A month after having my cochlear implant surgery, the implant was activated on Friday. After the audiologist said “It’s time to turn you on…are you ready?” I kept a straight face and said that I was, and she clicked something on her computer, and boom, activation complete.
I’ve done a shit ton of reading about cochlear implants over the past few months. As with anything that I set my sights on, I completely immersed myself in all of the information available, from ear anatomy to implant brands to user experiences. My husband jokingly told the audiologist that I probably know as much as they do by now that I’ve researched so much (someone was feeling ignored).
From what the audiologist told me and from what I’ve read, there was a range of possibilities for how activation was going to go for me. It was highly unlikely that I would be able to understand words, pretty darn likely that I would hear beeping and clicks and other noises, and possible that I would hear next to nothing. Being the optimistic person I am, I put my money on hearing sounds, but the sounds being so painful that I wanted to rip the implant out.
That wasn’t the case, fortunately!
When it was turned on, it was very overwhelming at first. I definitely heard a lot of sounds, but everything was robotic sounding and hard to make out what was what. After wearing it for a few days and working with the rehab apps I was told to download, I can actually understand some words already! (I plug the ear that isn’t implanted so I can practice with the implanted ear only.) Not so much with conversations, but when my husband plays categories and says a word or two at the time, if I focus really hard, I can make it out more than half of the time. That doesn’t sound very impressive, I know, but from what I’ve read of other cochlear implant experiences, this is really good! (It can take a year+ for some people to understand words at all.)
I bought a couple of skins to jazz up my processor. The Wonder Woman skin didn’t work out, but this Rebel Alliance one turned out nicely!