Before I dig into this week’s topic, I just have to say, I cannot believe that November is less than a week away and the surgery date is less than 3 weeks away! November seemed like it was so far in the distance when I made the appointment back in July and now it is standing at the door. I am looking at my schedule for the upcoming weeks and it is jam packed with trying to get as much done before surgery date as possible. Thankful for my supportive place of employment at the Summit Educational Service Center and my audiology squad that I work with!
It is interesting to reflect on where my mind has been going lately when I think about the surgery. Every time I go some place, I keep thinking…..this is the last time that I will hear like this _________________ (in a restaurant, at a social gathering, at a soccer game, at work, and the list goes on). It is both scary and exciting to think about what CI hearing is going to sound like. These are the last few weeks that I am going to hear “acoustically” out of both of my ears.
CI Device Selection!
Based on the testing that was performed, my hearing loss is the same in both ears, but my discrimination (ability to understand words) is much poorer in my left ear than my right. Implanting my worse/left ear is the surgical decision and next steps!
When I was initially deciding where I wanted to go for a CI, one of my own personal prerequisites was whether the CI center implanted multiple devices or if they just implanted one manufacturer. I understand that there are a multitude of reasons that go into selection of a device, but for me, I wanted to know what all my options were so that I could be part of the informed process. For those of you who are reading this blog and don’t know much about the CI world, currently there are 3 main manufacturers of cochlear implants (another one is starting which would make 4). I was also able to talk extensively with Dr. Adunka about the 3 different choices and received valuable insight about the internal device (part that will be implanted) as it compared to my personal hearing loss and results of the CT scan. My audiologist (Dr. LaPrete) shared with me a device comparison sheet and manufacturer information and I was able to go home and look at this. I ended up from the information that was shared at my appointment landing on this blog that was incredibly helpful called CochlearImplantHELP. This blog is not a manufacturer blog so it is giving unbiased information about different CI’s. I loved this comparison chart as it puts all the important comparison points into one document. https://cochlearimplanthelp.com/cochlear-implant-comparison-chart/. There is also a lot of other GREAT information on this blog and would highly recommend following if considering a CI.
For all of you reading this blog who may be thinking about a CI, I encourage you to do your own research, talk with the CI team, talk with CI recipients, and go with what feels right for you. Putting on my “audiology hat”, I have had the opportunity to work with children who have CI’s and it is not the device that determines the success. It is the expert placement of the internal device by the surgeon, the CI mapping audiologist and patient relationship to establish baseline and continued mapping/programming, the hard work that goes into learning how to listen with the CI (yes, I will be participating in intensive auditory training therapy after my CI!), and of course the village of support that is needed from family and friends. There are always going to be individual variables that will impede the success of progress that may or may not be accounted for and everyone is individual. Cochlear implants are a modern marvel and I am thankful for the engineers and scientists at each manufacturer who study this and continue to improve the internal and external devices so that individuals like me can benefit.
I mentioned my AuD w/HL friends in a previous blog. Some of my friends use AB and some use Cochlear devices. They ALL have encouraged me to do my own research and choose what is best for me. The encouragement for me is that each of my AuD w/HL friends are successful users with the personal choice that they have made AND each said that they would make the choice again. After doing much research on my own and comparing the different devices as well as external options, I decided that the Advanced Bionics (AB) cochlear implant is the right choice for ME. On August 29, I had my CI selection appointment with Dr. LaPrete and was able to select my color and accessories! Another step closer on this incredible, decibel experience!!!