The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

Hearing Aid Woes, and CI stuff Monday, March 13, 2006

To make a long story short, my hearing aids are messed up.

Remember this entry where I talked about battery problems? Well I found out why today. I’ve had my hearing aids for about 8+ years, and the normal lifespan of hearing aids is around 3 years. They were awesome ones…the Widex P38s.

So, my options are that I need to either:

1. get them fixed (at a cost of $130 per hearing aid, with no guarantee they can be fixed)
2. get brand new ones (at a cost of $1,100 per hearing aid)
3. get one brand new hearing aid, get one fixed, and then get the cochlear implant.

The Hearing Aids/Cochlear Implants I’m Looking At (For My Degree Of Hearing Loss)
My only demand is that they *must* be compatible with my iPOD. Can’t live without it. And if I get a CI, I need to be able to plug both the CI and the hearing aid into my iPOD…I wonder how that’s going to work. :-/

Digital Hearing Aids

Oticon Sumo DM
Oticon Syncro 2 Power
Siemens Triano SP

Cochlear Implants

Nucleus Freedom
Advanced Bionics Auria
And a new cochlear implant is coming out this summer from Advanced Bionics that has 120(?) channels, as compared to the current implants that are 22-24 channels.

My first choice from when I went through the evaluation last spring was the Auria, and then the Freedom. I was already declared a “very good candidate” on March 24, 2005. I am scared to death, but at the same time, this might be something that I should do, especially since I have till the age of 26 to get nearly full coverage on the implant from my insurance company as long as I am a full-time student. The new genetic technology/hair-cell growth that they’ve got in the guinea pigs and chickens is still anywhere between 10 to 20 years off. And I realized that by then I will be 33 or 43…why wait that long? Especially since I have so many years ahead of me right now, in this moment.

Advanced Bionics is said to be better with music. And the new 120 channel one sounds really promising. But if you really want to listen to music, digital hearing aids are the way to go. I’m afraid to lose my ability to listen, recognize, and differentiate the sounds in music. I still want to be able to play the piano and the drums and be able to appreciate the full range of tones and sounds.

I spent nearly 4 hours at the Hearing Aid Shop today…first getting new earmolds…waiting 30 minutes for my appointment, then nearly 2 and half hours in the audiology booth doing testing and trying to reprogram my hearing aids, without much luck. Then he called my mom and talked to her about what was going on.

The normal battery drain is 1.5mA…mine was at like 3.6 and 2.7…which was really bad. And for the test, it was doing these things he had never seen, with sharp spikes and drops at each frequency point till it leveled out to what it’s normally supposed to do. And all those batteries that I kept replacing? They’re all good…practically brand new. We tested them in the charger.

I can barely hear in one ear, and the other one is okay…I finally switched them around, since I’m more left-ear-dominant (even though my hearing loss is greater in that ear), so now I can hear, but it sucks. I have to wait between 10 to 14 days to get my new earmolds. then I have to get a new audiogram, then test out the digital ones for awhile and see which one I like. After that, I can get started on the CI stuff. Oy vey.

Hopefully I can have the CI surgery this summer (with the Auria or with the 120-channel)…either at St. Joe’s, or Mayo Clinic.

In addition to all that, there’s screwup over the serial # of one of my hearing aids…apparently it’s listed as being on the shelf at Widex, and the one they have listed as me wearing now, I don’t even have on. And the first number (off of my records) belongs to another person. I need to call and trace back all my audiology records.