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Mary Beth

Status on bilateral CIs for adults in various countries

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Buried in many different topics are comments about whether bilateral CIs are available to adults in various countries.  (Or even unilateral implants for @Jewel)

 

I think it will be interesting to have a post to discuss this in one place.

 

Are bilateral CIs available to adults in your country?

 

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This is kind of a difficult topic.  Things were very, very easy for me:  I visited the audiologist, got my hearing retested, was referred to a CI surgeon and had my first surgery within two months.  Six months later I've had my second CI implanted.  But it's not as simple as saying that in the US it's easy for us, because it's far from universal.  I work for a large company that can afford to, and does, provide us with excellent healthcare coverage.  The company pays most of the premiums too, I pay under $300/month for me and my husband.  People on Medicare or Medicaid are not so lucky, though, nor are people with subpar health coverage.  My aunt, on Medicare, was not approved for a CI.  Nor was my cousin, who is a public-school teacher in a middle class district, approved for a BAHA. 

So, I'm extremely grateful, not only for Med-El and the devices themselves, but for 3M and the fact that they provide for employees extremely well (I also find it cool that my company was part of developing the device in my head, which is a different issue, but if you're interested, google "3M Vienna Extracochlear implant - it was the mid-80s and not anything like our Synchrony implants, but the science led directly to Med-El).

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And no, I have no idea why there's an empty quote there.

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Yes in the US things depend on an individual’s health insurance plan.  I had it easy as well.

 

I know many people on Medicaid type of plans who have been approved for bilateral implants as adults.  That may vary state to state.

 

Medicare seems to be tricky for many people.  @Joan had a cool experience with that.  Hopefully she will share it here as well.

 

Here is what bothers me about policies that only allow 1 CI for adults.  Research shows that 2 CIs improve our listening in noise and our ability to detect the direction of sounds.  HOWEVER listening with 2 CIs is so much more than that!  We need research which better captures the bilateral CI experience so that there is scientific data supporting an appeal for bilateral CIs for adults. I want all adults to be able to get bilateral CIs if they are interested.  All adults, all countries.

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@Mary Featherston, as @Mary Beth mentioned, I had a cool experience that led to my second implant five months after my first. Having initially been told by my clinic that Medicare would pay for only one implant (although both ears met their qualifications), they subsequently decided to “test” Medicare’s stance on that. They asked me if I wanted to be their test patient, with the assurance they would cover all costs if Medicare didn’t. I jumped at the opportunity and, when all was said and done, Medicare and my supplemental paid 100% of the costs. I feel like I won the lottery!

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@Joan That was quite a gift and it showed that Medicare will cover a second CI.  

 

I always think of Medicare as federally run and the same across the nation.  However after reading different people’s experiences, I wonder if it differs state by state?  Or just some CI centers know a way to get the second implant approved?

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4 hours ago, Joan said:

@Mary Featherston, as @Mary Beth mentioned, I had a cool experience that led to my second implant five months after my first. Having initially been told by my clinic that Medicare would pay for only one implant (although both ears met their qualifications), they subsequently decided to “test” Medicare’s stance on that. They asked me if I wanted to be their test patient, with the assurance they would cover all costs if Medicare didn’t. I jumped at the opportunity and, when all was said and done, Medicare and my supplemental paid 100% of the costs. I feel like I won the lottery!

@Joan - wow, I really love that story.  Your clinic and your medical team sound awesome.

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4 hours ago, Mary Beth said:

@Joan That was quite a gift and it showed that Medicare will cover a second CI.  

 

I always think of Medicare as federally run and the same across the nation.  However after reading different people’s experiences, I wonder if it differs state by state?  Or just some CI centers know a way to get the second implant approved?

I don't think my aunt has tried again, @Mary Beth and it's possible that she would have a different result now.  It's also possible that her hearing is at a different level from Joan's.

While I personally was upset when she was turned down, she herself is hesitant to go bilateral anyway.  She's a musician also and loves playing piano and is afraid of losing that.  I had her read your blog on the Med-El site and she was impressed but still hasn't tried again to my knowledge.

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@Mary Featherston  It’s good that your aunt is waiting until she is ready.  I think it helps our journeys when we view the CI as giving us hearing, instead of losing residual hearing, so being ready is important.  If she becomes ready, I hope she is approved fast and easy!

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2 minutes ago, Mary Beth said:

@Mary Featherston  It’s good that your aunt is waiting until she is ready.  I think it helps our journeys when we view the CI as giving us hearing, instead of losing residual hearing, so being ready is important.  If she becomes ready, I hope she is approved fast and easy!

Yep, @Mary Beth - I learned that personally.  When I began this process I was scared about losing my residual hearing in my left ear.  By the time I got to my second surgery I'd decided that it didn't bring enough benefit to worry about.  But you have to get there yourself.

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True, so true @Mary Featherston

This is hard to describe to someone who is considering her first CI.  

 

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So Canada, well Ontario to be specific. We adults get one implant covered by our health care system. Children get two. We are given one processor and a five year warranty on all parts except the rechargeable battery charger. After that we pay out of pocket for upgrades and parts etc. I’m not sure how that works for kids. Each province here has their own standards. 

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@Kara of Canada

Is the opportunity for some adults to receive a second CI if they participate in research only available in Ontario or is it available in other provinces too?

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As far as I know it’s a hospital to hospital basis. Since the hospital I go to is a research and teaching facility it is a very limited position. I was very up front about my need to have a second CI. I appealed to the hospital CI team. They approved me. Not sure how many people are in this study as they just did a renovation for testing labs for reasearch purposes. So it’s a new and upcoming thing I think. Hopefully it will change the opinion of one versus two CIs for the general public. 

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Yes I do as well. 

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On 11/3/2018 at 10:42 AM, Mary Beth said:

Buried in many different topics are comments about whether bilateral CIs are available to adults in various countries.  (Or even unilateral implants for @Jewel)

 

I think it will be interesting to have a post to discuss this in one place.

 

Are bilateral CIs available to adults in your country?

 

No not in canadaCanada

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Here in Norway it used to be bilateral for children and one side for adults. But the last couple of years they have started to give bilateral surgery for adults as well. All costs are covered by our free health care. We have high taxes, but it is worth it 😊 Just got my second implant two days ago. 

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Yay!  @Helgeo

That is terrific!

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@Helgeo

Are you using Sonnets or Rondo 2?

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I have a Sonnet now and will get one more in few weeks. I was asked if I would like to switch to Rondo 2 but I cannot think of any advantages by switching 🤔

I have almost no hair so Rondos will not be easy to hide 😉 And I don't like the idea of having to be without the processor while charging. 

Also with Sonnets I can use a regular noise canceling headset. 

 

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@Helgeo

Which noise canceling headset do you prefer?

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I do not have a noise canceling headset yet, but plan to get one after activation of the second side. My wife has the Bose QC35, it sounded great on my Sonnet but was useless on the HA side due to feedback. I might look into the Sony wh 1000 xm3 as they have slightly larger ear cups and generally get great reviews for both sound quality and noise canceling. They are a bit expensive but will make a great present for myself 😊

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I have BOSE QC35 and like them with my bilateral CIs.  If you get the SONY set, let me know what you think of it.

 

@Helgeo

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