The Bionic Sound Project

this girl’s journey to sound

Update on Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants Monday, April 3, 2006

I have new digital hearing aids on. I also got my old hearing aid back in from repair. My first thought when putting on my old fixed hearing aid after we put the old program back in…”HOLY S***!” I had no idea I was missing out on that much sound and was totally awestruck by the changes in listening. I still need a new one anyway, but who knows…I may hold out on getting a new hearing aid till after I get the cochlear implant, especially since I am so happy to have my old hearing aid back and really love those.

I finally got one major question answered for me today from Catherine C., which alleviated one of my major concerns and it has pretty much set the wheels in motion. I was concerned with the new 120-Channel implant from Advanced Bionics, to be released this summer/fall, but my understanding that it is the PROCESSOR, not the implant itself. If I decided to go ahead with Advanced Bionics, I would be implanted with the HiRes™ 90K Implant, and then would be getting the processor. Which one, I don’t know yet. I’m excited but scared at the same time. But my only concern is that you can’t try out different implants like you can try out different hearing aids.

So, after meeting with the ENT last Thursday, and talking to him about the differences in CIs and my candidacy, he thinks I would be a very excellent candidate for a CI. Based on my history with my hearing aids and the amount of training that I’ve had, plus my speech comprehension rate with hearing aids and without hearing aids is pretty excellent for a person with my degree of hearing loss, but still isn’t enough to succeed and understand without lipreading, and falls under the implant criteria. He thinks that if I was to get an implant, that I will succeed greatly with it. In fact, his exact words were “i think you will put on the implant and look back at digital hearing aids and wonder why you didn’t get it sooner”. He also thinks I should consider getting a bilateral implant. That’s not something that I am ready to commit to just yet. I want to start with one, and if I can’t hear as well, then oh well.

But Amanda also posted this link about a new cochlear implant that is 4 to 5 years away.

Anyways, Dr. S and I had decided on the Oticon Sumo DM, because he said they were most like the Widex P38s that I have, and if I really liked those, then I might like the Sumo DM. So I walked in there today to meet with Mandy D. She had the Sumos out and the Siemens Triano SP on the desk. She asked me which one I would like to try out, and I told her about my discussion with Dr. S, and that I wanted to start off with it. She suggested that the Triano SP would be a better match for me, based on my hearing loss and my auditory goals. She was there when I was talking to the ENT and was listening to me explain about my history and my goals with my hearing, and that’s when she was thinking about which hearing aids I should get when we met up again today.

So off we head to the audiology booth. First we reprogram the repaired Widex P38, to my joy. Then we went through the setup process for the Sumos. I could barely hear ANYTHING with them on. We tinkered with the program for it, and she finally had it pushed at max, and I still couldn’t hear much of anything with it. So that was the end of it. (Sorry Amanda, I guess my hearing loss is worse than yours, because I couldn’t hear the powerfulness of it, like you said it was.)

I put on the Trianos, and I could actually hear with them, even though they weren’t programmed. Of course, we still had to set it up, but the basic fact was that I could actually hear when I put them on. And there’s still PLENTY of room for adjustment with these hearing aids, so I’m happy about that.

My only complaint about these is that the audio boots seem rather awkward (i’m borrowing them so I can evaluate how it works with my iPod) and i can’t get them to snap in place without having to take off my hearing aid, snap the boot on, and then put it on. I don’t like that, because you can hear the “eeee” as it’s off my ear and I have to stick it back on my ear quickly, and then set the program to T. And right now, I’m having a hard time hearing with the left ear. I need to go back and get it adjusted. I took it off for the time being because I was really lacking in sound, and put my repaired one back on.

Anyways, Mandy was teasing me that she would save her gloating about the Trianos, and I said to her, “both you and my mom.” Both of them, especially my mom, were warning me to not get caught up in one hearing aid and to try out different ones. So yeah, you guys were right. Ha. :-p

The only thing is that now my eardrums are sore from adjusting to all the new sounds and stuff. I need to go back and fix the settings because I have a headache.

So, if I decide to get these, I need to decide what color I want to get. I am tempted to go with the translucent ones…the only thing is that she said they GLOW. I’m not sure how bright or what color they glow, but that sounds cool. I’m not sure I want to be a glow-in-the-dark girl, but hey, i’m all about individuality. I have no idea what the other colors are, but I really do not want a skin-tone one because after 20+ years of that color, I’m ready for something new. That’s the one I have right now, it’s skin-tone color.

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The process of getting new hearing aids starts today!

So excited, I get to start the process of getting my new hearing aids today. I’ve been waiting for this since March 13!

I’m going to start off with the Sumo DM.

First I have to get an audiogram, but I really hope that I will be able to leave today with a pair of new hearing aids. I also hope that I will be able to get a pair of audio input headphones so I can continue to listen to my iPOD. They said that one appointment a week for 5 weeks is required for evaluating new hearing aids. I don’t know if I can live without an iPOD for that long, haha. I wonder how one hearing aid and one cochlear implant would work with listening to an iPOD.