Oct 2018 Christopher Johnson
For the candidates and newbies out there: Your CI and processor (c6, kanso, C7) will be/are just an artificial cochlea. All it does is capture sound signals. Your BRAIN is what ultimately does 99% of the actual work. Your CI is transmitting IOIOIOIOIOIO beeps that on their own are just beeps. It's not transmitting the voice of your wife, or child. It's not transmitting music. It's electronic signals. YOUR BRAIN is the REAL TECHNOLOGY here. What starts as beep beep beep over time becomes whatever it is - be it your wife saying "I love you", or your son saying, "Dad, I want a toy", or an employer calling to say "We'd like to make you an offer" - and its because of your brain (brain plasticity). Your brain takes these electronic beeps and eventually adapts to them and learns how to interpret them and they become sound.
But it isn't always instant. Some of you will have that "rockstar" activation, and you'll rush to CI Town to share your joy! But the majority of you will not have that "rockstar" activation (meaning, you can HEAR right away), and you'll do what I did - you'll rush to CI Town to drown your sorrows and complain it wasn't what you thought it was. Tragically, some of us never quite get what we hoped for.
When people tell you this is a journey - they aren't kidding. It's a journey, big time. You have surgery. You get to make the nurses laugh. You recover from the surgery, and you go and get activated. If you are the rockstar, you don't need to read further.... if you aren't the rockstar - just understand this - in most cases you will get out of your CI and processor and brain what YOU PUT INTO IT. You have to work at it. It's like learning to walk. You will stumble. You will fall. You will hear beeps. You will hear bits and pieces of voices. You will hear guitar and drums but no lyrics. Do not waste time worrying about what you don't hear in the beginning. Just put on that CI and BOMBARD it with sound. I started with streaming music, and books. And movies. And TV. And speeches. Things I knew by heart... I used Angelsounds. I focused on talking to my wife. There were days when I couldn't deal with it and I didn't bother to put on the CI... but eventually, I heard voices... I heard words, I heard lyrics, guitar, bass, drums, cymbals, piano, organs, I heard the roar of the crowd. I heard the din of traffic. The clicking of the dogs nails on the wood floor. The directional signal in the car, water dripping, flies buzzing.... I heard it all. But it took almost a year, and that first year I was only 50% of where I am now, and in year two.... I'm 100% ahead of a year ago, but probably only 50% of where I'll be.
Our brains are amazing and can handle so much more than what our CI's give us. I know Chad Denning is doing a research study where he is going above and beyond the limit of the current CI. So I know that eventually - I'll hit a wall. But right now - I am letting my brain take me as far as it can go.
That's what I recommend to the newbies and the candidates. Let your brains do it. One day at a time. You'll GET there, hopefully. Your CI dreams will become reality. You'll get that job. You'll be able to listen to the voice of your loved ones. You'll be able to reconnect with friends.
Just let your brain.
For those who want to know what brain plasticity is:You may have heard that the brain is plastic. As you well know. the brain is not made of plastic…Neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, refers to the brain's ability to CHANGE throughout life. The human brain has the amazing ability to reorganise itself by forming new connections between brain cells…. Such a change occurs when a CI and CI processor is introduced. Your brain actually moulds to the CI processor input and eventually recognises it as what it is.