Pondering a book, but still seeking a stable map

Three weeks since my last post. I need to go to blogging confession again.

It’s not as if there isn’t plenty to say. In fact, I am thinking of writing a proper book about all this between now and next year, and have actually spent much of this morning thinking about a tentative outline and structure.

I had thought of just doing some kind of long-form article, but long-form journalism is a bit of a dying format particularly in Ireland, with the result that books are fast becoming the natural home for any in-depth journalistic investigation of a topic. Any journalist worth his or her salt is churning out books regularly, so this seems a good time to try.

The real question is, what angle to take? Getting a publisher interested would be another issue given the subject area, so this is why the angle would need to be very original. There’s always self-publishing, though.

Went for my 2nd mapping session on October 12. By this stage, there was certainly no sign of my implanted ear becoming the dominant ear, much less overwhelm my hearing aid ear, as apparently often happens. Things were quite faint in my implanted ear alone. My audiologist, Jacki, hinted that I had probably been a little bit conservative in terms of volumes during previous two mapping sessions, so I pledged to try to, for want of a better phrase, to be more adventurous this time. Cue a laborious run through 22 channels of calibrating beeps, each ascending in volume until they reach the point where they became either a bit too loud or just right.

Then she switched it back on: whoa. It literally felt like higher volts of electrical pulses were feeding into my auditory nerves. My facial reaction said enough that Jacki, without even me asking, immediately turned it down a bit. That’s better. Yes, nicely louder, and a bit sharper. Quite a difference. However, she still says I don’t have a ‘stable map’, which still means there is more fine tuning to come.

Minutes later, Jacki did an impromptu speech recognition test, in which I did slightly better than last time, but not that much (26pc or something). So far, these tests have been done straight after a fresh mapping, just when you are still getting used to the improved sound, so it possibly distorts the true results – it seems to me. There is possibly a method to this, but I didn’t ask Jacki at the time if there was. I will next time.

Roughly five days later, my implanted ear is actually feeling like its starting to become the dominant ear. When I take it off (but leave my HA on) it’s seriously quiet. Mind you, it’s probably being helped by my head cold, which in turn blocks up my sinuses and affects the hearing in my hearing aid ear. But stills feels like an important transition, a tipping point where my auditory cortex is just starting to get it, and wants more.

Yesterday, I tried listening to an automated voice emanating from the messaging system of my mobile phone operator, using my earphones in both ears. I understood about 80pc of what was said. Mind you, it’s was easy to guess the context. “If you want to record your voice greeting again, please press 4”.

I’ve been listening to an audiobook, and listened to one chapter a second time without reading it, and I got (I think) about 40-50pc of what was said, but only with full concentration.

But i can certainly follow online videos on youtube or RTE where i can at least see the speaker’s face. This is more than what i could manage five weeks ago.

It already feels like I’ve had this implant switched on for ages, but I have to keep reminding myself it’s only been five weeks. Peak adjustment is supposed to take up to a year.

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