Don V, I don’t know how to tag you for this response so I hope that you see this. Your story is almost identical to mine. I am male 79 years old. I had lost 88 percent of my hearing and on the speech understanding test, I got a big fat 0 percent. I was using hearing aids that was doing very little for me but I could get by with them in quite conversation. I could hear TV with the use of head phones. I had to use an FM receiver with ear buds to hear Church Services. I could not participate in conversation at family gatherings or other groups. I had been this way for about seven years and not much better for 10 years before that. I finally decided that I had no choice but to start looking into a implant so I started the process of finding a facility and doctor.
The first place I went to for consultation gave me the same information and expectations that you experienced but did tell me that it would be better than what I had. They started the process by sending me to a psychologist and then a speech therapist which gave me about the same expectation as the audiologists had. I have a pacemaker so I had to get a release from my cardiologist to clear me for the surgery. I was experiencing a lot of frustration trying to get the required paperwork between the two Doctors. Like you, It was flustrating for me and I was about ready to cancel the whole thing. My Daughter suggested that we go to another facility and Doctor for a second opinion. The audiologists gave me the same pessimistic expectation that I heard at the other place but the Doctor told me that I had 12 % of my hearing and he thought he could give me 65, maybe 70%. I was still very undecided about going through with it.
I then reached out on our Nextdoor neighbor forum to ask ask if there was anyone I could talk to that had a cochlear implant. A lady responded That knew of a lady that may be willing to talk to me. I met her at a Starbucks and she put my mind at complete ease. You could not tell that she was deaf. She had two implants and being a lady with long hair I could not see the processors. She answered all of our questions very positive and her Doctor was the second Doctor that I went to. So with this I got excited and it became a go for me.
I was implanted on August 29, 2019 and activated on Sept 11, 2019. When the audiologists turned on the processor, (Rondo 2) I could hear sounds, tones and buzzing but nothing I could understand. The session lasted about 1.5 hours and by the time it was over I could understand the audiologists, sound funny but I could understand. In two days I could carry on a conversation with my wife, she did not sound normal but understandable, 10 days and she sounded normal, some other people had a robotic sound but a few days later they were sounding normal. I went to Church about a week later and could understand the sermon with the processor and my hearing aid on the other side, no more FM receiver and ear buds. I have had three mappings since activation and I am to the point that I seldom use the hearing aid in my other ear. As the volume has gone up on the processor I feel that the hearing is not helping. Everything sounds normal with just the processor. The only things that could be better is TV off the Speakers is understandable but does not sound good and events like football games crowd noise over comes everything else.
i am very glad that I did not cancel it. Everyone’s journey is different but my experience is very similar to the Lady’s that,I met at Starbucks. Oh I forgot to mention that at my last appointment with the audiologists my speech understanding test was 80%, I believe it is better now.
Sorry for the long story but I hope it helps you in your decision making process.