We were still traveling home when I found out I could get an appointment for a Cochlear Implant evaluation at University of South Alabama at the Speech and Hearing Clinic. The appointment was with Dr. Wilder Roberts. I knew we wouldn't be able to make the distance in time, so I flew home for the appointment.
Meeting with Dr. Roberts and her staff started off with lots of questions before the tests in THE BOOTH. Questions concerning situations that are hard for me to understand in, what about when I can't see someone? Crowds? Groups? Did I ever feel unsafe (all the time unless I have a hearing person nearby)? And more. Dr. Wilder explained the test I'd have in the booth. They would play three different voices speaking simple sentences at normal speaking speed. I would just repeat what I understood. Well, to me that sounded daunting – the word PLAY tipped me off that I wouldn't be speaking with someone. Into the booth I walked, hearing aids on and sat down in a chair placed a couple feet in front of a good sized stereo speaker – only it was mono.
The voices began. I repeated the occasional word but spent most of the time muttering to myself – 'if the speakers would slow down…'if the one guy would speak more clearly…' I tried and tried to understand. The test went by quickly, I thought. Suffice it to say, I didn't do so well. I have .1% of understanding in one ear and .4% in the other.
Dr. Wilder got out the kit with processor colors and we looked over the equipment. I had already done tons of research and talked to other CI recipients and had decided that the Cochlear America equipment was for me (if anyone is curious, I'll be glad to share my research and reasoning). That over-the-ear-processor is sure big! I asked for the smaller processor, Kanso, as well – even though it doesn't have all the bells and whistles as the larger. We discussed accessories – the swimming covers for the OTE processor, a mic, a streamer for the Kanso. Then we discussed surgeons. Most everybody was booked for months ahead – I felt strongly about going to a surgeon who had done a LOT of implants.
Barb and I work for an RV Caravan company – we are scheduled to meet a new group in Maine to make a 59 day trip through Canada's Maritime provinces in July. I really need to have the surgery and activation as soon as possible so that I can be doing aural rehab for a while before being confronted with hugely challenging situations.
Dr. Wilder had worked with Dr. Blythe in Opelika, AL for some time and very much respects him. She sent the referral and we waited to 'hear' from the East Alabama Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic.