What do oil changes and cochlear implants have in common? Quite a lot I found out.
All automobiles have suggested oil change and maintenance checkpoints at 30-60-90K miles. These are essential checkpoints for the health and well-being of your car. Why? Because it keeps everything running smoothly and prevents more serious and costly car troubles.
Guess what?? A cochlear implant needs continuous tune ups as well. It has been a little over a year now since I have received my cochlear implant. My appointments are spaced a little further apart which means that I need to be the one paying attention to when certain tune ups are needed.
A few weeks ago, I had noticed that I didn’t seem to be hearing as well. Everything sounded a little muffled and not crisp. Being a relatively new user of CI technology, I immediately thought that there was something really wrong with my processor.
Let’s go back to the automobile analogy. Have you ever had your check engine light come on in the car? Immediately you think there is something major going on with the engine, correct? Then you dig through the glove box and frantically read through the manual of the car and find out it could be your engine, but it could also be something more minor like a loose gas cap.
What did I find out as a new CI listener? It was a “loose gas cap”. I had called my CI rep and he was able to walk me through the general maintenance tips. Yes, we had gone through all of these tips during the initial fitting and follow up appointment and yes I do have a manual that explains recommended “tune ups”. Until you experience it, you don’t realize how critical these tune ups are for hearing clearly with a cochlear implant. After a new cable, earhook/tmic, filters, and microphone cover CLARITY was restored! What did I learn? It is critical to be proactive with these “oil changes” and tune ups at the scheduled maintenance times in order to continue to make progress with hearing clearly with a bionic ear! An alert has been added to my calendar!! It also makes me realize as an educational audiologist how important it is to remind parents/caregivers who have children with cochlear implants to put an alert on their calendar too as kids may not be able to explain this gradual change in hearing clarity.
Have you scheduled your tune up!? This blog is a little reminder for everyone to check your vehicle and CI manual today to prevent bigger problems from happening!