As you probably already know, I have Freedom processors by Cochlear. Picking out a brand is an extremely hard decision, and there really is no "right" choice. No matter what they say, one brand is not going to give you better hearing than another. Even people who have a different brand of implant in each ear are not a reliable source of knowing, because as you should have learned from my other blog posts, no two ears are alike! Some brands have better track records on reliability, which is what influenced my decision. One of my closest friends with a CI has a different brand, and we occasionally talk about our envies in each other's implants. She was implanted many years ago with a Clarion, and while the company has come out with a BTE, it just doesn't work for her since the battery only lasts a couple of hours. So she uses a bodyworn processor. She often gets jealous when I start talking about walking in the rain, or running through random people's sprinklers when I walk my dog. Her processor can't get wet at all. I get jealous that she doesn't have to deal with a bulky processor constantly falling off of her ear(s)! We both hear really well, and are both happy with what we have, we just wish that both of our companies would come out with completely waterproof processors! Everyone is different, and what is right for one may not be right for another (which is why you shouldn't bash other implant brands or try to shove your personal brand down someone else's throat!--just sayin') I have been more than happy with my Freedoms, and really feel like I made the right choice(for me!)
The great thing about the Freedoms is that they have two battery options- disposables and rechargeable. I started out on both sides using rechargeable, but it turns out that I am a power junkie. My MAPS require a LOT of power, plus I have thick hair which means it takes a little more power to transmit the sound through to the implant. On my first side the rechargeable only last 6 hours, which just does not work for me. I could be in the middle of a playing test in orchestra, or listening to an important class discussion, and it was just inconvenience to have to change them. That's why I use disposables, which usually last me a full day, unless I get up really early and stay up late or in an excessively loud environment (whenever we have pep rallies, my batteries die as soon as I get home from school). I've become a pro at changing batteries quickly and can change them in a matter of seconds. I go through a pack a day (of batteries, not anything else!) with having two ears, so being able to change them quickly when I get a bad batch of batteries, or when they die without reason is important to me.
So what's my point, you're wondering?
Not too long ago the little cover over where I plug in the accessory cables and FM got ripped off of the controller on my old side. It was probably due to me trying the FM at a camp for kids with hearing loss that I recently attended, and the FM just does not work with my old side (whole 'nother post with more details coming soon), which was discovered after many times of taking the FM boot in and out of the accessory plug-in thingy (what's it called?!) and replacing it with the normal battery rack. Combine that with me listening to my iPod for 10 hours each way on our road trip to New Orleans, that probably wore the poor little rubber cover out! This kind of thing is a pretty rare occurrence, but thankfully Cochlear was able to ship me another controller in just 2 days, even though the one I had was technically still working, and I had a back-up.
The problem? The new controller arrived, and I inspected it. I noticed the battery rack looked a little different. I took out the one from my left side and compared them.
The one on the left is the new battery rack that was just shipped to me, and the one on the right is the kind I'm used to having. Please excuse my lack of photography skills and my deodorant in the background . :)
The main difference I noticed was the gold strip was now just a straight line instead of turning at the top, and the little battery outlines were changed from black to gold. I figured it was just cosmetic, until I went to put batteries in. It felt odd, like I was putting them in backwards, and you really had to push to get the battery in. I figured it just took some getting used to.
The next morning I went to go change my batteries. I started with the right side. I pushed the two top batteries out with little issue, just had to push them a little bit harder than usual. Then I got to the bottom battery. I could not, for the life of me, get this thing out! I pushed and I pushed, and it would not budge! I then resorted to using every object I could think of to try to get it out, to no avail. Finally, I handed it to my mom and pouted. After spending a couple of minutes, she was finally able to get it out using her long, acrylic nails. The end result? A waste of ten minutes, the loss of my battery-changing independence and the ruining of my brand-new hot pink manicure (I say this at the risk of sounding shallow. Really, I'm not!)
It's become pretty much the same routine every morning. Try, fail, resort to random household objects, fail yet again, make my mom do it. It seems that the gold strip is not the only difference.
The one on the left is new, the one on the right is the original kind. Don't see a difference? On the old ones, the bottom battery always stuck out. It wasn't because it was broken, that's just how they're made. On the new kind, it seems they've decided to forgo this, and it has caused me some serious battery-changing issues!
Today was the first day I managed to get the bottom battery out on my own. It took a while, but I did it. I think I may just use some old battery racks I have if this doesn't get any easier.
Just a tiny annoyance compared to the joy I get from hearing the world around me. Today I heard what sounded like an Ice Cream Truck for the first time! A little battery trouble is nothing compared to the delight I get from hearing a friend whisper a secret in my ear, or foiling my dog's plan of trying to sneak up behind me with his nails clacking on the floor with each step. The pleasure of listening to and making music always brings me joy, and I will forever be grateful to Cochlear and everyone involved in my journey through bionic hearing. Even if they had to go and change something that was working just fine before! (Cochlear, are you listening?!)