Odds of a cochlear implant not helping?

Posted by adela @adela, Apr 30, 2019

I am having my first appointment for a CI evaluation. Do surgeons have statistics on the chances of a CI really helping? I know people who seem to hear very well with a CI and others who do not hear well at all.

Good luck with your CI evaluation Adela. A key word in this is 'evaluation'. CI candidacy is determined by evaluating many things about your hearing loss, the structure of your inner ear, your ability and willingness to do the necessary rehabilitation following the CI surgery, etc. I am not a hearing healthcare professional, but through my involvement in HLAA since 1983, I've watched the evolution of CI success. I knew people who were among the first to receive them when they were experimental and single channeled. I've seen the remarkable advances in technology, and watched the remarkable positive changes in the people who received CIs. Yes, I'm aware of a few failures. Failure happens with just about anything, but it's unusual. I watched and waited until 2005 before I had CI surgery. It changed my life for the better. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. Like you, I was afraid it wouldn't work; although I knew it worked for most people who had the surgery. But, my hearing had reached the point where hearing aids were helping very little. If you are there, what do you have to loose? My CI was done on the side where I had the poorest hearing, which wasn't very different from the other side, but I could identify specific sounds better on the 'good' side. While I don't know the statistics for success/failure with CIs, I believe the odds are with you to have a substantial improvement in hearing if you have the surgery done. I also encourage you, and others who have CIs to use the accessories that make it possible to do even better. I absolutely LOVE the Mini Mic device that works with my CI & HA. The CI telecoil works well with my iPhone, so I don't need the Phone Clip. That Mini MIc makes it possible for me to do better than I ever dreamed of doing in noisy social settings. Do I hear everything with it? No, but it sure helps. I hope things go well with your evaluation. Good Luck!

REPLY

Thank you. That is helpful. I am not sure which manufacturer includes the Mini Mic, but I would love to hear better in noisy situations. May I ask about the T coil. Do you use it in a room with a Hearing Loop? Anyway, thank you for answering.

REPLY

Hi again Adela. I have the Cochlear N6 processor. I was implanted with the Freedom. I hope to upgrade to the N7 processor in the next year. I'm very happy with Cochlear. Their service is excellent. They have embraced the concept of add on technology with the Mini Mic, TV Streamer & Phone Clip. Other brands can also connect to specific technology. Yes, I use the T coil in looped areas all the time. I live in Wisconsin where we have a lot of hearing loop installations. They are game changers too. Again, good luck to you. Julie

REPLY
@julieo4

Hi again Adela. I have the Cochlear N6 processor. I was implanted with the Freedom. I hope to upgrade to the N7 processor in the next year. I'm very happy with Cochlear. Their service is excellent. They have embraced the concept of add on technology with the Mini Mic, TV Streamer & Phone Clip. Other brands can also connect to specific technology. Yes, I use the T coil in looped areas all the time. I live in Wisconsin where we have a lot of hearing loop installations. They are game changers too. Again, good luck to you. Julie

Jump to this post

Thank you. I will keep your response in my file so that after I meet with the doctor, I can ask a question. I
appreciate your generosity of time. Adelaide

REPLY
@julieo4

Good luck with your CI evaluation Adela. A key word in this is 'evaluation'. CI candidacy is determined by evaluating many things about your hearing loss, the structure of your inner ear, your ability and willingness to do the necessary rehabilitation following the CI surgery, etc. I am not a hearing healthcare professional, but through my involvement in HLAA since 1983, I've watched the evolution of CI success. I knew people who were among the first to receive them when they were experimental and single channeled. I've seen the remarkable advances in technology, and watched the remarkable positive changes in the people who received CIs. Yes, I'm aware of a few failures. Failure happens with just about anything, but it's unusual. I watched and waited until 2005 before I had CI surgery. It changed my life for the better. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. Like you, I was afraid it wouldn't work; although I knew it worked for most people who had the surgery. But, my hearing had reached the point where hearing aids were helping very little. If you are there, what do you have to loose? My CI was done on the side where I had the poorest hearing, which wasn't very different from the other side, but I could identify specific sounds better on the 'good' side. While I don't know the statistics for success/failure with CIs, I believe the odds are with you to have a substantial improvement in hearing if you have the surgery done. I also encourage you, and others who have CIs to use the accessories that make it possible to do even better. I absolutely LOVE the Mini Mic device that works with my CI & HA. The CI telecoil works well with my iPhone, so I don't need the Phone Clip. That Mini MIc makes it possible for me to do better than I ever dreamed of doing in noisy social settings. Do I hear everything with it? No, but it sure helps. I hope things go well with your evaluation. Good Luck!

