Alice Goes Stereo

Monday came and went. Blink and you’d have missed it. I mean that very much in the positive sense.

Alice was over the moon to get her new ear and made sure we had the matching covers so she could have ‘two pink ears please!”. Alice’s first switch on was probably the most nerve-wracking day of my life. Would it work? Would she like it? We she appreciate it? all the obvious sentiments came flooding in. The original video shows quite how dramatic and positive Alice’s reaction was to her first true sensation of sound.

This time was very different. It was rather like any mapping session for Alice’s existing ear. She just reacted to the sound and put the coloured shapes over the sticks to signify that she’d heard a noise. No drama, just all in her stride. Again I am wowed with just how remarkably positive she has been throughout all of this. By the time we got home she was trotting around as if she’d always had two ears.

The sound is very quiet at present and we are upping the intensity (dynamic range) daily. 25, 30, 35, 37 and then back for a re-map next week. She already knows when it is on or off, working or not and seems to have accepted it as a normal part of life. That said, when she arrives in our room in the morning we now have an unholy amount of kit to put together. Telling each ear apart is tricky too.

On the down side, Alice’s old ear broke the day after. It froze for reasons the remote assistant couldn’t decipher. Fortunately we have Alice’s original processor as a spare which we keep with up-to-date maps, so she was able to go to school with that one, plus her lovely new ear, while mummy shot up to St. George’s to get the other N5 repaired. Dhaval can’t work it out either, so it’s been sent off to Cochlear for repair and Alice now has the CI Unit’s spare.

The video of Alice’s electrode mapping is below. Totally undramatic and really rather mundane compared to last time. I apologise for the poor sound. The sound proof room at St. George’s has no aircon and, on the hottest day of the year, was pretty unpleasant. The sweltering heat only subdued by a noisy fan – at least Alice wasn’t listening through her microphones else she’d have heard nothing.

Dhaval was brilliant and we can’t thank him enough for his wonderful manner and utter professionalism and desire to help (particularly in dropping everything to try to repair the broken processor).


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