Thursday, December 15, 2016

One Week with a Cochlear Implant

The initial phases of having a cochlear implant requires a lot of programming to adjust amount of current going to each electrode. This process is called MAPping, and Nolan will be going back to NYU frequently in December to get new MAPs. We went back this Tuesday-Wednesday to fine tune his hearing.

He has adjusted very rapidly to the cochlear implant and prefers it to his hearing aid, though he definitely does better in noise when he has two ears to hear (and his hearing aid is required for school to verify he is getting the best signal possible). 

Within 48 hours of switch-on, he was playing the piano. He states the sound is a little bit different, with emphasis on the "little bit." This is spectacular, as we were concerned the piano might sound significantly different to our budding pianist. 

A week later, he declares the sound as "normal" and happily plays the piano. We are impressed and did not expect the adjustment to happen so quickly.

He was also able to hear in the water for the first time. He loves the Neptune for this purpose. The Neptune cannot do all of the things the Naida can (noise programs, etc.) but it is perfect for water use. It does require a slightly stronger MAP than his Naida to get the same sound quality for Nolan.

We drove back to NYU on Tuesday after working and going to school for half a day. Nolan had a rough start in the morning as he was tired and is not a morning person. MAPping was a little difficult because he would point to a 5 (out of 10) for sound volume - the target is a 6 - and then point to a 4 when his audiologist increased the sound. This is inconsistent so we did some MAPping with live voice and found a good program for him. Talking to him later, he wanted it "louder" so when she would increase the volume, he would point to a 4 to make her increase it even more. We told him that he should be consistent with the number he chooses and not make it relative - hopefully our next MAPping session will be a little easier.

His new MAP is fantastic and he was given two different MAPs to use - one at a stronger level than the other. He set himself to the second program by the time we went over for his speech assessment.

The AVT was thrilled with his progress and obtaining a cochlear implant was clearly the right decision for Nolan. His speech understanding has soared from 36% best aided to over 90% in just one week. This is not a formal assessment since he has not been tested in the booth yet, but informally he understands most single-syllable words without speech reading using his implant alone. He won't need to be seen by the speech/language department again at NYU until we're at a year post-implant. We will be going to University Hospitals in Cleveland to have an assessment and determine what we should work on.

We were going to pick up his new Link hearing aid on Tuesday, but decided to hold off until our next session. Since Nolan still has 2 MAPs loaded and the hearing aid can only hold one program, we will wait until the 27th when Nolan has just one MAP loaded.

He has loved his "noise" program, which allows him to hear whoever he is facing and blocks out background noise. We also added an "echo" program for use in the gym, where reverberation is an issue. So he has four programs - MAP 1 (which he is not using as it is too quiet already), MAP 2 (the program he is on most of the time), Program 3 (noise) and Program 4 (gym/reverberation).

We are glad we have a little break from traveling back and forth to New York City. We will go back on the 27th and get another MAP and his hearing aid.

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