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Pacific Northwest Cochlear Implant Club Newsletter

The official newsletter for the Pacific Northwest Cochlear Implant Club.

Volume 8 Issue 5 Fall 1999

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Implant Picnic

September 18th

 

FISHING FOR A FUN TIME? Join us for the annual "Summer" gathering of cochlear implant users, family, and friends and ALL others interested in cochlear implants!

When? Saturday, September 18th, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Where? Gas Works Park, Seattle, WA Picnic shelter #2.

Bring? Salad or dessert to share. Drinks, hotdogs, and

Hamburgers will be provided.

RSVP: Wendy Russell: 206-528-5118 v/tty.

E-mail wrusse@chmc.org

Directions will be sent if needed.

[Editor’s note: This event is co-sponsored by Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the University of Washington Medical Center Cochlear Implant Programs. It would be helpful, but not necessary, if you can advise what you intend to bring. Also, we will need to know the number of adults and children in your party. Everyone is invited regardless of where you obtained your implant, type of implant you have or plan to obtain, or implant center you have selected. We especially urge you to encourage those thinking of an implant to attend and meet those already implanted. This event is for both adults and children.]

 

N24 a Success

By Rio Childs, Seattle

My name is Rio Childs and I don't know if you remember me but I sure remember you. I had my C.I. on February 2nd, 1999. Had my first map on March 2nd. I had emailed you about 2 weeks after surgery. I was feeling completely overwhelmed with the total silence that had become part of my life after the surgery and just wanted to talk to someone who had "been there". You were kind enough to reply to my email, to share your success with me and to offer some simple advice ... be patient. Well .. I wanted to share with you, and feel free to share with others if you see fit, that patience brought me a miracle! No other word for it.

From the very first day of my first map .. my world has changed in so many positive ways. I'm one of those sentimental folks so small things mean a great deal to me. I'm hearing birds again, twigs snapping underfoot, water running in the back of the house, planes flying overhead, the difference in tones in the ring of the phones at work, the fax machine dialing it's number, the buzzer being rung from downstairs. And even more importantly .. I joined friends for dinner at a pretty lively place and it was wonderful. I was not only able to hear the conversation .. but I understood it! I participated, I laughed! I had stopped going out like that a long time ago .. it just left me frustrated and feeling lonely. Not any more!!

And work .. oh my goodness .. my confidence has soared. And I've learned that all this time I've felt so left out and so worried about all that I missed ... well it turns out that a lot of what I was missing wasn't all that important anyway .. but the thing is .. I can understand these conversations and staff meetings and make that determination for myself now.

On the day of my first map I had to go visit Dr. Gates as I had some problems with a few stitches not dissolving. Dr. Sanborn had already talked to Dr. Gates to let him know how well the first mapping session had gone. I'll never forget this next part .. Dr. Gates held up a file folder in front of his face and said: "Four score and seven years ago". And I heard and understood what he said and couldn't even see his face. I spent a lot of that day and several days after in tears. They were joyful tears .. no doubt. Dr. Gates, Sue Sanborn, Jenny and Tina are the very best. They have been with me and for me throughout this whole process, which started about 3 three years ago. Their patience with me has paid off beyond any expectation that I had. There are a few spots that are not comfortable yet .. music isn't a good thing .. at least not yet and I don't fare well on the phone but I'm working on it. But I figure it .. so what ! I haven't been able to use a phone or to listen to music for years .. and I also had gotten to the point where I couldn't understand a conversation with the person standing in front of me in a silent room. So the phone and music aren't really missed considering the gain I have in all other areas. This is just a good thing .. a wonderful thing. Well .. that's where I am today and each day seems to get better .. just wanted you to know you were right advising me to be patient. Thanks again for listening!

[Editor’s note: In the "Congratulations" column of the last newsletter I had Rio’s last name wrong. I apologize for this error. I had listed the name as Rio Stacey instead of Rio Childs.]

Five Year Old Girl

Receives Clarion

By Michelle Welch, Bend, OR

Our daughter Riley was born profoundly deaf and yet it took 15 months until we were aware of this. She was such a happy, content baby just as our son. So why would my husband nor I think she was any different? But
then we started noticing little things like how loud she was when she babbled or that she was not walking after her first birthday or that on the 4th of July we were able to put her to bed with 50 people at our home and fireworks galore. We thought "that's our good girl".

