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Hi judyca7, I'll try to answer some of your questions. My experience is based on living with hearing loss for many years, and getting involved in HLAA. I have learned so much from other hard of hearing people…more than from anywhere else.

First, the information you are getting about cochlear implants seems awfully biased. Yes, it will take some rehabilitation, but you can do that. Some people are able to rehab faster than others. A lot depends on your willingness to work on it. After a CI, your brain has to adjust to hearing differently. In most cases, the auditory nerve that sends signals to the brain has not been stimulated for a long time. It's functional, but has to be reinvigorated. My personal experience of getting a CI after over 30 years of progressive hearing loss was very positive. I was able to understand sounds I had not heard in years shortly after activation, and understanding speech came to me within a few months after activation. It sounded funny at first, but within a few months it sounded very clear.

The CI was done in my poorer ear. However, I had worked hard for two years to rehab that bad ear by using hearing aids with telecoils to listen to audio books. Prior to that I had not ever used an aid in that ear. I am sure that dormant hearing ability was stimulated a bit even though I tested out with a 95 decibel loss. When the sense of hearing goes unused for a length of time auditory deprivation may occur. It's kind of like having one's arm in a cast for a long time. That arm has to be exercised to regain muscle and flexibility, etc.

Attitude is a big factor in determining candidacy for cochlear implant surgery. One has to have realistic expectations and the realization that you will probably have to work at learning how to hear differently. I use the word 'differently' tongue in cheek…because what I hear now with my CI and hearing aid working together sounds completely natural to me. That includes music.

Telecoils are extremely helpful in both hearing aids and in CIs. A telecoil is a component inside a hearing aid or CI processor that acts like an antenna that connects to an audio system. It doubles the value of a hearing aid. It's like a separate system within the hearing aid itself that can be used in different ways. However, you have to learn to use it and have equipment that connects you to those things you want to hear. This should be a 'teaching moment' for every one who sells hearing aids. Unfortunately, many just ignore that opportunity.

Here's how it works. If there is an assistive listening system called a hearing loop in a room with a public address system (church, theater, performing arts center, business center, your own TV room, etc.), all you have to do is push a button on a hearing aid or CI processor to activate the telecoil. That turns off the hearing device's regular microphone, and picks up sound directly from the microphone being used by the speaker. It's like having binoculars for your ears as it cuts out all the extraneous noise in the area. You only hear what you want to hear. A small loop can be worn around one's neck and plugged into an audio device too. I use a 'neck loop' with my laptop all the time. It works great on Zoom, and when listening to YouTube presentations.

The hearing aid industry has been trying to eliminate extra components in hearing aids for years. Why? To make them smaller. Eliminating the telecoil in any of them has not made them better. The industry is also pushing BlueTooth technology. BT is great, but it does not replace telecoils. It also adds considerable cost, while a telecoil adds about $10. You need both if you want the whole package. That is true in CI processors too. Hard of hearing people in the know, who want to remain in the hearing mainstream will all tell you that.

If you look at advertisements for hearing aids, they all promote denial by saying their hearing aids are invisible. "No one will know you're wearing it", etc. How crazy is that? Why should people who need help hearing feel embarrassed for getting help? I respect the field of audiology, but find it disappointing that this stigma based attitude in marketing the products that help us continues.

Why you have trouble keeping an ear mold in one ear is mystifying. When having new ear molds made over the years, I have often had to have them filed down a bit. That's not unusual. They are created a lot like dental inlays. An impression is taken of the place that needs to be filled, and it must be perfect to be right.

I hope you can find the answers you need. Hearing aids are our first line of defense, but cochlear implants can help those of us with serious to profound hearing loss. An international consortium recently determined that CIs should be used more than they are. I believe there is information about that at http://www.hearingloss.org I understand you don't like searching on the internet, but there are a lot of answers there. Have you tried participating in any Zoom meetings held by HLAA chapters? Many are inviting anyone interested to join the discussions. As I said earlier, I've learned more from people like me than from the pros. Part of that is because we people can openly ask questions, complain a bit, share feelings, and get the kind of help we need. It helps to meet and talk with people who share the same concerns. Peer support rocks!

Sorry so long, but you asked a lot of questions. 🙂 Julie

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Replies to "Hi judyca7, I'll try to answer some of your questions. My experience is based on living..."

Julie, thanks for the encouragement about using an aid in an ear that's pretty close to useless. I was tested for a CI about a year ago, but failed by 5% overall, thanks to an aid in my sorta good ear. When I spent a year not really being able to hear much with my "good" ear, I realized that I was getting some sound from my bad ear, which hasn't heard much for nearly 40 years. Fortunately, thanks to taking mega-doses of HRT to offset Meniere's going bilateral, I've regained much of the hearing I had before going bilateral. Now that I'm stable and have done the first three months of intense VRT, I'm thinking about trying an aid in my bad ear. You've given me another reason to do so! Thank you!

I have had problems since childhood- not mystified- Mrs Herb discovered a combination hard and soft molds works best for me .