Cochlear Implants: How well do they work at an older age?

Posted by Julie Chitwood @billchitwood, Sep 7, 2021

Looks like I might be a candidate for a cochlear implant. I'm 81 and wondering how well people have done with the implant at an older age. Is it easier to adjust to hearing as having had good hearing for most of my life? Any suggestions/information appreciated.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Hearing Loss group.

@billchitwood

I don't believe the trial Phonak Paradise Audio has the telecoil and my 5 year old ones couldn't hook up to anything. Not even sure what the telecoils would do for me.

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Telecoils can connect you to any audio device that has an input jack. You have to have a product called a neckloop to plug in to those devices unless you're in a place that has installed a room sized hearing loop. In that case, you simply turn on the telecoils and sound comes direct to your hearing aids as it bypasses all the extraneous noise in the room. It's like having binoculars for your ears. Same when using a neckloop (They cost about $50 and well worth it, less on Amazon.) I can sit in an NFL stadium, watch the game and listen to the broadcast on a small portable radio with my telecoils. I use that example because it's obviously a very noisy setting.

It's a travesty that the people who sell hearing aids don't educate their customers on this option. It seems they would much rather promote the bells and whistles that add big time cost to the product. There is virtually zero cost to include a telecoil. The cost comes in the time it takes to educate the person on how to use it. Time is money so they say. Seriously, telecoils are wonderful. Check out http://www.hearingloop.org for info on how this all works, and remember they can be used with those personal devices.

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@julieo4

Telecoils can connect you to any audio device that has an input jack. You have to have a product called a neckloop to plug in to those devices unless you're in a place that has installed a room sized hearing loop. In that case, you simply turn on the telecoils and sound comes direct to your hearing aids as it bypasses all the extraneous noise in the room. It's like having binoculars for your ears. Same when using a neckloop (They cost about $50 and well worth it, less on Amazon.) I can sit in an NFL stadium, watch the game and listen to the broadcast on a small portable radio with my telecoils. I use that example because it's obviously a very noisy setting.

It's a travesty that the people who sell hearing aids don't educate their customers on this option. It seems they would much rather promote the bells and whistles that add big time cost to the product. There is virtually zero cost to include a telecoil. The cost comes in the time it takes to educate the person on how to use it. Time is money so they say. Seriously, telecoils are wonderful. Check out http://www.hearingloop.org for info on how this all works, and remember they can be used with those personal devices.

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Thank you so much for the information.

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@billchitwood

Thank you so much for the information.

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You are very welcome! Please reach out to others with this information if/when you can. 🙂

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Hi everyone, I'm new here. I've worn binaural aids since I was 30…resound and phonak. Dr. is now recommending cochlear implant on worse ear…kind of scary to me. Had 2 hour meeting – hearing tests and discussions about various brands. Overwhelmed!! Audi seemed to lean toward Cochlear Nucleus system with Resound aide for other ear. Reading 3 fat brochures on that and MedEl and Advanced Bionics. Is it allowed to comment on those in the group? I'd love any/all opinions

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@shirla

Hi everyone, I'm new here. I've worn binaural aids since I was 30…resound and phonak. Dr. is now recommending cochlear implant on worse ear…kind of scary to me. Had 2 hour meeting – hearing tests and discussions about various brands. Overwhelmed!! Audi seemed to lean toward Cochlear Nucleus system with Resound aide for other ear. Reading 3 fat brochures on that and MedEl and Advanced Bionics. Is it allowed to comment on those in the group? I'd love any/all opinions

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I am now 71 y.o.

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@shirla

Hi everyone, I'm new here. I've worn binaural aids since I was 30…resound and phonak. Dr. is now recommending cochlear implant on worse ear…kind of scary to me. Had 2 hour meeting – hearing tests and discussions about various brands. Overwhelmed!! Audi seemed to lean toward Cochlear Nucleus system with Resound aide for other ear. Reading 3 fat brochures on that and MedEl and Advanced Bionics. Is it allowed to comment on those in the group? I'd love any/all opinions

Jump to this post

I am going through the same thing at the moment. On the 5th of October I have the CT and balance test and decide on what brand (reading and researching a lot). Actually did a chart between Cochlear and MedEl to make it a little easier to compare them and I'm leaning towards the Cochlear. I discounted AB early on as I really want an off the ear as my current BTE gives me constant dermatitis. Both Cochlear and MedEl appear to be excellent choices with their Kanso 2 and MedEl. Both have assigned someone to me to answer any questions I have. Cochlear appears to give more free accessories than MedEl, which is nice. I will also have a hearing aid in 'better???' ear. With both you can use any hearing aid brand but with Cochlear the Resound appears to seamlessly tie in to their device system. And with Cochlear it appears that it will tie into my Smartphone where with MedEl it needs their link. I read and was told that with both brands you get the remote free, however with Cochlear they also allow you to pick 3 other accessories for free (I don't know how much they cost to buy but my husband bought the TV Streamer for his hearing aids and it cost a little over $100).

