my audiologist, a little girl, no more than 4 or 5 years of age, popped in the doorway and loudly proclaimed to her father "Look! Two!" (in reference to my two CIs). I was the first person she had ever seen with two CIs. It was way too cute.
In many ways the wonder and happy feelings of that little girl seem to be in all of the folks that stop and ask me about my CIs. I am, and always will be, amazed by that.