Jump to this post

@julieo4

Hi Julie,

I couldn’t find the thread where I said I would report on the Osia2 evaluation. I had that today and I am not a candidate. I did research on the Baha but decided against it. The Audi went over extensively all the details about Cochlear Implants with models showing the inner and outer components. She favors Advanced Bionics because their technology is more advanced.

She told me about failures and successes . She is not with my regular ENT practice where I have my Audi for my aids. The surgeon with this hearing aid company (very big and well known in this area) is the same surgeon associated with my regular ENT practice.

I took home a ton of info on the 3 major companies . We talked about my age (80 and in good health ) vs someone younger who had had hearing loss for a shorter period of time. Having had hearing loss for almost 40 years she agreed that I would probably still have difficulty understanding in the worst listening situations and still require assisted devices. The CI would be in my poorer left ear which a CI may improve..somewhat. I do very well in my better right ear with an aid. The aid in my poor aid is mainly for awareness and balance…there is some sound.

Having had very honest discussions on possible outcomes with this very knowledgeable Audi and having read the risks involved for surgery (as with any surgery), I feel that the whole process with the commitment involved is not a good choice for me. The Osia2, if I qualified, was more of a positive possibility.

I am glad I finally did explore other possibilities, I waited so long because I have a metal clip in my eye from retina surgery in the 1980s and was afraid the magnets would dislodge the clip. The clip is probably titanium but there is no way to know if it is or if it is a ferrous material. So my eyesight concern prevails.

Maybe this long post will help others in a decision making process.

Thanks for listening…onward and upward as they say.

FL Mary

REPLY
@imallears

@julieo4

Hi Julie,

I couldn’t find the thread where I said I would report on the Osia2 evaluation. I had that today and I am not a candidate. I did research on the Baha but decided against it. The Audi went over extensively all the details about Cochlear Implants with models showing the inner and outer components. She favors Advanced Bionics because their technology is more advanced.

She told me about failures and successes . She is not with my regular ENT practice where I have my Audi for my aids. The surgeon with this hearing aid company (very big and well known in this area) is the same surgeon associated with my regular ENT practice.

I took home a ton of info on the 3 major companies . We talked about my age (80 and in good health ) vs someone younger who had had hearing loss for a shorter period of time. Having had hearing loss for almost 40 years she agreed that I would probably still have difficulty understanding in the worst listening situations and still require assisted devices. The CI would be in my poorer left ear which a CI may improve..somewhat. I do very well in my better right ear with an aid. The aid in my poor aid is mainly for awareness and balance…there is some sound.

Having had very honest discussions on possible outcomes with this very knowledgeable Audi and having read the risks involved for surgery (as with any surgery), I feel that the whole process with the commitment involved is not a good choice for me. The Osia2, if I qualified, was more of a positive possibility.

I am glad I finally did explore other possibilities, I waited so long because I have a metal clip in my eye from retina surgery in the 1980s and was afraid the magnets would dislodge the clip. The clip is probably titanium but there is no way to know if it is or if it is a ferrous material. So my eyesight concern prevails.

Maybe this long post will help others in a decision making process.

Thanks for listening…onward and upward as they say.

FL Mary

Jump to this post

Thank you for sharing your experience with us FL Mary. We are all unique, and the decisions we make should definitely be our own. Thank you for sharing the information about your Osia2 evaluation. Research continues and options keep improving. The issue with your retina surgery in the 1980s is obviously of concern. I hope that assistive listening devices will continue to help you with the hearing loss issues. Even with my successful cochlear implant, which was done in 2005, I appreciate being able to connect to those ALDs. They really help.

REPLY

You will know more after the CI evaluation. The odds of a cochlear implant being successful are very high. The evaluation will include an MRI that gives the doctors information they would not know otherwise. The success of a CI depends a great deal on how willing the recipient is to do the rehabilitation required. It isn't just a switch that is turned from off to on. The human brain is amazing, but it has to be stimulated to adjust to a new way of hearing.

