Activation Day

Activation Day

imageSo, the anxiety of surgery is over and you are awaiting activation day. What can you expect?

I wish I could provide everyone with a realistic expectation for activation day, but there are too many variables to consider.

There are some questions related to who you are…Are you a pre-lingually deafened adult?  An adult who recently lost your hearing?  A young adult/older teenager whose hearing loss has been progressive? A parent of a young child with prior language?  A parent of very young child with no language?

While these questions are part of the picture, they are not all that you need to consider. Then comes the question of: Who is your audiologist? The approach to initial stimulation is not consistent amongst audiologists. Thus, I am unable to provide you with a guarantee about what you can expect. Unfortunately, each audiologist/center has a different perspective on the initial stimulation. Some believe that the first day is just exposure to a little bit of sound, while others try to provide a maximum comfort level for the moment. Thus, some patients walk out barely hearing anything, while others might feel the stimulation is too much. Additionally many audiologists adjust the way they approach activation day based upon where the patient fits into the above categories.

How does this help? Unfortunately, it doesn’t. No one can tell you what to expect. Everyone is different.

If you are an adult with hearing loss…
You can try to find someone with a very similar background, being programmed by the same audiologist. You might want to ask your audiologist to provide you with the name of a patient with a similar history. But, if you are unable to obtain this information, what can you do?

Ask a lot of questions of your audiologist prior to activation day…

  • What can I expect the day of activation?
  • How long should I expect the appointment to last?
  • How much time do I have to acclimate to the sounds I hear, prior to leaving for the day?
  • What is the typical experience at activation for your patients with a similar history?
  • Are you generally conservative on the first day of activation?
  • Is it possible that sounds might be too loud for me after activation? If they are, what should I do?
  • Is it possible that sounds will be too soft for me after activation? If they are, what can I do?
  • When will I return for a second MAPping?
  • What information can I bring next time that will help you to program the device on the 2nd visit?

If you are the parent of a child receiving a cochlear implant…
Remember every child is different. Some children are amazed and show excitement when hearing sound or your voice for the first time. Other children are terrified, not understanding what is happening or where the sound is suddenly coming from. Either way, remember the reaction at that first moment is NOT an indication of what the future will bring. Support your child in the moment and look forward to future MAPpings where time will be spent optimizing the auditory input that your child receives. You can also ask some questions?

  • Are you generally conservative on the first day of activation?
  • Is it possible that my child might find the sounds too loud once we are home? If so, what should I do?
  • If I do not see my child reacting to sounds when we are at home, is there anything I should do?
  • When will we return for a second MAPping?
  • What information can I bring to you that will help you to program the device on the 2nd visit?

Looking Forward…
No matter what your experience is on that initial activation day, remember it is only the beginning. Make the most of it! Remember that auditory training/listening therapy is critical to optimizing potential with the new device.


3 thoughts on “Activation Day

  1. Sara

    Thanks Michele, good info. My daughter was born with bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss. She was bilaterally implanted in January at 10 months old and activated a few days before her first birthday.
    We are now almost two weeks after activation and she is doing really well.
    We live in Northern Ireland and the regional implant centre turns up the volume very slowly to avoid fear or pain in the children. So far, everything has been tolerated well, we are due to turn her up again in a few days.
    You are right about the variations in response on activation day – the YouTube videos are beautiful but not common reactions to those who have no hearing memory. We have seen responses but at present, she still just looks for/at the noise and doesn’t really show any emotion towards it, however we are happy with slow and steady progress at the moment especially as she was implanted so young.
    Sara xx

  2. Alison

    Such good points here by both of you. I have a BAHA and am soon upgrading to a CI. I had sudden single sided deafness and I can vouch for the fact that there is a perception in the general public that an implant is a miracle cure, and an excuse for them to make less effort — problem over. I will be educating my colleagues that my CI will be a growing thing. People seem to get off on the emotive switch on videos and have no idea that the implant is only the beginning.

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