If anyone else is using Cochlear or MedEl would love your thoughts. I friend has used Cochlear (now both ears) for years and has been really happy with them and their service. She lost a processor once and they immediately sent a replacement (you get a one time 'no questions asked' processor replacement with Cochlear if it happens during the warranty period (5 years for both Cochlear and MedEl I believe on the processor).

So far Dr Le (Scottsdale Mayo) hasn't indicated her favorite but we will be going over them on the 5th. She has been fantastic, as have their whole CI team. On the 7th I meet with the surgeon. Then I guess the team goes over everything to determine if the surgery is safe for me (I'm 81 and, knock on wood, in good health and very active).

Good luck on your journey. Julie

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@billchitwood

I am going through the same thing at the moment. On the 5th of October I have the CT and balance test and decide on what brand (reading and researching a lot). Actually did a chart between Cochlear and MedEl to make it a little easier to compare them and I'm leaning towards the Cochlear. I discounted AB early on as I really want an off the ear as my current BTE gives me constant dermatitis. Both Cochlear and MedEl appear to be excellent choices with their Kanso 2 and MedEl. Both have assigned someone to me to answer any questions I have. Cochlear appears to give more free accessories than MedEl, which is nice. I will also have a hearing aid in 'better???' ear. With both you can use any hearing aid brand but with Cochlear the Resound appears to seamlessly tie in to their device system. And with Cochlear it appears that it will tie into my Smartphone where with MedEl it needs their link. I read and was told that with both brands you get the remote free, however with Cochlear they also allow you to pick 3 other accessories for free (I don't know how much they cost to buy but my husband bought the TV Streamer for his hearing aids and it cost a little over $100).

If anyone else is using Cochlear or MedEl would love your thoughts. I friend has used Cochlear (now both ears) for years and has been really happy with them and their service. She lost a processor once and they immediately sent a replacement (you get a one time 'no questions asked' processor replacement with Cochlear if it happens during the warranty period (5 years for both Cochlear and MedEl I believe on the processor).

So far Dr Le (Scottsdale Mayo) hasn't indicated her favorite but we will be going over them on the 5th. She has been fantastic, as have their whole CI team. On the 7th I meet with the surgeon. Then I guess the team goes over everything to determine if the surgery is safe for me (I'm 81 and, knock on wood, in good health and very active).

Good luck on your journey. Julie

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Thanks soooo much. That was quite helpful. All comments are welcomed! This is a stressful process. Good luck to you too. Shirley

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@shirla

Hi everyone, I'm new here. I've worn binaural aids since I was 30…resound and phonak. Dr. is now recommending cochlear implant on worse ear…kind of scary to me. Had 2 hour meeting – hearing tests and discussions about various brands. Overwhelmed!! Audi seemed to lean toward Cochlear Nucleus system with Resound aide for other ear. Reading 3 fat brochures on that and MedEl and Advanced Bionics. Is it allowed to comment on those in the group? I'd love any/all opinions

Jump to this post

I was implanted with the Nucleus Freedom CI by Cochlear Corp. in 2005. I've upgraded processors during those years. I've been very pleased with the service from Cochlear Corp. The accessories were added when the N6 came on the market, prior to that I used direct audio input to hook up a hand held microphone. I also use the telecoils in both my hearing aid and CI processor a lot.

In our HLAA Chapter in Appleton Wisconsin, three people have had successful CI surgeries after age 86. Their only regret is not having done it sooner. If a person is in good health, a cochlear implant should be a good option. In most cases, CI surgery is done on an out patient basis.

We all know that binaural hearing is best. My experience also shows that the brain adapts to hearing with 2 different technologies. As a bimodal user of both a CI and a HA, it astounds me how well they work together. Further, I'm pleased with the accessories that Cochlear has provided. The mini mic 2+ is one of my "best friends!" The interesting thing is that I need both technologies up and running to be able to hear well. My hearing tests with both technologies show I have 90+ percent word recognition. Prior to the implant I was in the 20% range.

One thing that concerns me is that Cochlear has eliminated the telecoil in the off the ear Kanso2. The telecoil is important to me. I use it with several audio devices, including my laptop computer. It also connects me wirelessly to hearing loops in many places. The BTE processors still have the telecoil, so I will not be upgrading to an off the ear processor anytime soon. In fairness, I will add that the mini mic 2+ has a telecoil that will sync with the Kanso 2. It then becomes a matter of having it charged and ready to use when needed. I highly recommend that when choosing accessories for implants of Cochlear CIs, that you choose the mini mic2+ as one of them. You should not need the phone clip because the new processors can sync with your phone.

It's pretty amazing to realize that the technology we have available to us today has only been evolving for a few decades. Thirty years ago we had very few choices. So thankful!

Last piece of advice for people who plan to have cochlear implants: ASK to have an anti nausea patch prior to the surgery. NOT after it. For some reason, this is not done automatically. So be proactive and ask for it. You won't regret it.

