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Hello from Arlington, VA


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I am a 74 yr old cochlear implant candidate considering a MED-EL Synchrony implant. I have had bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss since birth. I began wearing hearing aids when I was 4. When I was 20, I had my first Meniere's Syndrome attack that landed me in the hospital for a few days. It took several months for me to improve well enough to return to my college classes. I graduated with a B.S. in Biology. Years later I returned to school and picked up another B.S.and a M.S. in Environmental Health. I worked as an occupational safety and health specialist for the federal government for 22 years, retired, then returned to work part time for another 5 years. I suffered another Meniere's attack in my left ear in March 2016, and now my hearing loss has progressed to the point that hearing aids do little good. I sought help from Dr. John Carey in Johns Hopkins' Otolaryngology Department. He and his colleague, Dr. Seth Pross, both recommended a cochlear implant. I am now working with Pam Cain, audiologist, and Dr. Wade Chien, surgeon, both with Johns Hopkins' The Listening Center. I was surprised to learn that there is no upper age limit for getting a cochlear implant. In fact, the 92 yr old mother of a friend of mine received an implant on February 13, 2017, and her implant will be activated next week. I am currently reviewing the pros and cons of implants made by MED-EL, Cochlear, Inc., and Advanced Bionics. I admit to leaning toward MED-EL because of its long electrode arrays, MRI safety, and Triformance features. I would like to hear from other candidates and those who chose MED-EL for their implants. Please feel free to tell me about your search and - for those of you who chose a MED-EL implant - how you reached your decision. Thank you very much. Lita

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  • HearPeers Heroes

Hi Lita!  Welcome.


I have several friends who also received Med-El implants in their 70s.  They are doing great!  I wish you the absolute best no matter which brand you select.


I was implanted at age 51 in 2015 and was given the choice between all three brands.  At the time, I chose Med-El for their electrode array options.  I am thrilled with my decision.


Later on I learned other things that made me even more thrilled that I chose Med-El.  Specifically, Med-El has awesome customer service.  My Med-El CSR (customer service rep is amazing!).  Also, Med-El makes their processors backwards compatible.  This means that people who were implanted with Med-El over 15+ years ago are still able to use the newest Med-El processor (Sonnet).  That is not true with all brands.  I just assumed it would work that way, but found out that other users with other brands can not use the newest processors.  This will be important to me in future years.


I would encourage you to give more weight to the internal product implant when comparing brands.  We will be using those internal parts for years and years.  The external processors change on a fairly frequent schedule.  I have used Opus2, Rondo and Sonnet processors.  They are all great and future processors will most likely be even better.  It can get confusing when looking at the various accessories between brands.  Med-El processors work with many different accessories.  They are also creating their own 2.4 wireless accessory for the Sonnet.  It is not available yet.  In the meantime, various BlueTooth neckloops and DM Systems work with the processors.


I hope this is helpful.  I remember how overwhelming it was to select a brand.  I am thrilled with my Med-El CIs.  I am so thankful for the hearing they have given me.  I am happily playing the piano again after decades if not being able to do so.  It is just amazing.


Best of luck on your journey!

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  • HearPeers Heroes

Hi Lita! 

Welcome to the group ?

I was implanted October 2016 in my left ear at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Wade Chien was my surgeon too! He's really great and he did a wonderful job. You will be really happy to have him as your surgeon.

Mary Beth did an awesome job covering the many great things about Med El and the implant. I choose Med El for all the reasons you stated (MRI, long electrode, Triperformance) and because I love music.   I've found many people love the sound of music with their Med El implant and now I do too! It sounds the best it ever has and finally sounds complete.

Good luck! And keep us updated on how you do ?


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Hi Lita

welcome to hearpeers. I am bilaterally implanted for 5 years. I wasn't really too interested in some of the features that all the CI brands promoted at the time. I wanted a CI company the was technology driven and focused on providing the best most natural hearing experience for the user. Also having the capability to be able to use future software updates was very important to me. This is the backwards compatibility Mary Beth spoke of. The ability of the electrode array made in such a way as to preserve as much residual hearing as possible was big for me. I didn't really have any useful hearing left at the time but the fact that Medel was even taking this into consideration was big for me. At the time the other companies did not have this capability. I was also only offered 2 of the 3 companies as the third was in the middle of a recall. It was life changing for me as I'm sure it will be for you. 

There are no wrong decisions here. Bottom line, we want you to enjoy hearing as much as all of us do now, regardless of which company you go with. 

Please let us know how things are going


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I am so pleased to receive well wishes from Mary Beth, Megan, and now Adam. I'm still in the decision phase but very much like what I've learned about Med El cochlear implants. I agree that it's important to get a good understanding of the internal implant. I understand the full coverage concept, but am still mystified by the terms, "maximum stimulation rate," "channels," and "electrode drivers." My current understanding from looking at the Cochlear Implant Comparison Chart on the website named Cochlear Implant HELP, Med El's electrode array can have up to 24 electrodes, and that each electrode has a positive and negative current source. When a coded signal comes down the array, it goes to the appropriate electrode and stimulates the associated hair cell or neuron, and then goes to the auditory nerve. In fact, the electrodes can be stimulated simultaneously (51,000 PPS, with PPS being the number of updates per second the implant is capable of providing, according to the chart.) The chart also shows that Advanced Bionics has a maximum stimulation rate of 83,000 PPS, but more isn't necessarily better. How am I doing so far? Is there literature anywhere that describes the mechanism in more layman terms? Can you explain it more fully for me? Thanks a million.

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  • HearPeers Heroes

These CIs are quite advanced pieces of technology.  So many things to learn about all of the time.  In layman's terms......

Med-El actually fires all of our electrodes every time at either the threshold level (loudest level that we can not hear) or at a level above threshold and no higher than our M (most comfortabke loudness setting).  Depending on the electrode array, there are a max of 12 pairs of electrodes (24) or a few less if the flex electrode is used because it is so slim at the innermost end that single electrodes are there instead of pairs.

The way the electrodes fire gives the ability to stimulate areas in between neighboring electrodes.  So we can have a max of 250 pitch precepts.

Studies show that 8 electrodes are needed for great results.  

Since the various brands function differently, it gets complicated.  

Many studies report on cross stimulation or overlapping stimulation when electrodes are actually firing on the same neural area.  Med-El reduces this by spacing the electrodes apart further.

In the end, its kind of like comparing cars.  Some people like to compare the engines, others the inner design, etc.

I am not an engineer and will never fully understand this miracle device.  But I am a very happy user and I appreciate the great product and customer service Med-El provides.

Good luck in making your decision.

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