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How to get the most out of your CI Mapping Appointment

Posted By Naama Tsach, PhD, Tuesday, October 6, 2020

In a week you will meet with your audiologist. If you are like most people, you haven’t seen her or him in a year or more. With COVID 19, a lot of things have lost their normal pace so it well may be longer than a year. Mapping sessions are often short and technical.  You arrive for your appointment and are then connected to your audiologist's computer. Objective and behavioral measurements are conducted, which often indicate no change in your hearing thresholds. Sometimes there are software updates or other new features from your CI manufacturer that are added to your program. If that is the case, you may go home with a slightly different map and adaptation directions. Sometimes you go out of the session with the same map as you came in with, feeling relieved and you return to your routine.

I suggest looking differently at your mapping sessions. Think of them as an opportunity to share your listening experience with your audiologist and to improve your hearing with your CI. You already know that hearing with a cochlear implant is not perfect and it can be a struggle in many situations. What you might not know is that your audiologist has adjustments that (s)he can make in your map to make it easier for you and to improve your hearing outcomes.  But your audiologist needs to better understand what you are experiencing.

Before writing about what you can talk about with your audiologist, I want to emphasize the importance of coming to your appointment with all the external parts in optimal condition. For example, check and change the cable and microphone cover (if your device has these parts and if it is needed.  If you don’t know how to do this, bring the spare parts to the session and your audiologist will teach you how to change them. Another tip is to write down answers to the following questions and take it with you. This will help you provide the information in the most organized and efficient way and it will also serve as documentation for your next mapping session.

It is important that your audiologist knows about the following:

  1. Listening experience. Do you enjoy listening with your CI? Do you like the quality of the sounds? Do you ever find the sound unpleasant? If so, in what places/situations/times? Are there specific speech sounds that bother you?

  2. Distinguishing between sounds. Are there speech sounds that sound the same or very similar for you? Include examples.

  3. Hours of use. How many hours per day do you use your CI? Do you consistently use it on weekends? Do you use it when you are alone at home? It would be helpful if you make a one-week log with a detailed description of your daily CI use.

  4. Times when you prefer to not use your CI. Are there certain situations in which you prefer not to use your CI? If so, when?

  5. Impact on your energy level. Does using you CI affect your energy level? Does it ever make you tired?

  6. Facial stimulation. Do you ever have any facial sensation on the side of the implanted ear?

  7. Tinnitus. Do you suffer from tinnitus? Does using your CI affect your tinnitus and if so how? Does it mitigate tinnitus or make it worse?

  8. Loudness level. Do you feel comfortable with the loudness of sounds you get through your CI? Is it too loud or too soft? Is it altering?

  9. Processor program use. Do you use all the programs you have for your device? Which ones do you use and in what situations?

  10. Assistive Listening Device use. Do you use or consider using assistive listening devices (ALDs) such as FM or infrared systems? Do you have the ability to use Bluetooth and do you use it? Your audiologist can consult and update you about the different options available

  11. Bilateral hearing. Are you using a hearing aid in your non-implanted ear? If you are and planning to purchase a new hearing aid, you may want to consult your audiologist about the selection. There are types and models of hearing aids that allow many CI users to enjoy connectivity between the hearing aid and their CI as well as more convenient use of ALDs. Be sure that your hearing aid dispenser is aware of your needs. You may want to connect that professional to your CI audiologist to ensure that your care is coordinated. Are you considering going bilateral? Consider questions to ask your audiologist about this option. If you use two CIs, do you feel that your hearing is balanced?

  12. Upgrades. Are you considering upgrading your processor?

Meeting with your audiologist is an opportunity for you to resolve hearing issues that you find difficult or impossible to resolve.  Approach your mapping session as an opportunity to improve your hearing experience in diverse ways by engaging fully with your CI professional, getting their advice, and being updated with relevant information on your technology.

Click here to download a PDF version of this article. 

 

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The mission of the American Cochlear Implant (ACI) Alliance is to advance access to the gift of hearing provided by cochlear implantation through research, advocacy and awareness.