After Riley was diagnosed, she was fitted immediately with BTE aids and we even learned some sign language. After 6 months we decided to go strictly oral due to the notion that she only had a "moderate to severe" hearing loss and she was gaining wonderfully with her aids. The next year was so very difficult. Our happy content toddler was a ball of frustration and our household was disrupted many times a day with temper tantrums. All along though, her audiogram stayed the same at about a 30-35 dB loss across the board .

The next year we started "Total Communication" again and Riley just flourished. She religiously wore her hearing aids and sign language was so natural to her. Still in the back of our minds we were wondering "why don't we see her responding to our voices"? Or why is her audiogram scoring high, yet she can't even hear a car horn honk?

When Riley turned 4 we had yet another audiogram done with her regular audiologist. Then 3 weeks later we went to OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University) Portland, OR. for a second opinion, finally! Much to our surprise Riley basically didn't have an audiogram. She was down into the 90's and that is when we came to the realization that our daughter Riley was born with a Profound Hearing Loss.

On the way home, Riley’s grandmother cried as her heart was broken, but I, her mother, was so relieved because I just knew deep down inside that Riley was listening - it was that she could not hear. This news opened the door to so many things.

Right away we were told of the Cochlear Implant and how Riley was a perfect candidate. We did our homework, called other families with an implanted child. We heard great news from them and also heard of some downfalls. We were very aware of the controversy with this device and the deaf community. We were especially concerned about this matter because Riley really had mastered sign language in her short 4 years. We endured the long testing with the psychologists and with the many trips over the mountains. Phone calls to Don Plapinger her audiologist and waiting for the insurance approval which was the longest 2 weeks of our lives. With the ball in our court, Riley was set to be implanted on Sept. 23 , 1998.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Sean McMenomey at Dorenbechers Hospital in Portland, Oregon. She was
implanted with a Clarion S series. Everything surgery wise was a success, with full insertion and minimal stitching. Riley was very upset with her Dad and I though. She laid in that hospital bed for 2 days hardly opening her eyes. When she did it was a look like "why did you do this to me"?? that about killed us.

Riley was all hooked up on October 30, 1998 by Don Plapinger. I can't even express what a miracle it has all been. Our daughter CAN HEAR NOW!! I can't tell you how many times a day she will sign to us {What's that sound}? We have to beat her to the phone when it rings, because she wants to answer it. She hears her name being called down the hall probably to answer our wrath, due to the stubborn independent side of her. Her speech sessions always prove great strides in her awareness of the speech around her. Although we still use sign language with her our hope is to start fading it out slowly after the new year.

We just recently had another audiogram done and she was at 30-35 dB, imagine that!! That was a result we can trust. We often wonder about the quality of Riley’s speech and whether she will believe enough in herself to use it in the public. Knowing our daughter though, she will continue to move full force ahead and cross these barriers with minimal thought. As her parents, giving her the implant has enabled her to travel any path desired, with all of the tools of speech, hearing and sign language. I am somewhat troubled though by the fact that summer is here and we are constantly outside in the water, at the park and enjoying all the things that make summer fun for kids. She isn't able to wear her processor during many of these times and we are worried this may hinder some of the progress she has made in these early months. I sure would be very appreciative of any and all advice, also we are struggling still with comfortable way for her to wear her hardware. We have tried the harness. Yet she does not like the feel of it on her bare skin under her clothes. We have been also wearing a fanny pack, but many times a day her head piece is coming off because of the distance of the wire from the processor to her head. She also feels the need to take the fanny pack off completely when she uses the rest room. All advice graciously welcome there too. Just last month Riley had her 4th mapping and it was the best one yet. She was right on cue and knew what was expected of her. We are all looking forward to Riley starting kindergarten in the fall and feel she will do wonderful with all her typical peers, using tons of spoken language. We will keep you posted and thank you for providing such a great resource. We look forward to each and every publication.

Implant Brings Mixed Feelings

By Dorothy Weaver, Port Orchard, WA

Last September 1998, I decided that I would try and see if I could be accepted as a Cochlea Implant Candidate. I went through a lot of testing and evaluations before I was finally accepted and a surgery date was set up for April 21, 1999 at Virginia Mason Hospital by Dr. Backous. A month after surgery I went back to Virginia Mason Hospital to have my Implant activated.

