Elvis (not his real name...heh), the audiologist at Johns Hopkins Listening Center, was very pleased with my progress on Wednesday, when I had my one-month checkup. He compared Wednesday's audiogram to the one he took on my first visit, pre-implant, and said, "This is fantastic!" For 250Hz, I scored a 10; for the next four (500Hz-4000Hz), a 20; and for the highest sounds (8000Hz), a 30. This puts my hearing in the "normal" range. Who knew??!! In the old days, the best I could do even with a hearing aid at 250Hz was 75, and all the rest went down past 100, making me profoundly deaf.
He said also that it takes two years for the implant to work at its optimum, and after just one month, I'm not anywhere near my peak efficiency yet. I don't think this means I'm gonna wind up hearing in the dog ranges, but it will mean that the sounds I'm hearing now will be richer and fuller, and speech without lipreading will be more recognizable. Even so, we let the sign language interpreter go, since I no longer need her to understand what Elvis is saying.
He re-mapped the four programs again so that program One will now be my usual setting, and it's both loudest and most sensitive. (Sensitivity picks up background noises.) So if I really want to hear what's going on everywhere, not just straight across a table from me or next to me on the metro, it'll be One. Program Two is about as loud as One, but not as sensitive. Three is fairly soft--less volume, and even less sensitivity--and it's focused. Four is very soft, and I can't imagine ever wanting to use it, but The King said many people prefer Three or even Four all the time. Everything else is too much.
When I got up this a.m., I put on my processor, now set at program One, and headed out. Running late, I grabbed a taxi. After settling in, I realized I was hearing the news on the radio, not the taxi driver: "It's 68 degrees in Washington; the time is 9:07." This means I was not lipreading the newscaster, but I was actually hearing him. Needless to say, I love it.
For practice last night, inspired by a number of things, I put a new disk in my CD player: The Klazz Brothers & Cuba Percussion's "Mozart Meets Cuba"
All I can say is that if I had a mind left, that disk would have blown it. It's Mozart's tunes played with a Cuban flavor by a bunch of jazz musicians. One thing Restak, the author of Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot, says in the chapter on art & music is "Perhaps Mozart can help you develop the ability to engage in multilevel thinking and thus use your brain in more creative ways." Well, what would Mozart played as Cuban jazz do to a brain? I'd say it'd give it a big boost in functioning. We'll see. My memory is still half shot from the three pain-killers I took after the implant surgery, but it's getting better. However, as mental stimulation, listening to "Mozart Meets Cuba" beats the hell out of watching "Throw Down by Bobby Flay" on the Food Network. Genug with the barbeque, already!!