In last week’s post we talked about how your hearing history may affect how you get on with your hearing implant. Here in part 2, we will share four key factors that can help you to get the most out of your hearing device.
1: Setting appropriate expectations.
It’s important to take into account various factors when mentally preparing yourself for the outcomes with an implant. After your implant and audio processor are activated, you will most likely hear some sounds right away. However, hearing your best with an implant isn’t necessarily automatic. Some people may need very little rehabilitation, or none at all. For others, they may need months or years of rehabilitation to make sure they are making the most of their new hearing.
If you haven’t heard sounds for a long time, it may be hard at first to connect sounds with meaning—for example hearing the doorbell and knowing to answer the door. It’s really important to have open communication with a range of hearing professionals, such as audiologists, surgeons, hearing implant therapists, rehabilitationists and other trained medical professionals.
2: Family and peer support.
A motivated and supportive family has been shown to lead to a more positive experience. It’s important that the people who interact with you on a regular basis understand what the hearing device can and cannot do, as well as ways to make it easier for you to hear, particularly in noisy environments. It can also help to speak with others who have been on a similar journey with an implant. There are plenty of forums, like the HearPeers Forum, where hearing implant recipients can share their experiences and advice with each other.
3: Processor mapping.
A hearing implant MAP is the specific program which tells your audio processor how to send sound to the cochlea. Each recipient will have a different MAP that’s customized to help them hear their best. Changes in MAPing settings will directly affect your hearing, and it’s normal that your MAPs will be adjusted a few times in the first months after implantation. If you feel that your hearing has changed since the last mapping, you should tell your audiologist as soon as possible, because adjusting the MAP might improve sound quality.
4: Rehabilitation is key to success.
It’s important to regularly see a rehabilitation specialist and practice these exercises in everyday life—those who do so, tend to perform better! The importance of rehabilitation exercises begins on the very first day of hearing. Whether or not you can make it regularly to a rehabilitation specialist, doing exercises at home can help you a lot in your journey. You can subscribe to our blog to get all the latest rehabilitation activities each fortnight from our rehabilitation professionals, sent straight to your inbox!
Are you or a loved one considering a hearing implant? Let us know in the comments below and we can put you in touch with a MED-EL representative!
This post was written with help from R Sheetal, a speech language pathologist and clinical specialist at MED-EL.