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Rick H

New to hear peers & Choosing brands

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On 9/9/2019 at 11:12 PM, Rick H said:

Hi everyone I’m Rick from Washington & I have profound hearing loss in both ears . I have been qualified for implants in both ears & am scheduled to be implanted on the left side in October! I am still trying to decide which brand but am leaning toward Med-El or Cochlear mainly for the OTE processors.(Rondo 2 or Kanso) all the brands seem to be great but all also claim to be the best . My question to you is how happy are you with the sound quality of your implant & the customer service you receive from Med-El. Choosing the right brand seems to be the hardest decision as a doctor doesn’t really know how each sound  unless he has one. I know it’s also a tough thing to answer for most recipients as they are used to only the brand They chose. Also music is very important to me as well . How would you rate the quality of music thru your implant? I know sometimes music can be a hard thing to acquire again. I’m nervous & excited as most people are before getting an implant, but reading a lot of the stories & experiences on this forum have really helped me to know what to expect. Now just Down to making the final decision for brand. I trying also to base my decision on the implant itself as I know the new technology changes every few years for the processors & those tend to be upgraded, So I really like the synchrony! Have any of you experienced any reliability issues with that implant? Any input you can share would be great! 

Thanks

Rick

Hi Rick,

I am in the same boat as you with my son; choosing between Med EL and Cochlear Americas. One thing my husband is concerned about is that CA has more world market share, and is a publicly-held company. He worries about what would happen if Med EL goes out of business (would another company take over, or leave the customers in the lurch). He thinks a bigger market share makes it less likely that a costumer would be left out in the cold. 

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Hi Melissa

Your husband has a legitimate concern however when it comes to medical devices I would always go with the one that you feel is the best possible product that will give your son the best outcome. That is what is really important. 

That being said it really is difficult to say with any absolute answer as to who makes the best implant. Sometimes the company selling the most doesn’t necessarily mean your getting the best. I did a lot of research before making my final decision & the one thing I can tell you is that all the recipients from all 3 companies seem to be very happy with their choices & the reliability is very good with all of them. Medel is the only family owned of the 3 but it is also the one that has been around the longest & was the first to invent the modern multi channel CI & also the first to invent a CI that was MRI safe to 3.0 Tesla. I don’t know if Medel is the best for sure as that was my choice & I don’t know how the CI  from CA performs compared to mine. There where a few people that were implanted with a CA in one side & a Medel in the other & those people said that the Medel sounded richer & music was much fuller. Those were the real deciding factors for me. I don’t know if your son is getting bilateral or just one but if bilateral that is also an option to go different brands in each side but most people usually stay with one brand for ease of use. 

 What I can tell you is I am very happy with the customer service I have had so far & the sound quality of the Medel is very realistic to natural hearing & music comes across very good as well.  Also just because a company is a publicly  traded company is no guarantee that they can’t run into financial hard times as well. There really is no guarantees for companies longevity’s but I think both companies have been in business long enough & have enough market shares to where their futures are pretty certain. I really don’t think you can go wrong with Medel or CA, they are both good companies that produce a great product! One thing I can assure you & your husband is that which ever brand you choose your son is going to do fantastic with his new CI. These devices are amazingly hi tech & life changing. My sister-in-law is a special education teacher  in Connecticut who has many children with CIs & she says it is amazing how well they do with them.

Mine is still at the point where it still is being dialed in & adjusted every few weeks as is the case for the first 1 to 2 years with any brand. But I am thrilled with my CI so far & I’m doing great with it. I have no regrets at all about my choice & am looking forward to getting my other side done after this one is further dialed in. I wish I’d done it much sooner.

Hope this helps you out & best of luck to you & your son!

Rick H

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Really good quotes from rickh and Mary Beth. 

As I said I'll keep trying. 

Peter 

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22 hours ago, Rick H said:

Hi Melissa

Your husband has a legitimate concern however when it comes to medical devices I would always go with the one that you feel is the best possible product that will give your son the best outcome. That is what is really important. 

That being said it really is difficult to say with any absolute answer as to who makes the best implant. Sometimes the company selling the most doesn’t necessarily mean your getting the best. I did a lot of research before making my final decision & the one thing I can tell you is that all the recipients from all 3 companies seem to be very happy with their choices & the reliability is very good with all of them. Medel is the only family owned of the 3 but it is also the one that has been around the longest & was the first to invent the modern multi channel CI & also the first to invent a CI that was MRI safe to 3.0 Tesla. I don’t know if Medel is the best for sure as that was my choice & I don’t know how the CI  from CA performs compared to mine. There where a few people that were implanted with a CA in one side & a Medel in the other & those people said that the Medel sounded richer & music was much fuller. Those were the real deciding factors for me. I don’t know if your son is getting bilateral or just one but if bilateral that is also an option to go different brands in each side but most people usually stay with one brand for ease of use. 

