Cochlear Implants: How well do they work at an older age?
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.
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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
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.
Lots of good information. Thank you. And anesthesia always does me in so good to know about anti-nausea patch prior.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you. I'll do that.
I think I'm allergic to the Phonak HAs – I keep getting dermatitis, which in turns makes the HAs not work that well. Yikes. Mayo was supposed to set an appointment for surgery but I haven't heard back other than to be told the information was given to the surgeon's nurse. He was concerned that I'm on the border line of a CI helping – but I'm having so many problems with the HAs that they are driving me nuts. Even the phone streaming isn't working well – I started the hydrocortisone cream again a few days ago so dermatitis better, which means today the HAs are actually better. But they advise not using that constantly and as soon as I stop the dermatitis is back in both ears. I never had a problem with old HAs. Just with the new ones.
It sounds like you are allergic to the molds or domes not the hard part of the hearing aid itself so it’s not that you are allergic to Phonaks. Am I understanding that correctly?
I have dry ears and use mineral oil, on the advice of my ENT, and it helps a lot with any itching or dermatitis .I use it whenever I feel it is necessary and put a few drops in the canals at night from time to time. It acts like a moisturizer. I can understand why ear canals get infected and red with dermatitis….ears are plugged up all day with no ventilation.
Some people suffer more than others and the irritation can extend outward to the lobe. It’s one of the downsides of wearing BTEs.
I'm guessing the molds – I have used mineral oil for helping prevent wax build-up, which I tend to get in right ear (the one they want to do the CI). The dermatitis causes a clear fluid to flow, causing a crust build-up in the outer ear come morning. If I use the hyrocortisone cream that will clear it up within a few days (calls for 7 days). When I finish the 7 days very shortly thereafter the dermatitis is back!
Once again I've asked for the CI to be scheduled – the right ear wouldn't have the HA inserted and I think they could use a hypoallergic material on the left side – or hope so. Today I can hear as day 4 of hyrocortisone treatment. From what I've read this isn't a long term, every day, solution?