Switch on day!
Watch a short subtitled video of me at the hospital on my switch on day!
I entered a small consultation room with my dad and a video camera that Hearing Link had given me. The physicist (the guy who put the ‘electric drill’ through my ears a while back!) set the cochlear implant up. He explained he would first go through 22 channels and I would hear beeping each time. He would increase the volume of each programme until it reached a level that was uncomfortable.
The beeps were very strange at first. At the lowest volume, I could ‘feel’ them, rather than ‘hear’ them. As he increased the volume, it began to sound a bit more normal. I wasn’t aware there were 22 channels so it was quite a long process.
Then he told me he would switch the implant on and I would hear pretty much everything. Wow, what a lot of noise! I clutched my hands to my ears. TOO LOUD!
It was all beeps, and crackles. There were also squeaking and swishing noises. The physicist spoke – squeak SQUEAK squeeeeeeeak beep? – if I hadn’t been lipreading him, I would have had no clue what he was saying.
Then there was a strange beeping and squeaking. Where is it coming from? Oh its stopped now…hang on, is that my voice??
Then there was a continuous beeping. No one was speaking. The physicist grinned and pointed upwards. The fire alarm was flashing. I had heard the fire alarm test! It was loud!
Its now three days post activation and I’m still hearing beeping and squeaking! Nothing sounds as it should. It’s very annoying but I know it won’t last.
In a way it is also good because I’m hearing things beep and squeak when before I hadn’t even known it made a sound – scratching my head, my jewellery jangling, footsteps, car indicators, the tapping of my dad sending a text message, my breathing coming out in a big ‘whoooooosh’…
I’m trying to avoid busy environments because it’s just a barrage of squeaks and beeps. When I’m home alone, it’s a lot easier to tell where the beeps are coming from!
I’m also getting really really tired and getting lots of headaches. The temptation to take the speech processor off is huge but I have been told not to, and I won’t, because I need to get used to the noises and it will never start to make sense unless I bear with it.
I was given two programmes on my Cochlear Implant to start with – programmes one and two. I’m currently on programme one and I’ve to switch to programme two at the weekend. I hope the beeping will go away when I do. I’m getting rather beeped off!
I go back to the Cochlear Implant Centre next week to report back and get some more adjustments. I will have to return several times in my first year and hopefully after each visit, things will start to sound gradually more normal!