Author Archives: Mark Isham

Recent Booth Testing Result and a Great CI Animation

Mark here today. It’s been a while since I’ve posted – partly I’ve been pretty busy at work, but mostly because Eliza has just been nailing it on the blog lately. I really couldn’t be happier with our decision for Eliza to stay home with Fiona to focus 100% on therapy, it’s really been paying off dividends!

In fact just last week Fiona had her latest booth testing and she heard ALL 6 Ling sounds in the 20-30 dB range! Ling sounds are the basic building blocks of speech, including OOOO, MMMM, EEE, AHHH, SHHH and SSSS. This is an incredible result and at a DB level that is well inside the speech banana of normal hearing.

Speech Banana

Speech Banana

Hard to believe how far Fiona has come in just 5 months! While it’s certainly a team effort, Eliza’s relentless focus on therapy day in and out is paying off handsome dividends! What a great mom!

Anyway, love-fest aside, I found this great “step by step” overview of how Cochlear Implants work today. It’s a complicated device, so I’m always looking for easier ways to explain how they work. This is one of the clearest explanations i’ve seen so far (and has fun flashing animations!)

Check it out if you get a moment:

Anyway, short update today. Hope everyone is doing great and enjoying their summer!

Activation Day! (Round 2)

Today was Fiona’s activation day for her second (left) ear. While the day had only a fraction of the fanfare of her original activation day, it’s still an important milestone as she now begins her life with full stereoscopic sound.

Eliza had a great post on this a few weeks ago with Two Ears are Better then One, but the net of all this is the benefits are far greater then just redundancy of hearing. Two functional ears are critical for localization of sound, something we take for granted in our day to day life. In addition, the overall quality of the sound is greatly improved by having both ears working in concert.

The procedure ran very similar to the original activation day, with the first hour spent mapping the new processor frequencies, and then the second hour testing her reception of sound. The procedure was complicated somewhat further by the fact that we had to turn on and off her existing processor to make sure she was picking up sound properly from the new ear.

As you can see here, the new setup has more wires to tangle up, which is something we’ll need to get acclimated to.

Two processors

Two processors

Umm, toy pie!

Umm, toy pie!


We’ve also switched to the Advanced Bionics Naida processor on both ears, which you can see clipped to the back of her shirt in the above picture. These processors are actually designed to be worn over the ear (hence the ear-like shape), but Fiona is too young to wear them in that configuration right now. Instead, clipping to the shirt is far more manageable until she’s old enough to manage the processors on the ear herself.

We also have lots of new Advanced Bionics gear to go with these processors, as you can see decked out below.

Fiona1 (3)

We’re facing a new challenge with the amount of exposed wiring, and Fiona loves to tug the ear pieces off her head. Eliza is on the case, though, already designing elaborate headbands and shirt tucking contraptions. I think she may have a career ahead of her in CI clothing!

Anyway, we did shoot some video today. At the start we didn’t get much of a response, but towards the end we were starting to see some glimmers. This is not unlike her first ear, though, where we saw the biggest improvements in the weeks following her activation.

This video starts near the end of the activation process when we started seeing some glimmers. What’s really interesting, though, is when her right (original) processor is turned back on around the 3:33 mark – Fiona has a clear reaction and almost instantly starts humming. She’s normally a very vocal girl, but was dead quiet during most of the left ear activation. When the right was turned back on, it was almost like flipping a hearing switch. Pretty telling, and surely a sign to come for her left ear down the road.

And finally, here are some more pics that have nothing to do with the activation, but are just so darn cute because it’s my daughter, enjoy 🙂

Learning to program

Learning to code just like Dad…

The most flexible you'll ever be Fiona, enjoy it now!

The most flexible you’ll ever be Fiona, enjoy it now!




Back Home

Fiona is now back home and starting her journey to healing. She’s already back to her spunky self just one day later. Next up will be activation of her second ear on Thursday, June 19th. Everything is moving so rapidly right now!

Mom and Dad are bushed from a long night at the hospital, but doing fine.

Here’s the obligatory “Radio Flyer…Part 2” video from our second visit. I see a tradition starting!


Fiona is resting comfortably with mom now. Everything went great with the procedure and things are sailing along more smoothly this time then last.

Here are a few pictures from the day. As you can probably tell there’s a bit of a monkey theme going today…






Round 2 Tomorrow!

We’re all set for surgery #2, early tomorrow morning! It’s hard to believe it’s already been 3 months since Fiona’s first surgery back on March 7th, she has come so far since then.

This time around the doctor will be implanting her left ear in an identical process to the prior surgery. While he’s in the area, he’ll also be checking out the right ear to make sure everything is still healthy.

While we’re a little wiser and more experienced going into this second surgery, the fear always remains whenever your child goes under the knife.

If all goes well we’ll be spending the night in the hospital tomorrow night, then back home by early Saturday. If history is any guide, Fiona will be running around like nothing happened by Saturday afternoon. We’ll see if she’s up for any repeat radio flyer rides this time around.

Send good luck thoughts our way!

Fiona Glamor Spread

Fiona Glamor Spread