Many CI users also add assistive technology to their equipment. I use the Cochlear mini mic a lot in social settings. I don't need it in quiet one on one settings. I don't need it to watch TV. I know a few CI recipients who refuse to use this equipment because it shows and 'it's a bother to keep charged'. As far as I'm concerned it's worth the 'bother'., and who the heck cares if it shows? My CI has made it possible for me to enjoy dinners out, house parties, sports events, etc. LIke you, I worried about whether or not it would work when I decided to go for it. I realized though, that I had little to lose if it didn't work. I had much to gain if it did. No regrets at all. Good luck to you.

REPLY

imallears/FLMary had an entirely different evaluation for a CI than I had last year! Very interesting. I went to THE CI center in Portland, OR, largest in the state. An audi tested my hearing and comprehension (almost the same as the tests I had at Salem Costco), reported that I tested as understanding 55% of what I was offered to hear, so didn't make the 50% cut. She offered zero advice on how to live with the new loss. When I asked about Live Transcribe (fairly new then), she hadn't heard of it, nor had the other audi I saw later or the surgeon. All in all, fairly disappointing, hardly worth driving up and back (four hours). Then I went back to Costco. The woman there had heard about Live Transcribe, did some adjusting with the aid in my so-called good ear and added a larger dome, which cuts out some background noise, concentrates what the aid picks up and sends it into my ear. At first, the much larger dome was uncomfortable, but that only lasted about a week. So, I continue to rely on my person at Costco and am not likely to visit a "real" audi any time soon.

Worse, the audi in the slightly larger town 30 miles south had fitted aids for years for a good friend of mine, a woman in her 90s but very sharp, totally involved in everything happening around her and in the world. Over a year ago (early Covid time) the audi flushed out my friend's ears, using water with a fair amount of force. My friend totally lost all balance, wound up in the hospital, her son flew out from GA, sold her home and car, packed a few of her things, and flew her to GA to live with him. His wife was very unhappy about having her mother-in-law live with them, physically abused her. My friend is now living in a care facility, which might not have happened had she not been removed from her home, leaving most of her possessions behind. Very sad story!

REPLY

@joyces

I was not technicially evaluated for a CI…we just know that I am a candidate for it based on my audiogram. I was evaluated for a bone conduction implant with tympanic tests and met with an Audi from another hearing aid center who specializes in patients with CIs and other bone conduction implants. If I were to pursue a CI I would go to the specialist assosciatd with the pracitce and proceed with a CT scan and a lot of evaluation before they decided what was best for me

You may find that a custom earmold from an Audi may be more helpful in preventing any sound leakage so I suggest you might want
to look into that. I have always had custom molds as I need a good seal to hear better. If made right, they are very comfortable.

Awful story about your friend. No Audi in the world should be flushing out anyone's ears….they are not medicial doctors. This should be
done only by an ENT doctor and I doubt that they even do that anymore. I get my ears checked and cleaned regularly by my ENT doctor.

Live Transcribe (I have it) is only available on Android phones. So if you have that type, you can just get it from the play store. Both iPhones and Androids have Otter…an excellent app also available on the play store. I use the free 600 minutes a month plan rather than pay for it. I also have Voice to text…another app. There are many that you can try for free.

The Innocaption app is available for basically all phones. Any voice calls are transferred to this app and I am able to both hear and read what the speaker is saying. Audis don't know or are not interested in apps or assisted devices in general. My Audi wants to know everything I know and she passes it along to her other patients.

Some people have very good results with Costco.

FL May

REPLY
@julieo4

You will know more after the CI evaluation. The odds of a cochlear implant being successful are very high. The evaluation will include an MRI that gives the doctors information they would not know otherwise. The success of a CI depends a great deal on how willing the recipient is to do the rehabilitation required. It isn't just a switch that is turned from off to on. The human brain is amazing, but it has to be stimulated to adjust to a new way of hearing.

Many CI users also add assistive technology to their equipment. I use the Cochlear mini mic a lot in social settings. I don't need it in quiet one on one settings. I don't need it to watch TV. I know a few CI recipients who refuse to use this equipment because it shows and 'it's a bother to keep charged'. As far as I'm concerned it's worth the 'bother'., and who the heck cares if it shows? My CI has made it possible for me to enjoy dinners out, house parties, sports events, etc. LIke you, I worried about whether or not it would work when I decided to go for it. I realized though, that I had little to lose if it didn't work. I had much to gain if it did. No regrets at all. Good luck to you.

