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Hello my name is Arii and I'm 27. I started losing my hearing when I was 20 from a brain injury I had when I was 18-19 years old. 2 years ago I had a sever drop in my hearing in my right ear so now I'm profoundly deaf in that ear and sever hearing loss in my left. I am getting a CI in 4 weeks for my right ear and will get an hearing aid for my left around the same time.

I'm here because I have a lot of questions before my surgery date that my doctor can not answer from experience.

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Hello and welcome!

I had a progressive hearing loss that started at age 13. I lost all of the hearing in my right ear at age 27. My left ear continued to decline. I was implanted with CIs in 2015. My right CI is 16 months old and my left CI is 8 months old. I love them! Best decision ever.

Ask all of your questions here and people will jump in and answer you.

You will also find a lot of Med-El users on the FaceBook group called

Med El Cochlear Implant Discussion Group

Search for it and ask to join. It is a closed group so one of the admin will add you.

I wish you the best in your hearing journey,

Mary Beth

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Hi Arielle welcome to Hearpeers!! We would be glad to answer any of your questions. I too had many before my surgery so please don't hesitate to ask!! We're a great bunch with varying degrees of hearing loss and different stages or our CI journey. Best of luck on your surgery day!! It's very exciting!!!

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Well good afternoon. My first question is would I loss the rest of the hearing I have in my ear. It's not much but sometimes it's something other than a ringing I think it's hard to describe. And will I feel the implant in my ear or hear anything after the surgery. Sorry if that's a weird question.

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Hi Arielle. I think that nodoby can tell you for sure if your residual hearing will stay after surgery or not. Even with a modern advanced insertion technique it is still more about being lucky than anythng else when it comes to keepong the residial  hearing.

If you keep you residual hearing, you can hear something after surgery. Otherwise - your implanted ear will hear nothing from outside world. Sometimes people report having tinnitus. 

 

People usually don't feel the electrode array implanted inside their ears. But after surgery you will feel the implanted receiver that will be placed under your skin above the ear. After the surgery site heals completely, you won't fell that part at all. When you touch it, it feels like the part of your skull....

 

And, your questions are not weird at all :)

Welcome to the club!

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I have been told about the robot voices and I haven't been deaf in my right ear for long so will words be more clear. I haven't heard rain or environment noise for the longest time. Or been able to understand conversations in groups. I'm scared I'll miss the quite at times.

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Arielle,

 

Again, it all depends on how your brain will take the sounds. Not all people have that robotic sounds. I had it for the first two months. But I could understand some speech despite that weird effect. Environmental sounds were not problem for me. It comes very fast.

The conversation in group - again for me it depends on the acoustics of the room. Sometimes it is not a problem with people chatting around and music playing in background. But in the room with bare walls - I need to apply the very active listening and lip reading to keep with conversation. But I CAN. Before surgery I even didn't try...

 

My implanted ear didn't work for at least 10 years before implantation and I am not so young when skills can be restored faster. So, I am glad with my result even it takes some time and I need to communicate with a lot of people during my work day and at home. Sometimes it was challenging (and still is a challenge when it comes to phone conversation). But also I brings a lot of great inspiring moments when you can enjoy your life more with les and less restrictions.

 

Well, I don't want to sound very optimistic. But my experience makes me sounding like that :)

You know, we all are so different so we reach the same destination at the very different pace with the different experience.

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That's a great question Arielle. There is no way we can tell if We will keep any residual hearing. Even though With med el that is the goal. No you generally won't hear anything after surgery till activation. Some have reported tinnitus or vertigo. Those are things to watch for. Don't be alone for the first couple of days after surgery as some have also reported unsteadiness. Good to have someone to look after your needs. As for feeling the implant I do and others have reported the same. Mine sticks out a little bit, that will depend on the placement of the implant. Also how much the surgeon makes a "burrow" for it. Swelling around it is normal too. Keep the questions coming!!

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I have watched a video on the surgery and I did see a doctor not place it deep enough. I will ask my doctor to make sure it's deep enough that there is no detection of it. What about the inner cochlear part would I feel that as well. I have vertigo now so it will suck if it gets worse. Do any of you use ASL since your implant?

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No I don't feel my inner parts of my implant. Reuben the placement is the doctors dices region as some have too thin bone and they can't place it deeper. As for vertigo it could get worse but I have found it got better as the healing process went on.

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I have dizzy attacks daily so I'm sort of use to it. I just read online the sound in my ear may be memory sounds or tinnitus but the sound is more like a humming than a ringing.

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Tinnitus can present with a variety of sounds. It could be tinnitus.

I had very easy recoveries from both of my CI surgeries. I was back at work in 1 week. It was uncomfortable to lay on the newly implanted side for awhile but after that everything was fine. I can not feel anything inside my head. If I rub my hands over the area of the implant, it just feels like my skull with a few bumps. No pain at all. Surgeons use different techniques during CI surgery. Some surgeons drill wells to anchor the internal part and some do not and use the pin version of the implant instead. Ask your surgeon what her/his technique will be.

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I taught myself ASL to help me better. There are time when I have better days than others. I use ASL with my niece who I am teaching and will start school soon to be an interpreter.

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I don't want my family to think the cochlear is a cure so I will still be signing cause if I take my implant off I'm deaf again.

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Setting realistic expectations for family members and close friends is a great idea. It's important that they realize that activation day is just the starting point. I only heard beeps and static at activation in my right ear and mostly silence and quiet marimba bell sounds at activation in my left ear. Then the fun begins with aural rehab to train our brains. Cochlear implants do not make us hearing people. We are deaf people with cochlear implants. Smile. That being said, I function so much better with my CIs than I did with my HAs. My friends and family are shocked. We can converse from separate rooms, in noisy restaurants, on the phone and even in the ocean (using waterwear covers). I was open with my family and friends about where I was in my journey and they were all very supportive and understanding. I set high goals for my CIs but I knew it would take time to reach them. I kept telling everyone that I expected to train actively, everyday for a year. And then because I chose to get a second implant 8 months later, that year time frame restarted again. You will be able to choose to communicate in speech or sign or a combination of both. It will all be your choice because this is your hearing journey.

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My scars are not noticeable. You would have to shave my head or look very closely behind my ear.

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Do they shave a lot of your hair or only by the ear? I've seen it both ways

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Same here. My scar is big 15 staples they used but it's covered with my hair as well.

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There are so many different surgical techniques, even with how the surgeons close the wound. I did not have staples. You may want to ask your surgeon, her/his method.

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Regarding issue of hearing preservation - I have been reading a lot about that issue between CI users and come to the conclusion that people inevitably feel sorrow for something what they are loosing but also when they loose it totally they understand that that loss was something unavoidable...

BUT it can be regained...

The point of aural training is to regain the previous ability of hearing by constant exercising...

 

What I have found here from my Hearpeers friends is the more you practice, the better results will be. But - isn`t that logical? Like anything what you do in your life: exercising, learning, working....The more you practise it - nearer you are your percetion...;)

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