Thursday, May 13, 2021

Becoming Marvelous!

 Meant to make this post sooner but alas, life kept me busy, and I also wanted to experience the Marvels for a while too.

April 16th, I received an email from Advanced Bionics that my left Marvel kit had shipped, and that it should arrive by Monday! Woot woot! I shot off an email to my audiologist to let her know, since she was coming up the following week to hold a CI Clinic with her Wyoming clients. She said she would work me into the schedule somehow.

Monday arrived, and I was eager to get home from work to another AB package! I shoved the package inside my door and got my dog taken cared of first. Then I got to digging into the package.

Backpack #2!

More Monkey friends from another Pediatric Kit.

Blue Ocean!

They sent me large blue batteries instead of medium. Turns out the mediums are on backorder, so I will use the larges until the mediums are back in stock, then AB will ship out the mediums.

Loving the colors!

Had to try them on.

The AquaMics.

Slim Headpiece on the left, AquaMic on the right.
The microphone placement has moved for AquaMic use.

TV Connector!

Mix and match

The different battery chargers.

TV Connect set up and ready for use.

My audiologist wasn't able to squeeze me into her schedule for Friday, April 23, but she said that she could program my Marvels on Thursday afternoon instead. Perfect! I showed up at the Child Development Center at 5:30 and tried my best to wait patiently while she was seeing another client. Finally, I was able to see her. I was so excited!

Audiologist got right to work. First she inserted the magnets into the headpieces (decided on 2's for the Headpieces, and 3s for the Aquamics), and she got the NoahLink going. It took a few tries before her laptop recognized both of the Marvels. They had to be assigned left and right. She essentially copied the programs I had on my Q70s, and transfer them over to the new software for the Marvels, set Autosense as Program 1, Calm Situation as Program 2, and Off-Ear as Program 3. She almost activated SoftVoice, but I had heard that this specific programming can cause a static-like sound in quiet environments, and requested to leave SoftVoice turned off for the time being. She also activated the Bluetooth process. My right red Marvel is the main Bluetooth device, and both Marvels will stream Bluetooth audio at the same time. We also got my Remote App paired with my Marvels as well! I turned on some music on my phone while I was still in the office, to make sure the Bluetooth streaming was working. I was amazed!

Marvels ready for programming!

Freshly programmed!

My CI station

Trying out the TV Connector

The different programs I can choose via the Remote App.

There's the ability to check each device to make sure they're working, and to check battery levels.

The volume can be split up and changed for each device, or joined together so the volume is the same on both devices. I was just playing around with the app.

I absolutely like that I can control the balance! I can set the TV Connector (or Bluetooth streaming) to a 50/50 mix ratio so I can still hear background noise, or just forget the background noise and focus only on streaming! Neat!

Advanced Bionics also has a new app out. They redid their ABClix app from a few years ago, and released it as WordSuccess (iOS link; Google Play link).
This was my first test exercise with the new Marvels!
Not bad, not bad, but still some room for improvements.

Since getting my brand new Marvels programmed, I've just been spending time getting used to them and using them in different situations. These babies boot up much more quickly now, whereas with the Q70s the left one would boot up quickly enough but the right would take 5-8 seconds to boot up. No more of that odd delay! Program changes are also very quick as well, which is much better. Now, there is this boot up chime that plays on the Marvels. I will probably ask to have this chime turned off the next time I see my audiologist. Some days it's just annoying, other days not so much. 

I am absolutely loving the Bluetooth feature! I love that I can listen to music, and no one else can hear it. I've loaded up my iPhone with all sorts of music (I previously used an iPod classic with the ComPilot directly connected to it, since there is no Bluetooth with this iPod), and I can just go out and about, jamming away to the music on my phone. It's great! Phone calls with the Bluetooth has been quite handy too. The Marvels will use the T-mics for the microphone, picking up your voice when bluetoothing phone calls. It's pretty neat.

The TV Connector, on the other hand, has been a hassle. At first, I was really liking it! I like being able to hear the TV clearly, but after a while I would notice sound dropping out with the left Marvel only. Right one stays connected without any issues. I couldn't figure out why it's just the left one that would suddenly cut out then back in (just 1-2 seconds in between sounds). I would disconnect the Marvel batteries and reconnect, repair the Marvels to the TV Connector, etc. I even did some trouble shooting with my Cochlear Implant Consumer Specialist (CICS), and she would troubleshoot with an AB tech person, trying to figure out what is causing this issue. Sometimes it would be really bad, happening so constantly I was ready to rip my hair out and toss the TV Connector out of the window. CICS had me reset the TV Connector, and that seems to have helped... but after a while sound would just drop out real quick again here and there. I did get it working nicely with my Macbook (after being extremely frustrated the first time I tried it with my MacBook). It worked flawlessly with my old Windows 7 laptop, so I couldn't figure out why it was so horrible on the MacBook. After the resetting process, it was better with the MacBook, but then I was hearing a static sound when connected to the Windows 7 laptop. I have only just started using the Connector on my TV again, and it's been better (once in a while sound would drop). It's still a process, but I'm working at it. The TV Connector is a nice device, when it is working properly. 

