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Thread: I became a cyborg......

  1. #1 I became a cyborg......

    Several here are aware that in July of 2010 I awoke one morning to find myself deaf for all practical purposes. In 1998 I awoke one morning to find that my right ear had lost 84% of hearing and in July 2010 my left ear died. Nada. Nothing.

    In 1998 they advised that due to the type of residual hearing I had in my right ear and the fact that I had a good functioning left ear, they wouldn't advise a hearing aid for my right ear.

    Last year I had no alternative but to get the most powerful hearing aid made. With it, I have what is described as 10% hearing. That means if 10 words are spoken by a human voice I will recognize 1 word. The small amount of residual hearing I have with a hearing aid is so distorted I recognize 10% of what is being said and I have to fill in the blanks to try to make sense of it. It's a constant mental struggle and Rennie and his lovely wife can attest that I have to ask folks to repeat themselves alot just to try to follow a conversation.

    The very large corporation I that employed me was very generous to me but as a field engineer working on CT scanners, MR scanners and x-ray equipments, my deafness presented some real safety problems for my personal safety and the safety of the customers machines. February of this year I retired. In my personal shop, I can't hear my tablesaw bandsaw jointer, router or planer running. While I can't hear my DC running I can sometimes hear the airflow at some stations....all this while wearing my hearing aid. Without the hearing aid, I can't hear any tools. I have to really be careful in my shop these days.

    For various professional scheduling reasons and some attempted treatments, it took until December 3rd for me to become qualified for a cochlear implant. The medical field can't prove why I lost my hearing. I have been diagnosed with Menieres' Disease but that doesn't explain the sudden loss of hearing as hearing loss due to that disease is generally a gradual loss. The theory is that the hairs lining the cochlea of the inner ear dropped off and the inner ear is now defective.

    There are 3 companie that produce FDA approved cochlear company in Australia is the oldest and has the oldest design. One company in Austria which has the newest design and is the newest approved for use in the US market and then there is Advanced Bionics headquartered in California.

    Advanced Bionics was bought out about 2 years ago by a Swedish corporation that also owns Phonak the largest hearing aid company in the world.

    For technical reasons with which I won't bore everybody, AB's implant will simulate most closely the normal functioning cochlea IMHO. The problem arose that it entered a self-imposed recall last November 23 when it had 2 of 28,000 implants fail in such a way to cause patients pain. I didn't qualify until December 3rd a few weeks later. They used an outside engineering firm, found the problem, changed their manufacturing process, ran a multitude of tests with associated documentation. They were reapproved for the European and Asian markets in March 2011, to the Canadian market in June...and in the US market on September 13, 2011.

    Today I was implanted with an AB cochlear implant and have an activation date of Novermber 22, 2011. Bear in mind, it could take upto 2 years to retrain my brain to recognize this new electrical stimulation as sound. In just under 1% of the patients, CIs don't work. In short, I have taken the first step to try to regain some hearing.

    I am amazed at the way I have handled todays surgery. Go to youtube and search cochlear implant surgery. Be was a little more complex than my wife and I was expecting.

    So I have a processor embedded in my skull now.

    I became a cyborg today.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Very cool Ken, I'm betting you will beat the odds and do very well with this, you have shown the ability to adapt to change in your life, why would this be any different?

    Best of luck!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    What Ken may look like in his shop:

    Wishing you the best of success in regaining your hearing.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails cyborg and lathe.jpg  
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
    Sorry to hear of the hearing Loss Ken. I undertsand all too well how difficult it is and this is real interesting to me on a personal level as I just recieved my first hearing aids ( phonak audeo S Smart V) two months ago. My hearing loss was work related so that was a good thing for me as it has covered my treatment and aids for the rest of my life. I totally understand about the time it takes to re-train the brain to hear again though. They started me out at 80% and it was amazing to hear things that i had been missing for years. It was quite the shock to my system at first espessially all the white noise that everyone hears on a daily basis and just shuts off. We have a highway a mile away from our house that had to be re tuned out by my brain and walking into the Future shop ( stereo and electronic store ) is a audio nightmare for me now. 2 months later I am at 100 % now and I don't even remember that I even have the aids in. One day I seriously might be getting the implants too. The technology today is simply amazing with the new hearing aids and how small they have become ( mine are so small no one knows that I even have them in) and the features like the remote and being Blue tooth capable I can answer the cell phone with my aids now, just amazing. The wife is already giving me a hard time and we joke about calling me Steve Austin ( the Bionic man) as I have the hearing aids and Knee brace ( suregery on both knees)and new glass's. She keeps making the sounds from the old show whan i walk by (We can rebuild him ).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Hoping that November 22 brings great news
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    good luck fitz and i will try to learn your new language so the next time we meet you can understand me better take care and heal fast
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    Ken, great news and hope all goes as planned!
    I think it is easier to interpret Larry than it is to decipher his typing!!
    I remember when my Grandfather got his first hearing aids, he sat there in church, kept turning them up until he could hear the preacher, then the pew behind us a baby let out squalling, don't know if Grandpa or the mom jerked more/faster/quicker!!!!

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    All the best with the new hearing aid implant.
    Chinese Proverb: Man who eats many prunes gets good run for the money.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Reno NV

    looking forward to a successful report on the 22nd!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Here's hoping you do well with the implant and that we get a good report from you on November 22.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

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