I really didn’t know what to expect when the Audiologist (Carol Brazil) was about to hook me up and start putting me through some hearing tests. I was so happy to hear all the sounds on all the channels because that meant that the surgery was a success and everything was working well. As soon as the testing was finished, Carol turned on the Processor and I could hear for the first time since I was only one year old, (42 years of silence) and of course I can’t remember any of that . The sounds were so loud that it scared me half to death and was quite painful.

After about six or seven visits back to Carol for new mappings, I finally got everything adjusted so that I could keep the Processor on all the time. Up until this time, I was getting headaches from it and I was a little bit discouraged. Now the sounds don’t bother me but I still can’t distinguish very many noises. I can tell when the phone rings or a knock on the door, but all the other sounds are just noise. Now I can see that it will take a lot of work on my part to improve my hearing abilities. I am hoping to start speech therapy soon and maybe that will help me a lot.

I am happy that I made the decision to get an Implant and now only time will tell how much benefit I will be able to get from it. I am already much better off when it comes to my safety, since now I can hear warning sounds around me. All the letters I have read from people that have had Implants, have all complained about the loud noises made from papers and running water. They were right. It was very annoying to me also.

[Editor’s note: Dorothy told me that she did not feel ready to submit an article. I encouraged her to do it telling her that she would be doing many people a favor. There are many oral deaf now considering implants. While all seem to obtain great benefit after a period of time, it can be very frustrating in the beginning. Some people have the idea that once you connect that you immediately hear and understand. That is far from the truth. Some people need to get several maps and go through the relearning process. Just because you do not immediately understand does not mean that it is a failure. I have known several who have had six month or more of adjustments before they have speech recognition. Don’t be impatient. One thing about the implant is there is no ending to the improvements. Keeping a diary is very important for new implantees. Record what you are hearing. Then three to six month down the road you will have something to look back on and see how far you have come. I hope we have another update from Dorothy in our next newsletter.]

Implant Improves

Lip-reading

By Linda Worley, Bothell, WA

I was implanted at the U. of Wash. Medical Center on April 19th by Dr.
George Gates. The decision to get an implant was made after I finally lost all ability to detect the human voice about two years ago. Up until then, I was able to manage with what hearing I had and lip-reading. It was distressing to know that I was going to be totally deaf very soon, and the implant assured me that wouldn't be the case.

My experience was basically a good one. The nurses and staff at U. of Washington were all very nice and took good care of me. I had discomfort in my temporomandibular joint, as if a great deal of pressure had been put on it. I suffered nausea for several days post-op, but it turned out to be due to the antibiotic I was getting. My tongue lost all sense of taste on the operated side. I also had the unusual side effect of my pupil constricting on the operated side, and even now, 10 weeks later, is still not quite equal with the other. I was not initially dizzy, but began to feel light-headed a few days after. This continued for two weeks until I returned to work. Just one day at work, and I had an attack of acute vertigo that night with the room spinning around me. I had to work half days for the rest of the week. By the following Monday, the dizziness and "spacey" feel just sort of disappeared and never returned! All in all, I thought the discomforts were minimal.

I was first mapped on May 17 and never thought things would sound so strange! What I heard was a single musical tone for everything--the audiologist's voice, my friends' voices, the cars running by on the street, even the toilet flushing. I didn't respond to the audiologist at first because I thought I was hearing tinnitus. Having musical training and perfect pitch, I identified the tone as the A above middle C. The next day I was mapped again, and things had changed quite a bit. I was able to tolerate more loudness. I was mapped a third time that week, and again a
lot of change.

I've had 5 maps by now (June 30). At some point I began to hear "beyond" the musical tone and discern what was more like a human voice. Later, I began to distinguish some inflection in the voices, which added a wealth of information to the words. I can sometimes tell male from female voices, but not always. I am not able to understand a single word without lip-reading. Music sounds like noise, and usually I can't even identify it as such. I seem to use three of the four programs on my Sprint processor. I will be getting the ear-level processor in the future.

I hope that some day I will be able to have some word understanding without lip-reading. Even 25% would be nice. I haven't had that in a long time. Most of all, I am just very glad there is this technological marvel at the time when I need it, and I hope it will continue to get better.

Enjoying N24

By Billy Vail, Meridian, ID

As for the update, things are going wonderful! I went to Salt Lake City on June 30th and had my one month tune-up. Things were clearer as they adjusted the settings, and tried a couple of new programs, specifically for music.

The programs are a fast decoding strategy that people have found to like in musical situations. I haven't really adjusted to it and so far don't like.

As for my main program, I use it in both background and quiet situations and works great. They performed a test to see how well I was understanding speech with my CI vs. when I used my hearing-aids. The test consisted of various sentences that were read aloud in a noise-less environment and lip-reading wasn't allowed. With my hearing-aid back in March, I scored a 36% and with my CI (one month later) I scored a 97% !!!! I was very happy!!!

Things are going great and I'm loving my CI. I will be attending Boise State University this fall and looking forward to being able to interact with the classmates and professors again. Thanks for all the newsletters, they were very informative and I look forward to them. Thanks!!

[Editor’s note: Billy had her surgery at the University of Utah on May 5th. It was done by Dr Shelton. Her audiologist is Marsha Simons-McCandless, MA, CCC-A.]

The sharing of information is how we all learn. If you have something that has helped you in your adjustment such as assistive devices, please send an article so that we can share it with our readers. The greatest expert in the world are those that have tried something and found it works for them.

Three Month Update

By Kathy Kifer, Eugene, OR

It's been 3 months now since hook-up and my hearing is still improving. The C.I. sound is no longer robotic. I use the phone without the relay and only occasionally have to ask for a repeat. New sounds catch me by surprise: crickets, water percolating through a potted plant. My computer had a rattle that was driving me crazy until I found the loose part. Last night, my son was asleep upstairs and I was working at my desk when the Sonic Alert light flashed (indicating some noise in his room) and then I heard it - he sneezed. I couldn't believe I could hear him sneeze this far away!

I have a new hobby - eavesdropping! It's a kick to overhear things, after being "out of the loop" for so long.

A bit of background - I had normal hearing until my mid twenties, then 20 years of gradual decline. My last (pre-implant) audiogram dribbled across the bottom of the chart, but with a good aid I could get some of the words right in the sound booth. Now with the C.I., I got 60% of the single words and 98% of the words in sentences right.

As dismal as my hearing was pre-implant, audiologists always remarked on how well I understood them. With lip reading and a quiet room, I could function. Several things pushed me to see if I'd qualify for an implant. First my SHHH buddies (thanks!), also my son is getting to an age where he will need to reach me by phone and it terrified me that he might need me to pick him up somewhere and I'd get the information wrong. And so many aspects of my life were diminishing along with my hearing. There were constant awkward situations and embarrassing mistakes. My adaptive devices and strategies worked well for me in my own environment, but when I traveled I realized how badly I functioned without them.

So I was delighted that I qualified for the implant, and the whole thing went very smoothly. My very first appointment at OHSU was in December, the surgery was in February and hook-up in March. The surgical part was no worse than a case of the flu and I haven't had any trouble with the device. I was worried about the cost (with my insurance policy I pay 20% of most costs, with a cap of $10,000), but somehow my total cost was less than $2000. Insurance is mysterious, but if there was ever a good use for it, this is it.

So I'm a happy camper (and camping will be a lot more fun this summer). I don't have perfect hearing, and I still can't play the violin, but life once
again seems full of possibilities.

A Walking, Talking,

Hearing Bionic Goddess

is Here

By Sarah Marker, Chelan, WA

I was implanted by Dr. Charles Mangham, Jr. on September 15, 1998. It was my second scheduled date as I backed out of the first one in August 1998. Now I can tell you I wish I hadn’t backed out on mere fear of the unknown. The cochlear implant has helped me dramatically. In fact I’m too embarrassed to talk without it as my speech clearly worsens. With my Nucleus 24, people who have known me for years say I actually sounded "normal." I depend on the Nucleus 24 to help me with social surroundings. I no longer have to worry about saying "what?" all the time. Sure, after the surgery I was nauseous, but the ability to hear outweighs all the tiny factors. I had some balance problems the 1st day back at school, so somebody had to assist me throughout the day. Otherwise I got all dizzy. It was fun!