Jump to this post

@julieo4

Hi Julie,

The Audi I saw for the bone condution evaluation told me they don't need to do MRIs anymore…just CT scans. I was always unde the imipression that an MRI was necessary. Things change so rapidly.
Advanced Bionics and Phonak are owned by the same healthcare company. So you get a free assisted deviced from AB, like the Roger Pen.

FL Mary

REPLY
@imallears

@julieo4

Hi Julie,

The Audi I saw for the bone condution evaluation told me they don't need to do MRIs anymore…just CT scans. I was always unde the imipression that an MRI was necessary. Things change so rapidly.
Advanced Bionics and Phonak are owned by the same healthcare company. So you get a free assisted deviced from AB, like the Roger Pen.

FL Mary

Jump to this post

That's interesting as an MRI is far more sophisticated than a CAT Scan. I understood the MRI would detect abnormalities like acoustic neuromas or unusual bone issues that might make it difficult to do a CI.

The CI – Hearing Aid – Assistive Technology is also interesting. Cochlear teams up with ReSound, and includes 2 of their accessories with an implant. I think Med-El teamed up with Oticon, but not sure. Maybe someone else out there knows. AB is with Phonak. Yes.

Its unfortunate that they are not universal with their syncing. I have been using a Widex HAs for years, and have had excellent results with them. Great telecoil, etc. Widex does not sync with my Cochlear CI processor. I tried 5 different ReSound models when I upgraded to the CI processor that was designed to sync with the ReSound products. They worked great when I was using the accesories, but when I was listening without the assistive tech I could not hear as well as I had been hearing with the Widex aid and the Cochlear processor. I have continued to use Widex.

Frustrating to say the least. When I'm able to upgrade to the next generation CI processor I will try again, hoping that improvements with ReSound since the last attempt will make a difference.

In fairness to the brand issue, I do believe that a person adjusts to the sound they are used to hearing with a specific product. Changing products can affect that.

REPLY
@julieo4

That's interesting as an MRI is far more sophisticated than a CAT Scan. I understood the MRI would detect abnormalities like acoustic neuromas or unusual bone issues that might make it difficult to do a CI.

The CI – Hearing Aid – Assistive Technology is also interesting. Cochlear teams up with ReSound, and includes 2 of their accessories with an implant. I think Med-El teamed up with Oticon, but not sure. Maybe someone else out there knows. AB is with Phonak. Yes.

Its unfortunate that they are not universal with their syncing. I have been using a Widex HAs for years, and have had excellent results with them. Great telecoil, etc. Widex does not sync with my Cochlear CI processor. I tried 5 different ReSound models when I upgraded to the CI processor that was designed to sync with the ReSound products. They worked great when I was using the accesories, but when I was listening without the assistive tech I could not hear as well as I had been hearing with the Widex aid and the Cochlear processor. I have continued to use Widex.

Frustrating to say the least. When I'm able to upgrade to the next generation CI processor I will try again, hoping that improvements with ReSound since the last attempt will make a difference.

In fairness to the brand issue, I do believe that a person adjusts to the sound they are used to hearing with a specific product. Changing products can affect that.

Jump to this post

@julieo
You are right in your comments in the last paragraph. I am a Phonak girl. Have trialed all the major brands last year except Oticon and I wore those for many years but always come back to Phonak. There were things I liked in some brands…one of them had better speech clarity for me but not the power I needed. But would like to try the latest Oticon even though my Audi doesn’t care for Oticon in general.
I think most Audis are biased towards a specific brand.

Will be getting a very custom made mold next week from my Audi via Westone….she had them make the canal part longer with sort of a lock up the concha. First mold’s canal wasn’t long enough….material is very soft..almost velvet like. My Audi knows the importance of molds and she loves to hear what new apps or things I have learned about so she can pass it on. My ENT doctor there now uses OTTER because of me. I really lucked out with this ENT practice.

It’s a moot question for me regarding the MRI since I am not going that route but I did have one way before my retina surgery in 1983 that ruled out any abnormalities.

Anyway….have a great hearing weekend and I really soak up all the information you so generously post on this forum. You’re the bomb…if they still say that lol.

FL Mary

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.
  Request Appointment