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Bilateral


Mary Featherston
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Hello all:  I am waiting on my insurance authorization and then will be scheduling my implant surgery.  My surgeon submitted to the insurance company for bilateral (all at once) but we have not made a final decision, primarily because although I want to end up bilateral, I can't shut down the muttering little core of fear deep in my unconscious.

Here's the thing:  I have almost no hearing in my right ear, but my left is - well, I'm not going to say functional because I struggle all day every day.  But there's SOMETHING there.  My fear is going into surgery and having both implants put in and then having something catastrophic happen and end up completely deaf.  For one thing, my husband is retired and my income is what we live on, and for another, the whole point of the exercise is to be able to hear.

And even though I've spoken to my surgeon and she has NEVER had a patient not be able to hear something (some people hear more than others, of course, but she said that the very worst result that she's seen is better than my current word comprehension).  My audiologist said the same thing.  So there seems to be little logical reason for that quivering little ball of fear in my subconscious.

But there it is.  I'd really really like to get them both done at once.  I would like to qualify for PlusRondo on both ears, for one thing, and then too if my second surgery were to slip into next year that would be two years in a row when I'd be out my maximum out of pocket on my healther coverage. 

Do any of you experience CI users have any input that I could consider?  Thank you so much.

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@Mary Featherston

 

I think it is important that you feel comfortable with your decision.  Whichever decision (simultaneous or sequential) makes you most comfortable, is my recommendation.  I love being bilateral and getting them sequentially was the correct path for me.

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@Mary Beth - do you know of anyone who's had the kind of catastrophic failure that I described?  I keep telling myself that I'm worrying (no, let's be honest, obsessing) about something for which the likelihood that it will happen is vanishingly small.

 

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@Mary Featherston

That is a question that I am unable to answer.  No matter what our hearing histories may have been, there is never any guarantee of our CI outcomes as far as I know.  We can end up performing much better than our hearing histories may indicate.  We can also end up performing less than our hearing histories may indicate.  It requires a leap of faith in my opinion.  I am so happy I chose to leap.

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@Mary Featherston I lost my hearing in both ears progressively and for20+ I wore hearing aids. My hearing loss was flat across all frequencies in both ears equally. So I thought I’d be able to be bilaterally implanted at the same time. 

Alas no, although I am now bilateral, my right ear was implanted in 2016 and I tried to get the left ear soon after. I tried in 2017 but did not get success until just this month. 3 surgeries on the left ear. Activation is next month. 

The point is, it not up to us as individuals to decide, it’s the ENT and perhaps the surgery center but also likely the insurance companies involved to see if they can approve only one side (in my humble opinion)

I personally think doing one at a time is better so that you deal with the healing process one side at a time- often that is easy but each person is different. 

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Well, my audiologist and my surgeon left it to me to decide (presuming, as you note, that the insurance company authorizes it).  The CT scan of my head showed nothing that might impede successful implantation in either ear, and like you, I lost my hearing progressively over most of my life.  I've been wearing hearing aids for 40+ years.

And while logically I suspect that I could go bilateral with a single surgery and have it end successfully, I have come to the conclusion that the risk of losing my residual hearing in both years and having something happen to make the CIs not work for me may be vanishingly small but it's not zero.

So that's that.  Sequential it is.  Now I'm just waiting on the insurance company and then we'll schedule the first surgery.  But dang, I hate waiting.  :-)

Good luck with your second activation, @Jdashiell!  So glad you're getting to bilateral now. 

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Yes I hate waiting too. Like Tom Petty sang, “the waiting is the hardest part”. 

Bet with patience and perseverance you do get through it. 

I gave up all residual hearing as minute as it was. It is now a totally new experience to be stone deaf without my processor on. I know there are brighter days ahead. Patience and perseverance. 

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