A special note to Dr. Charles Mangham Jr. Thank you for making it as pleasant as possible, using only cosmetic shave and all your hard work. It is greatly appreciated.

[Editor’s note: Sarah is a teenager and was born deaf. We had a previous article on her in our winter 1998/1999 issue. We are delighted as to how well it is working for her.]

Driving with a C.I.

By Greg Heller, Port Orchard, WA

I drive a tractor/trailer for a living. My decision to get a C.I. was partially based on my career. I knew that I would not pass my next physical required by the DOT because of my hearing loss. The loss of sirens and horns had me a bit paranoid about continuing in my chosen career. I have been activated for 2 1/2 months and my world has returned to a very noisy place that I welcome with open arms.

I commute to Seattle from the Kitsap Peninsula on the west side of Puget Sound. I do this via Ferry boat on a motorcycle. I was real apprehensive about putting that helmet on the first

time and riding the bike after being hooked up. There was about a week's worth of put the helmet on and the take it off and take the pickup to work. One morning it was warm and the sun was shining and I just could not resist the temptation any longer. What a thrill to be back on the bike. I had forgotten the wind noise and the other sounds that you never hear while driving a car. The helmet muffles the sound a little but I can still carry on conversations with the helmet on.

Last week on the way to work I heard a strange noise that I had only heard a few times before. I glanced in the mirror and noticed an ambulance coming up from behind. I changed lanes and let it pass (after all the cars got out of the way) and I'm sure had anyone looked at my face they would have wondered why the nut on the motorcycle was smiling. I had heard a siren with the helmet on while I was going down the street. I figured that this was my ultimate test as far as driving goes.

Everyday is a new and wondrous experience. It's good to be back..…

 

Upgrade Inneraid Process to Med-EL

By Lita Carpenter, Terreton, ID

Finally received the new CIS-LINK processor in January for my Inneraid implant. They just recently became available from Med-EL Corporation. This new processor hooks us up to all six electrodes that we were implanted with. Whereas the old processor picked up just four electrodes. So I am receiving much more sound (not all of it good) but am gradually learning to put the extra noise in the background and concentrating on speech. Since people’s voices are louder now it is easier to lip-read and feel that I get some speech without lip-reading. My first hook-up and mapping in Salt Lake City was not good, as at the time I was overwhelmed by the extra sound I was receiving. When I first returned home to Idaho running water and turning the pages of a newspaper drove me up the wall. But now have gotten used to that. The only thing I do not like about the new processor is that the 4 AA batteries which it runs on only last about 10 hours and they go out instantly without warning. So there I am in the middle of a conversation and am suddenly deaf again. Just have to stop everything and put in new batteries. The new processor is less bulky and not so heavy, so all in all I’m quite pleased that they have come up with this new processor for us Inneraid patients.

Congratulations

Barbara Mladinov, Tacoma. Barbara received the Nucleus 24 from Dr. Charles Souliere at the Tacoma General Hospital. Her Audiologist is Lee Zarella of the Tacoma Ear and Balance Clinic. She has had her processor a short time and states she still needs to do more adjusting. We hope to have her story in the next newsletter.

Cathleen Cellings, Black Hauk, SD. She states she will have surgery this summer. Did not state type of implant or where. She learned about us from Elma DuChateu, Custer, SD who is a long time supporter of this newsletter.

Thornton (T) Wilson, Seattle, WA. He elected to go with the Clarion EPS. Surgery was July 7th at Virginia Mason in Seattle by Dr. Douglas Backous. Now is the long wait until hookup.

Jack W. Harvey, Portland, OR. He was implanted June 24 by Dr. George Gates at the University of Washington and selected the Nucleus 24. He will receive his first map on August 2 by Tina Worman, Audiologist of the U of W.

Sharon Wright, Lakewood, WA. Sharon selected the Nucleus 24 and was implanted May 25th by Dr. Charles Mangham Jr. Seattle Ear Clinic. Above information received from Paula Titus.

Dolores Gahler, Anacortes, WA. Dolores selected the Nucleus 24 and will be implanted July 19th at the University of Washington by Dr. George Gates. Mapping will be done by Tina Worman.

John Lambrecht, Hansville, WA. John will have his surgery at Virginia Mason by Dr. Douglas Backous on August 13th. John has been deaf most of his life. He has not made a final selection on the type.