REPLY
@julieo4

I was implanted with the Nucleus Freedom CI by Cochlear Corp. in 2005. I've upgraded processors during those years. I've been very pleased with the service from Cochlear Corp. The accessories were added when the N6 came on the market, prior to that I used direct audio input to hook up a hand held microphone. I also use the telecoils in both my hearing aid and CI processor a lot.

In our HLAA Chapter in Appleton Wisconsin, three people have had successful CI surgeries after age 86. Their only regret is not having done it sooner. If a person is in good health, a cochlear implant should be a good option. In most cases, CI surgery is done on an out patient basis.

We all know that binaural hearing is best. My experience also shows that the brain adapts to hearing with 2 different technologies. As a bimodal user of both a CI and a HA, it astounds me how well they work together. Further, I'm pleased with the accessories that Cochlear has provided. The mini mic 2+ is one of my "best friends!" The interesting thing is that I need both technologies up and running to be able to hear well. My hearing tests with both technologies show I have 90+ percent word recognition. Prior to the implant I was in the 20% range.

One thing that concerns me is that Cochlear has eliminated the telecoil in the off the ear Kanso2. The telecoil is important to me. I use it with several audio devices, including my laptop computer. It also connects me wirelessly to hearing loops in many places. The BTE processors still have the telecoil, so I will not be upgrading to an off the ear processor anytime soon. In fairness, I will add that the mini mic 2+ has a telecoil that will sync with the Kanso 2. It then becomes a matter of having it charged and ready to use when needed. I highly recommend that when choosing accessories for implants of Cochlear CIs, that you choose the mini mic2+ as one of them. You should not need the phone clip because the new processors can sync with your phone.

It's pretty amazing to realize that the technology we have available to us today has only been evolving for a few decades. Thirty years ago we had very few choices. So thankful!

Last piece of advice for people who plan to have cochlear implants: ASK to have an anti nausea patch prior to the surgery. NOT after it. For some reason, this is not done automatically. So be proactive and ask for it. You won't regret it.

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Lots of good information. Thank you. And anesthesia always does me in so good to know about anti-nausea patch prior.

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@billchitwood

Thank you so much for the information.

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Thank you for that. I will check it out. I am so glad I found this forum!! In two days I have received an amazing amount of excellent info.

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@julieo4

I was implanted with the Nucleus Freedom CI by Cochlear Corp. in 2005. I've upgraded processors during those years. I've been very pleased with the service from Cochlear Corp. The accessories were added when the N6 came on the market, prior to that I used direct audio input to hook up a hand held microphone. I also use the telecoils in both my hearing aid and CI processor a lot.

In our HLAA Chapter in Appleton Wisconsin, three people have had successful CI surgeries after age 86. Their only regret is not having done it sooner. If a person is in good health, a cochlear implant should be a good option. In most cases, CI surgery is done on an out patient basis.

We all know that binaural hearing is best. My experience also shows that the brain adapts to hearing with 2 different technologies. As a bimodal user of both a CI and a HA, it astounds me how well they work together. Further, I'm pleased with the accessories that Cochlear has provided. The mini mic 2+ is one of my "best friends!" The interesting thing is that I need both technologies up and running to be able to hear well. My hearing tests with both technologies show I have 90+ percent word recognition. Prior to the implant I was in the 20% range.

One thing that concerns me is that Cochlear has eliminated the telecoil in the off the ear Kanso2. The telecoil is important to me. I use it with several audio devices, including my laptop computer. It also connects me wirelessly to hearing loops in many places. The BTE processors still have the telecoil, so I will not be upgrading to an off the ear processor anytime soon. In fairness, I will add that the mini mic 2+ has a telecoil that will sync with the Kanso 2. It then becomes a matter of having it charged and ready to use when needed. I highly recommend that when choosing accessories for implants of Cochlear CIs, that you choose the mini mic2+ as one of them. You should not need the phone clip because the new processors can sync with your phone.

It's pretty amazing to realize that the technology we have available to us today has only been evolving for a few decades. Thirty years ago we had very few choices. So thankful!

Last piece of advice for people who plan to have cochlear implants: ASK to have an anti nausea patch prior to the surgery. NOT after it. For some reason, this is not done automatically. So be proactive and ask for it. You won't regret it.

Jump to this post

Regarding the anti nausea patch – if I haven't had problems with nausea with eye surgery (carrack and tear duct) would the CI cause a different reaction? I'm always reductant to take meds. When I had the tear duct surgery I should have given in and taken the stronger pain pill rather then a Aleve that first night lol. By the next morning I was ok.

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@billchitwood

Regarding the anti nausea patch – if I haven't had problems with nausea with eye surgery (carrack and tear duct) would the CI cause a different reaction? I'm always reductant to take meds. When I had the tear duct surgery I should have given in and taken the stronger pain pill rather then a Aleve that first night lol. By the next morning I was ok.

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I too am reluctant to take unnecessary drugs. Not sure what to tell you. The anti nausea patch is a preventative. I took it when having another surgery on request and had no nausea. This advice was given to me pre CI. I took it and had absolutely no nausea. The strongest drug I took after surgery was Tylenol. Talk to your surgeon about this.

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