Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pictures of All My Cochlear Equipment

Pictures of All My Cochlear Equipment
Thursday,  July 11, 2013

Today I stayed home from the office.  Ron did not have any jobs planned out of the office and he said he was going to spend the day doing some paperwork, so I decided to stay home.  I didn't really sleep late, but had a leisurely morning and probably accomplished...nothing!  I worked on the computer some, caught up on emails, Facebook postings and messages, and generally relaxed.  I told you that I am getting used to this.  I spent the afternoon working on straightening my sewing room which had gradually become a mess over the last month.

In this blog, I am going to show you what was in the suitcase of equipment that we were given following my surgery.  It just dawned on me that the surgery was a month ago yesterday.

This is the external portion of the Cochlear Implant equipment.  You can't see the "implanted " part, but I showed you my scar earlier to show where it was implanted.  The portion on the right in the photo is worn in a similar way to a "behind the ear" hearing aide.    It is called the sound processor. There are two microphones on the top of it: one pointing to the front and one to the back.  The part on the left of the photo is the coil.  There is a magnet in the middle of it and when I position it over the implanted part, the magnet holds it in place as it is drawn to the internal portion, under the skin.  As soon as I get it in the right position, I start hearing sound.  Without this, I am deaf.

The sound processor is powered by batteries.  There are two rechargeable batteries and one case for disposable batteries.  This is the charger for the rechargeable batteries.  The average time one will provide power is estimated to be about 13 hours.  I have had a little better results than that so far.

This is the plug-in drying unit.  The yellow item at the back is a Dry-Brik desiccant.  It should last for two months.  The external parts are placed in this unit every evening and it has a fan in it to circulate the air and remove any moisture from the parts.  It runs for about 8 hours. 

This case can be used in place of the other drying unit for short trips (maybe a weekend trip out of town).  I would put one of the drying capsules in the case along with the sound processor and batteries, etc. and close it.  Over night it will remove moisture, but the other unit is more effective so should be used most of the time.

This is the case (on the left) for the disposable batteries and on the right is a box of the disposable batteries.  The sound processor takes 2 batteries and they last about 30 hours.  These would most likely be used when traveling or when the power is out or if I forget to recharge the others.  Living in a hurricane area, where power could be out for several days, that is a nice alternative.

The sound processor can be controlled by this remote control device.  There are four settings and at this time they are all for volume control.  Currently #1 is the softest and #4 the loudest.  Within each of those 4, there are 10 levels of volume, so I actually have 40 settings currently for volume.  I am currently on #3 setting and level 4 within that setting, for the sound.  If you are too loud, I can turn you down.  There are also controls so that I can set it to bring sound in from a large area or down to a couple of people at a dining table.  On the right is the black carrying case.  There is also a neck cord and the audiologist says I will probably wear it everyday.  When we go back in a few weeks, those 4 settings will be programmed to other functions, but currently I am just dealing with the sound levels, gradually increasing them during this month.

These are tools for taking care of the units.  The one that looks like a ball-point pen is used for taking things apart and the other is for cleaning the filters over the microphones.

Keeping the sound processor and the coil in place is important.  These are not cheap devices.  The upper items are bendable add-ons that can help hold the sound processor in place if I am doing something very active like jogging.  (That's a joke!)  I would probably wear one when working in the yard, especially on the pools for the waterfalls, and maybe to the gym if I ever get back there.  The lower box in the photo is an extra magnet.  I told the lady when we went back the second day that I thought I needed a stronger magnet because I had knocked the coil loose a couple of times.  She said that knocking it loose was fine.  They have found that over the years if the magnet is too strong, it can cause damage to the skin so they don't want it too tight.

Are you still with me?  I think I am about half way through the case.  There is so much in it and so much to learn.

These three cables were the items I chose for my three "included" accessories.  One is a lapel microphone that I can use possibly in the car if I am having trouble hearing the person due to road noise or a noisy car (like mine).  An interesting side note: I mentioned that when we went back the second day, Ron told the lady we were almost late because he missed his turn while we were talking in the car as we drove to the appointment.  She said, "Oh, you used the lapel mike?"  Ron said no, we had not unpacked it.  That is when she started getting excited to know that I was able to carry on a conversation in the car on that first day after activation. 

One of the cables goes to most any audio device much as a headphone set would, but all of these cables plug into the sound processor.  The third cable gets added to the one for the audio device if you plug into the computer - it is a Mains Isolation Cable.

There are extra earpieces for the sound processor.

I must say, this was to me the silliest of the add-ons.  I got my choice of colors for "covers" for the sound processor.  I ordered my sound processor and coil in dark brown (to match my hair).  Maybe I will use these when I am an old lady and dye my hair blue.  I had the choice of zebra stripes, leopard skin, neon orange, hot pink, and on and on.  I can only see using these if I were addressing a group to tell them about the implant and want them to be able to spot it from a distance.  Who knows, maybe I will get a little wild!

For the plug-in charging units, there are plug adaptors for just about any country you might want to visit.  So if any of you want to send me a plane ticket to Russia (where I have a large following on this blog), I will be able to keep my batteries charged while I visit.

As I mentioned, there is so much to learn.  These are DVD training materials for the care of the items and a training set for listening activities. 

There is a stack of reading material to also go through to keep learning more and more about what I have gotten myself into!

And, finally, a complete extra set of all the external equipment in case of emergency.  They believe you should not have to be without the unit for even a couple of days while it is sent in for repair or replacement.  The reason for the Do Not Open, is that Cochlear is about to come out with a new unit as soon as the FDA approves it.  At that time, if I have not had to open the spare unit and use it, I can return it for the upgraded unit.

Hope you learned a little about what I am dealing with each day.  I am trying to figure out the best order for charging the batteries and drying them.  I forgot to put it in the drying unit one night.  There just seems to be so much to do.  Thankfully when Ron remodeled the sewing room a couple of years ago, he put in lots of electrical outlets.  By the time I charge all these things and my phone and my Kindle, I could easily run out of plugs! 

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