I suppose it is only fair that the next section be on the up-side. I am happy to say that despite all of my other medical appointments (Oh, I forgot to mention my eye and dentist appointments. No cavities!), I did make it in to my audiologist in July to test and re-program my Auditory Brainstem Implant (ABI) Speech Processor. (Before the summer, I thought I’d make at least 4 trips down… but I am (kinda) happy with the one.)

I go through a whole battery of testing since it is still an experimental device. One set of the tests consists of a video monitor set-up in a sound booth. A speaker is shown and the audio is played through the speakers. Then only the speaker is shown (no audio). The intention of the test is to see if the ABI is improving lip reading skills. The funny thing was that I did 80% better than the last with just the lip reading whereas my lip reading and implant score was only a little improved. Another test uses environmental sounds such as a car horn, baby crying, girl speaking, doorbell, vacuum, etc. I am given a booklet that has four pictures on each page. A sound is played and I have to guess which picture matches the sound and then go to the next one… (I know, it sounds rather remedial.) I was very excited to take the test this time because I could actually recognize quite a few of the noises. Now, it is in a controlled setting (the sound booth), but it is still exciting to know that the potential is there. I then went through the numerous exercises required to program the ABI. The ideal situation for me is still a quiet environment with a speaker I am used to communicating. (It also helps to have a good idea of what the subject of conversation is.)