Sunday, March 1, 2015

New and Improved

Today is my 4th day with the new SCAN (scene classifier function) software from Cochlear. The new program is adaptive, and it responds to my listening environment by scanning for voices and changing the program automatically for different environments, providing me with the best listening program instantly. Under the old program, I had to change to different settings myself. This meant having to carry my remote assistant with me everywhere I went. It was cumbersome, I thought. The SCAN does the work for me and faster than me.

I must say that it has made a remarkable difference in the quality of my hearing already. My audiologist downloaded the new software into my N6 processor on Thursday with a warning that it would probably take me a couple of weeks to get used to it. "Some of my patients who've had the old software really hate SCAN," she said, "so I'm going to leave your old map on the #2 setting of your remote in case you want to go back to it. But really try hard not to go back until you give it a couple of weeks."

It didn't take me long to realize the automatic scan program is exactly what I want in my CI. The most noticeable difference is the muting of background noise. My CI had a constant "gurgling" of background noises -- from my car engine, the motor on the refrigerator, the fan of the heater, or any other typical background noise that normal-hearing people can filter-- noises that inundated my ears with constant and often annoying sound that made it difficult for me to focus on things I really wanted to hear. In truth, it drove me nuts.

The new software also makes it possible for me to use wireless accessories to hear the phone and TV. I paired my CI with my husband's wireless accessories. His hearing aid company and Cochlear are partners, so the accessories he had are compatible with my CI. The phone clip was absolutely awful. I won't be using it again. But listening to TV is a little better now than before.

This new program is so quiet that I find myself touching the microphones to make sure the CI is still on. Yet voices come through with perfect volume. Out of curiosity, I switched to the old map for a few minutes to compare it with the new SCAN program. The gurgle was still there, and it was loud. I won't be going back to that program anymore. It didn't take me a couple of weeks to know that SCAN is going to be better.

I have to admit that I have found CI hearing to be less than stellar. I listen to the accolades of other recipients and wonder why I'm not as thrilled as they seem to be. Though I can hear a great deal more with the CI than without it, and I don't regret my decision to get one, I have never been truly appreciative of the quality of the sound that comes through. Practice and focused listening exercises have made little improvement in that quality. My audiologist says it's because I know what things are supposed to sound like because I can still hear with my hearing aid in my other ear. That constant comparison is a continual reminder of how different it is to hear through a CI. The CI is limited. And I'm a perfectionist.

I am new and improved. Like any piece of technology, updates and improvements to my CI are a part of my life now. I have hope that these improvements will make things better and easier for me to hear and function better. At the very least, maybe they will help me appreciate my CI more.

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