Today was activation day for my cochlear implant. My new “aid”, the Advanced Bionics Neptune processor is small and sleek. I received a tiny portion of my kit, as they’d erred on shipment.
I didn’t know what to expect at all. I had heard “Robotlike, tinny, and to keep expectations low”. She had me take off my hearing aid and then placed the external microphone over the magnet in my head. After she turned on the processor I began to hear a few beeps. Then she programmed the first program into the processor. The first thing I noticed was a series of tones as she spoke and a sensation behind my forehead. This was normal she said, and that at first I’d hear different pitches and tones, rather than actual words or sounds.
She programmed the second program in and we adjusted the volume on both. She also said a few words to test speech comprehension. She listed four colours on a piece of paper, covered her mouth, and spoke them. Both times she did this, I only erred once. I did not hear her voice exactly as you would, but somehow in my head the tones sounded like the word she spoke. I was amazed.
The first week or so will be interesting as I and my brain acclimate to the new input and stimulation. Best way I can describe it is it is like tinnitus but varying in tones and pitches instead of a single tone or ringing.
Stay tuned tomorrow when I try the second program.