I have also hit up the Aquatic Center the weekend after having the Marvels programmed. I wanted to try out the new Waterproof Batteries. I like that they are much smaller, and I like that I can stream music... provided the Waterproof set up doesn't go under water. If the processors go under water, then I lose the Bluetooth connection until they are out of the water again. But it was fun anyway. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

About to become Marvelous!

 It's been 9 years since my left CI was activated. It was fun, looking through my facebook memories of all the posts I made regarding the activation process, and thinking of how long it's been since this day. I still cannot believe that I can actually hear with my left cochlear implant, and even be able to understand some speech.

I thought, with my 9 year ear-versary, I would finally make a fresh post for this blog. I have finally acquired one brand new Marvel Sky cochlear implant processor! Yes, just one. I am still waiting to receive the left ear processor, since silly me, I decided to order 2 different colors. I thought it would be fun to do red for right, and blue for left. Unfortunately, Advanced Bionics didn't have the Ocean Blue color in stock when they shipped out half of my order. My insurance authorization for my upgrades was expiring on March 31, so in order to come up with a resolution, my Cochlear Implant Consumer Specialist requested that AB send me my right upgrade kit, and a Naida Q90 processor to hold on to, until the Ocean Blue is available for shipping. Ever since the brand new Marvel line was officially released from Advanced Bionics, AB headquarters has been slammed with orders for upgrades and new orders. And with Covid still going on, the production process has been slower than normal. They are only making a small batch of a few different colors on different days, so the upgrade specialists do not always necessarily know what colors they will have available on certain days.  It is indeed a very busy time for AB, trying to keep up with the demands.

While I am waiting for the Ocean Blue processor, I thought I would share the box opening process of my right ear kit, including the Lava Red processor. I will tell you this, I honestly felt like a little kid at Christmas time, diving into the AB box to unpack my new Marvel Sky processor. I took some pictures during the unpacking process, and did some comparisons between the Marvel Sky and one of my Naida Q70s.

I was so excited to come home to this package!

Ok, let's dive in!

The Marvels are being sent out in this new backpack!

Because I ordered the Sky, instead of the M90 (the Sky is the pediatric friendly processor, as it has pediatric-friendly programs/features to use in schooling type of environments, and fun color choices!), I was also sent a Pediatric Kit, which contains a bimodal Leo plush, and a child's backpack with some stickers, Snuggies, and a retention cord.

Here is the Cky CI box!

My Marvel was packed into this box.

This is a pretty nice case!

Lava red! How gorgeous is this processor? I'm in love!

Naida Q70 and the new Marvel Sky. T-mics and cables/headpieces have been redesigned. In fact, the new headpiece and cable are integrated, rather than being two separate pieces.

The Sky stacked on top of my Q70.

Side by side. The volume control button the Sky is also the program button; whereas on the Q70, the round white button is the program button. Interesting change.

The brand new waterproof battery kit for aquatic/active activities, as compared to the AquaCase for the Q line. I was amazed at how teeny tiny the new waterproof battery is! Wow!

One must remove the earhook/T-mic from the Marvel processor in order to use the waterproof battery kit. I'm ok with that, since I already tote around a waterproof box that I would stash my other Q70 and headpiece/cable into for safekeeping while using the AquaCase. I will just continue to use the box to keep the T-mics, Headpiece/cable, and batteries in while using the waterproof batteries. 

The PartnerMic. I thought this could come in handy if I'm out and about with a friend or my mom, and I would have them wear this to communicate with me, so that I could hear them better. But, from what I've heard of AB's new Autosense programming, I may not need the PartnerMic. But who knows, it'll be fun to try it out in different situations.

Again, I was amazed at how tiny this thing is!

The batteries. I ordered Mediums for my Skys, and pictured here is the 230 (large), and 170 mini (mini medium) for my Q70s. I've been hearing that the new Marvel batteries have improved battery life.

The new Aquamic headpiece setup, with Caribbean Pirate color caps. I ordered Majestic Purple caps for my left ear Aqua kit. I just want all the fun colors!

The different T-mics.

Comparison of the Aquamics. The new one certainly is slimmer.

Much slimmer!

And here is Leo with his pals, Buddy and Melody!

Another nice bonus to this new upgrade is that there is now a remote control app that can be downloaded to phones! An actual remote control is an accessory option on the order form, should someone want to order one for his/her use. I'm really excited at being able to control my new Skys with the remote app! The new Marvels have Bluetooth built in, so one will be able to stream with any Bluetooth-ready devices. How exciting is that! I cannot wait to take advantage of the Bluetooth options with my new ears!

I absolutely cannot wait to get my left ear kit, with the Ocean Blue processor, another waterproof battery kit, and a TV Connect so I can listen to whatever's playing on my TV better! I also cannot wait to see my audiologist, hopefully before the month of April is over, to get the new Marvel Skys programmed so I can start using them! This is a very exciting time in the AB world!