Mary Sherman, Vancouver, WA. Mary was implanted on May 20th at Kaiser Sunnyside by Dr. G Lawrence. I do not know the model she has. See her letter in "Readers Have Their Say."

Readers Have Their Say

Enjoys Newsletter

By Mary Sherman, Vancouver, WA

Gosh, Where do I get enough ‘thank yous’? Why? I just today got a call from Dr. G Lawrence’s (Kaiser Sunnyside) office and I will have my pre-op on May 13th and surgery on May 20th. (Thanks to you) I have been really working towards this date since I met you and all your encouragement on the implant. I am really nervous and excited - all at one. Of course, after pre-op I will have an idea on what Dr. Lawrence has in mind and I’ll keep you posted. I really enjoy the news I get finding out what other people have done. You’re hard work on the newsletters is truly appreciated.

C.I. Hints

By Karen Utter, Edmonds, WA

I stick the Cochlear Phone adapter to my phone using Industrial Strength Velcro (sticky back type). Then it can be easily removed and I can take it with me when I travel or go visit elsewhere. (Cochlear might consider adding this to the original packaging instead of the permanent gooey pad
that they now send?)

As a N-22 user, I often clip my processor to the top of pants or a skirt that doesn't use a belt, so for security, I purchased a short chain from Radio Shack that's meant as a safety chain for pagers. They come in many  shapes and sizes and have a very secure little clip on one end and a clasp on the other end. I just loop the chain through the opening on the back of the processor clip and then attach the clasp back to the chain and then clip

it on my waistband. The chain is 7 to 8 inches long so can be adjusted in length from quite short to a little longer as needed. Then if the processor slips or works up and comes loose from my clothing, it doesn't go anywhere. This has kept me feeling safe and less insecure about losing the thing. I also use a heavy duty locking barrette to attach the processor cord to the back of my hair (I have a LOT of hair) and then it too acts as a "safety clasp" for keeping things where they belong.

Three Years Later

By Homer Kissinger, Richland, WA

I got your note about the soap opera character getting her implant -- sounds like a good endorsement and we can hope they put it in a good light. My own implant will be 3 years old this month, and I've just returned from a mapping session. Janelle administered the sentence recognition test and was pleased that I scored 84%, she said that was very good. Of course I seldom do that well out in the real world!

Miracle Day by Day

By Reba Moen, Monroe, WA

I do so enjoy the newsletter. Please keep sending it my way. Enclosed find small amount for postage.

I’m still enjoying the implant and count it as a miracle day by day!! Was at a friends last week who has an old fashion wall clock. Right away I heard the beautiful sound of the "tick-tock." When it struck 5 times I was just amazed!! My friends said "If you could just see your face. " It was awesome!! Haven't heard that for many many years. (Of course not many people have these clocks anymore).

I need education about listening devices. The only one I have had luck with is a phone, and have had trouble with that one shorting out. I ordered a new one from Cochlear Corp. Just received it today it at first try it was fine. So hopefully it will work good again. I’m so thrilled to be able to use a phone again.

Still use close caption for the TV, but if I can see the speaker’s face I can understand quite a lot of it. But not enough to follow a whole program through because my attention span gets short and I lose interest. I can enjoy music and if I know the words, I can follow good, but I enjoy the melody anyway!

I enjoy and appreciate my family so much more now and especially enjoy my great granddaughter’s talk. I can understand pretty much what she says; Such a joy!!!

Thank you Gordon for all you do. You are such an inspiration to us all. Keep up the good work. If you can help me about listening devices, I would appreciate it.

[Editor’s note: Reba was at the SHHH convention in New Orleans. I hope she had a chance to try the many assistive devices available. I suspect I will see several of you next week in Los Angeles at the CICI convention. If you go and learn of some device or patch cord that helped you, I hope you will write me a note so I can publish it in the next newsletter.

One Year Later

By Arch Roberson, Meridian, ID

It will be a year the last of April since my implant operation and a year in May since I was turned on. Everything seems to be working fine for me as far as the equipment I wear and I'm certainly thankful to be able to hear at all.

