The Archenemy of Cochlear Implants

March 9, 2016

Every SuperHEARo has their nemesis…, which is yours?

Silhouette illustration of a masked superhero

Dr Octopus: An 8-legged machine mad scientist with a thirst for Spiderman’s undoing! We at Southern ENT bet all our Cochlear™ implant recipient sometimes feel like their daily hearing lives are complicated by tussles with their own version of Dr Octopus, their own hearing loss nemesis. We are here to tell you that it is totally normal, everyone has them and in this case, the HEARo always wins… we just have to show you how!

 

What is a Super Hero without a Nemesis?

Superman faced off against Lex Luther, the Wolverine had Magneto and Batman had the Joker… the fundamental quality all these nemesis have in common is that they knew exactly how to get under the skin of their hero, they almost brought out the worst in them. This is no different when dealing with your hearing loss & your hearing loss tech. There will be elements that tempt you into giving up or getting angry. We certainly don’t want that to happen, so we as Southern ENT & Cochlear™ together with all our audiologists and surgeons want to serve as your sidekicks.

 

Stigma

Perhaps the single biggest nemesis of cochlear implant recipients is an internalized stigma. A visible hearing device that openly indicates a disability might be foolishly judged by the uninformed, and since there are always naysayers to the choice of treatment and/or technology, it is possible that one can internalize these external judgements and become self-conscious about having hearing loss &/ the tech.

As a nemesis, stigma, can be the hardest to overcome. Feeling self-conscious leads to not wearing the technology and the knock-on effect is extremely damaging:

- First & foremost you are without sound

- You are not allowing your brain time to adjust to the new audio stimulation

- Short duration ‘snippets’ creates a gap between what you can communicate with your audiologist and how they can continue Mapping. (see below)

To overcome this stigma we suggest joining a few working groups or making an effort to spend more time in the company of other Cochlear™ and Southern ENT recipients. This will help you overcome the stigma and also allow the opportunity to chat with others to discover their tips to overcoming being device-self-consciousness.  Stay in touch with us at Southern ENT for details on events that bring the hearing loss aware community together.

 

Mapping

We cannot overstate this more! Mapping (CI) and general audiological visits (Baha) are vital to your ongoing hearing success.  . It is, however, a timeous process that requires concentration, input & time. It is listed as a potential nemesis for those reasons. Many of us do not have time or the inclination to keep strict diaries of how our sound processors are affecting our daily lives. It is the job of the nemesis to challenge the reason you chose to undergo surgery in the first place: to regain hearing when it was lost.

Mapping is the process of adjusting your implants to help you hear better. Low frequencies, high frequencies, in crowded or noisy environments and in quiet hushed ones – are you hearing as well as you should be? Mapping will also create improved links with many of the wireless accessories that are the tools of the SuperHEARo. The process is extremely important but it does take effort, we implore you all to give your utmost attention – it really does pay off.

 

Maintenance & Care

This is not an immediate nemesis, but with most superheroes the vanquishing of a nemesis will surely result in the creation of a new one. As your life becomes routine using Cochlear™ implants & all the wireless accessories that come with it, one potential nemesis may arise and that is the task of daily care. It is ever so easy to simply remove your processor without maintenance cleaning or head off to the gym without taking the correct precautions, such as packing your waterproofing accessories.

In time your Cochlear™ processors will become apart of your daily lives and like most things, get taken for granted. In the early stages post implantation we never see maintenance worries as the device is fresh, new & but as with all electronic devices, they do wear and tear over time. Make sure to maintain a daily routine which includes charging batteries!

 

Audiologists are Sidekicks

Remember your audiologist will be doing some nifty fine-tuning work on your SuperHEARo powers. They could be considered similar to Q in the James Bond movies. They know the gadgets and they want you to benefit from them. Make sure when you visit your audiologist that you bring all resources with you, including notes or questions. This way they can help you get the most from your sound processor!

 

For any information or advice, please call our offices on  012  667 4832

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