The Amazing Human Ear

As I’ve learned more about my own hearing loss and how the cochlear implant works, I’ve come to appreciate how amazing our hearing sense is.  The design and ability of our ears is truly impressive.  Here’s a good YouTube video (1min 20sec) that shows the mechanics of human hearing.

poster depicting anatomy detail of human ear

Anatomy poster of human ear (seen in MEEI surgeon's office)

 

The following images are from a research paper I found online.  I liked them for their clarity and simplicity.

drawing of working parts of human ear

  drawing of hair and nerve cells in cochlea. top normal. bottom damaged

Cleared For Take Off (aka Surgery)

A morning of pre operative appointments at MEEI.  I’m poked, weighed, questioned and measured.  Frankly, I think I bore them all a bit since my health history is remarkably uneventful.  Don’t get me wrong.  This is a blessing that I do not take for granted.

I’m told the details of what to expect the day of surgery as well as the post-surgery recovery period.  The surgeon tells me that the surgery is actually the smallest part of the cochlear implant experience.  While intellectually I can understand and appreciate this, the emotional side of me says, “But it’s my head!  My head!”  My husband jokes and says I’m going in for a head transplant.  A couple of the administrative staff  women warn him that this kind of talk is dangerous 😉  In spite of that, it was nice to have him there.  Takes away the worry  and anxiety of not hearing something, or not hearing something correctly.

After 2 weeks of healing I can resume normal activities.  After 3-4 weeks I should be “activated”.  Activation is when you meet with the audiologist and receive the external equipment that makes the implant do its magic.  The audiologist will program, or map, the device so that the initial sounds are comfortable.  The mapping process happens several times as you adjust to the implant.

I am nervous.

I am excited.  Sometimes so very excited.

I am dying of curiosity.  How will it be for me?  What will I hear?  How quickly will I adjust?  etc., etc.