Monday, April 25, 2011

Beach Trip

This was Natalie's 2nd beach trip, but 1st with cochlear implants. I was hesitant about letting her even wear them at the beach, for fear she would pull them off and get them in the sand and water. But we tried it out and she did great. We kept the sun hat on her the whole time as well, and I think the ocean and waves were so much of a distraction she didn't pull her processors off. We had a great time and I am glad we decided to have her wear them. (although I was always making sure they hadn't fallen off.)

Natalie with her daddy

she got a good taste of the sand

at the Charleston, SC aquarium

mommy and Natalie

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ear Gear

Natalie - 11 weeks hearing

I thought I would do a post about all of Natalie's ear gear. It is quite the set-up. When we first went for Natalie's activation day, we got this huge box of stuff which includes everything from ear hooks, magnets, batteries, remote controls, chargers, coils and many more accessories. And that box was just for 1 ear, so we have 2 boxes stored nicely in our closet now. 

We have quite a few extras of things to get started and over time we will have to order new things as things get damaged, wear out. We do have a 3 year warranty on the main stuff, and I had some dud batteries that were replaced. Cochlear was great about  replacing things and we have gotten it pretty quickly. And we always have our back-ups if we really needed them.

For a while we just had everything kind of spread out on my dresser plugged in, but it made more sense to buy a charging station to keep everything in one spot. We just plug it in at night to charge everything.  Natalie's magic ears consist of 3 parts; the actual processor, battery and then the coil that attaches to her head. The grey machine is a de-humidifier that I put the processors in each night (after cleaning them), then charge the batteries and put the coils in the drawer. We can manually change the programs and turn on/off the processor or she has the remote control that can do all of that and more.

We also have a cochlear backpack for traveling to store all of the gear. We have traveled once so far with everything, and it was fine. We have yet to fly, so I am interested how airport security will be. I am on a couple of CI forums on facebook and yahoo, and most people say it isn't a problem. Guess we will have to wait and see.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Making Progress - 10 Weeks Hearing

Natalie knows her name!

She turns to it most of the time now. 
So sweet!


This one of Natalie's 6 LING Sounds.
She has responded well to this high pitch frequency. 
She is now also responding to "s".
Our AVT teacher said CI kids usually hear the high pitch sounds easier for some reason.


Natalie's favorite toy!
She loves the train table and all the trains.
This is the first thing I feel like I have asked her to do,
and she actually goes after it.

Now... if my almost 3 year old with NORMAL hearing, would just learn to listen!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Audiology Visit

We had another appt last Tuesday for Natalie. I was able to drive up with a good friend from Charlotte. Her 3 year old also happen to have bilateral CI's and we got our appointments scheduled together. It made the drive go by a lot quicker and was great to visit.

The waiting room at the CCCDP where we go is so cute. Natalie's ENT's (Dr. Buchman) wife painted this mural (and other walls) with cute colorful animals. I believe she painted this in just one afternoon free hand. Each animal is wearing a cochlear implant on their ears. 3 animals representing the 3 different companies that make CI's (Cochlear, MED-EL and Advanced Bionics.) 

Natalie uses the Cochlear brand.

Natalie had another booth test. Her audiogram looks about the same as last visit, except that she is hearing in the 500 frequencies now. We were not able to pick that up on the first audiogram. Both audiograms just tested the left ear. We will test both ears next time. Since the right ear had only been activated for 1 month, it was too early to test that ear. 

The reliability of the test is fair/good right now. Natalie started picking up on what she needed to do during the testing about halfway through. Normally once a sound is produced, she should turn her head to the animals and blinking lights. She did that about half the time. So, they go off her eye movements to detect whether she is hearing the sound or not. I hope she catches on quickly. I want good, reliable tests so we can get accurate mapping for her. We need to know exactly what frequencies/decibels she is hearing at so we can adjust her processor accordingly. I also realize this is only 9 weeks into this whole process. I am just anxious and never was good with being patient.

So another month and we go back up for more testing and changing the programs on the processors.

In the meantime, I have to always been on guard with her processors. Whether we go to the grocery store, target, the park... I am always make sure we have 2 processors on her ears. Wouldn't want to lose this expensive piece anywhere!

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