It happened. I had my first major issue with my processor last night. Hubby had a YouTube video on that had REALLY annoying techno music and it was really grating on my nerves so I started to ask him if he could turn the sound down. As soon as I began to speak, my voice sounded like I had become possessed by demons. Then came high pitched squealing and whistling. Everything sounded horribly loud and distorted. I quickly removed my processor and checked it to see if there was anything obviously wrong. Put it back on, and the same thing happened. Voices sounded like a voice scrambler was being used, deep, robotic, and garbled. Tried changing programs and it seemed to work but after a few minutes the garbled sound returned. I was devastated!
They say when it rains, it pours; well that was me last night. After coming to the realization that I no longer had any natural hearing left, to then lose my processor on the same day was a massive blow. I pretty much fell apart in a million pieces and a puddle of tears. Of course the worst scenarios played through my head; what if the implant has failed? What if my ability to hear has suddenly degraded and I never hear properly again?
I packed everything in to my dry box for the night and said a prayer that things would be better in the morning. Shot an email to my audi, begging for her to squeeze me in today. Woke up this morning and with great trepidation, hooked up my processor. The garbled sounds were gone, but everything was painfully loud! I had to turn down the volume quite a bit to keep from wincing with every sound. My audi responded first thing and said she could squeeze me in at 2:30.
When the time came for my appointment and I got hooked up, everything appeared to be working normally! Part of me was relieved while the other part was frustrated. What on earth would cause that kind of “malfunction”. I really don’t want it to happen again but since we don’t know why it happened, we have no way of knowing if it will happen again. We tried another processor with the same map and while I didn’t get the distorted sounds, it too was painfully loud. So we remapped my processor and turned down the levels on a few of the electrodes to where it was comfortable and stored both the new and old maps in separate programs. This way if I find I’m not hearing so well with the new map, I can go back to the old.
The last thing we did before I left her office was to check the hearing in my left ear. I sat in the booth waiting for her to start the test and after a few minutes she got up and came in and said, nope – it’s gone. I really didn’t think she had even started the test. So, I was correct… There is no natural hearing remaining.
However, today was not all bad. I heard birds chirping for the first time since going deaf! Not just that, I actually heard the fluttering of their wings as they flew around the shop entrance I was about to go in. I stood there for a good couple of minutes with a big goofy grin on my face, reveling in the sound. They were just plain sparrows, but are honestly one of my favorite birds – as a child, I rescued countless sparrows (much to my parents chagrin, I’m sure). How fitting that the first birds’ song I hear would be that of a sparrow. Once again, I am reminded of the blessing of my bionic ear and the beauty of this noisy world.