(image from http://ciborg.lillarosin.com/en/tag/advanced-bionics)
There are many wonderful sites and blogs explaining more about how the device works, many of which have been invaluable to me in my evaluation.
Countdown to becoming a cyborg: 12 days. After the device is implanted, the surgical site heals, the external processor is turned on, and then the real journey begins. Countdown: almost one month.
My experience is especially interesting, because I am getting implanted at a later age. Most cochlear implant recipients are either small children whose parents decide to have them implanted, or older people who have lost their hearing later in life. Since stimulation of the auditory nerve is essential to establishing the neural connections that allow the brain to maximally interpret sound, anyone in my situation is at an inherent disadvantage. Although I have worn hearing aids my entire life, the amount of stimulation they have provided my brain is perhaps minimal. We shall see. Although encouraged by some specialists, my own parents declined to implant me when I was young because they wanted me to make that decision for myself - something for which I will always be grateful. But, in my situation, I find myself oddly alone. There is a general lack of prelingually deaf implantees out there. This is a complex and somewhat political topic, but again - more later.
Before closing, a final note: I struggled with what to title this blog. At first, I composed a list of phrases and puns involving the word "ear," and tried to think of some play on the word "audible." Longing to be clever, I knew I did not want to choose something like "Rachel's Cochlear Implant Blog." This journey is about far more than hearing, far more than cochlear implants - it encompasses fundamental questions about identity, communication, and interaction. (If this does not make sense now, I hope that it will soon.) In the end, the title "Perception Unearthed" seemed to fit. I pray that my cochlear implant journey will teach me far more than just hearing. I pray that it will uncover, or unearth, startling insights, lessons, and perceptions about myself and my world. I constantly dwell on clarity and discovery. And, as a means to attain this, I write.