I have had a little problem with the phone at times and have tried different phones with no success. I have just recently sent my phone adapter to DynaMetric for a checkup. When I get it back, or a replacement adapter, maybe I can figure out where the problem is. I hope the problem is not between the ears. I've been getting along pretty well with a new cordless phone that our son gave us for Christmas. I use it at times just like a person would with normal hearing, depending on the caller of course. It also has the speaker feature which I use quite often but the adapter works the best.

I'm not able to enjoy music very much yet, but I do pick up some sounds from certain instruments such as the piano or guitar which is an improvement over a year ago. I'm hoping it will improve more with time. Birds sound more like they're supposed to now and I can even tell what kind of bird is calling most of the time.

My last session with Marsha McCandless at the University Hospital in Salt Lake City was last December. It always seems to me that my hearing is much better after a visit with her so I'm looking forward to my appointment in June. I know if it can get better she will make it happen. Marsha tells me she will make an adjustment anytime I feel I need one , but I don't want to expect too much too soon.

I'm sending this by pony express because I want to send a check along with it for the newsletter. I always look forward to the next issue, so does my wife. You do us all a great service and I appreciate your effort. I didn't intend for this to be a part of your news letter, but use it if you like.

C.I. Accessories

By Adelle Steptoe, Milwaukie, OR

Thanks so much for the newsletter. We both enjoy it. Jerry is doing great and still loves his implant.

Our daughter sewed a bunch of inside pockets on tee shirts for his battery pack. Works great and it’s safer on the inside. Keep up the good work.

Audio Books

By Alvin Johanson, Lacey, WA

Our local library has recently made available a large number of audio books for lending. I have found them to be quite useful since the recording is a word by word narration of the book which is packaged with the cassettes. The book I am reading at the moment consists of seven cassettes for a total of 10 hours of reading. The publisher is: Recorded Books. Inc. 270 Skipjack

Rd., Prince Frederick, MD 20678. For a free catalogue call 1-800-638-1304

[Editor’s note: Alvin had sent this e-mail to Nancy Cambron, Audiologist at the Veterans Medical center. At the end of his e-mail he advised that the company also offers rentals by mail. ]

Jesse

By Heather & Bill Carpenter

Baltimore, MD

Thank you for mentioning our son Jesse in your last newsletter (Congratulations).

Jesse is 2 years old. He was implanted August 1998 by Dr. Niparko at the Listening Center at Johns Hopkins. He wears the Nucleus 24. Jesse was profoundly deaf secondary to meningitis when he was five month old.

Now he is talking and loves to listen. Thank to Hyla Dobaj who was at Hopkins when we first learned about implants. She gave a presentation in the infants and toddlers program. I see she’s in the Pacific Northwest now. Coincidence?? [Hyla Dobaj is at the Listen for Life Center at Virginia Mason.] Thanks also to Pam Kain, Jesse’s Audiologist and Jennifer Anthony, his Therapist. Jesse has made such progress with his implant in the past eight months with a vocabulary that’s almost "normal". WE love his voice! (And Jesse is not shy about using it.)

SAFECO Field Offers

Assistive Devices

(And Much More)

Are you a baseball fan? If you are, you might just love the new ball park in Seattle.

Safeco Field invited us to an open house to try out its assistive listening devices. I recommended they have a few patch cords for implantees and they have already bought some.

The system in use is the Comtek system. Many implantees prefer that system. It is best to bring your own patch cord. But if you forget it at home they will have the Comtek cord available. I tried the systems using the Comtek patch cord and found the sound to be very clear.

When you arrive at the ball park you will need to go to one of the Guest Service Centers to pick up your unit. The Units are available at the centers which are located across from section 128, 330, and in the Bullpen Market. You will need to leave a piece of ID as well as sign for the unit.

If you are now using FM or Infrared equipment and find it beneficial to you, I think you will really enjoy the announcers with your Comtek FM unit. The voice and music are so clear.

The stadium is a beautiful place. So if you are in Seattle, take your family out to a ball game. Be sure to pick up your FM unit and enjoy the game. Note if you have a processor that does not have the standard plug in, then you will need to bring an adapter with you as well as your patch cord. If you do attend let me know what you think of the equipment and how the staff reacted when you asked for the equipment.

E-Mail

Do you have e-mail? If you do please send me a message and I will list you in my address book. Sometimes I get information between newsletters that you might enjoy. If so, I can then forwarded it to you.

Gordon L Nystedt

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