 What I can tell you is I am very happy with the customer service I have had so far & the sound quality of the Medel is very realistic to natural hearing & music comes across very good as well.  Also just because a company is a publicly  traded company is no guarantee that they can’t run into financial hard times as well. There really is no guarantees for companies longevity’s but I think both companies have been in business long enough & have enough market shares to where their futures are pretty certain. I really don’t think you can go wrong with Medel or CA, they are both good companies that produce a great product! One thing I can assure you & your husband is that which ever brand you choose your son is going to do fantastic with his new CI. These devices are amazingly hi tech & life changing. My sister-in-law is a special education teacher  in Connecticut who has many children with CIs & she says it is amazing how well they do with them.

Mine is still at the point where it still is being dialed in & adjusted every few weeks as is the case for the first 1 to 2 years with any brand. But I am thrilled with my CI so far & I’m doing great with it. I have no regrets at all about my choice & am looking forward to getting my other side done after this one is further dialed in. I wish I’d done it much sooner.

Hope this helps you out & best of luck to you & your son!

Rick H

You have made excellent points. I am so glad you are doing well with your CIs. My son would probably be bilateral but our surgeon does one implant at a time so he would start out bimodal. That is one area where I am a bit hesitant to choose Med-El; Cochlear uses a Resound hearing aid that can communicate with the CI for bimodal recipients; streaming sound can go to both devices at the same time without extra accessories. 

Melissa

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Hi Melissa

yes I do like the streaming capability of the CA implant both in regards to their hearing aid & to the direct to iPhone as well. It was definitely one of the things that made me think of them as a possible implant choice. It seems like all the other companies do tend to catch up & get the latest technology as time goes on. It’s like when I first started looking into my CI Medel was the only one that was MRI safe & by the time I had to make my decision all 3 had that feature which really made it even more difficult. For that reason I focused mainly on the features of the implant itself as that is what stays with you while the exterior processor & their streaming technology & other features improve & are upgraded about every 5 years or so without the need for surgery.

another nice feature that I liked about the CA nucleus implant was that they have the thinnest electrodes which is good for preserving any residual hearing. That’s a great feature! Also they have 22 electrodes compared to medels 12 & AB 16,  even though my surgeon told me it’s not the number of electrodes but the processing that make a big difference. If you go to this website (cochlearimplanthelp.com) the article there on electrodes & channels explains the differences in how each brand processes sound (the actual way they fire their electrodes to simulate sound) . There is a big difference in the way each brand process sounds, Medels electrodes can be fired simultaneously in pairs & are further divided into different electrical band width between the pairs to give up to 250 different audio frequencies or tones. AB has 16 electrodes that also fires in pairs split between different band widths to create phantom electrodes to generate 120 different frequencies, CAs has the most electrodes at 22 but fire in succession & don’t create any phantom electrodes. I’m no audio engineer but It’s a great article to read to get some insight as to how the brands differ from each other. 

Medels electrodes are softer & more flexible & reach further into the cochlea they claim that this feature is also great for preserving residual hearing. In the end I chose Medel mainly because of the sound processing differences & the fact that they have had no recalls. Also hearing how satisfied the recipients were with their devices. I’m not trying to push Medel but just giving some insight as to how I made my final decision.😁

also as you do your research you will hear many simulations of what it sounds like with a CI. I used to hear these & it scared me away from doing this for so long. Don’t be scared of these, they are terrible examples of what it really sounds like! I have never heard a simulation that sounds anything like my CI! I have only had mine turned on now for about 3 months & I can tell you mine sounds very very natural to my original hearing. I could understand speech from the minute it was turned on,. There is a slight mechanical sound to them but my family’s voices sounds like my family’s  voices. when  I watch TV the actors voices sound very much like they used to & most environmental sounds are spot on the way they where before. 

i would do as much research as you can, pick a good surgeon & talk to as many people on the forums  or in person with all the different brands & then go with your gut instinct! Most Everyone with a CI is very open to let you know about their experiences both good & bad. You really can’t make a bad choice! They are all good products! I don’t know how old your son is but I can assure you & your husband that he will be able to live a very normal life with his CI which ever brand you choose! 

Hope I’m not being too long winded with my responses but I know what a big decision this can be & I’m trying to give you as much info on my own personal experience of this. 

Best of  luck Melissa & if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask!

Rick H

 

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On 9/10/2019 at 1:07 AM, Daniel the Stranger said:

Hi Rick,

Welcome to Hearpeers. I'm not a Medel user, but I can tell you that Cochlear is the worst brand to choose if you want to listen to music.

How do you know Cochlear is the worse brand for music?

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1 hour ago, Melissa said:

How do you know Cochlear is the worse brand for music?

OK, so can you add a little info to backup that statement. 

Peter 

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Hi Melissa 

that statement was from Daniel the stranger, who I believe is a CA recipient. 

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One of the things that I like very much about this forum is that it never gets bogged down in the CI brand war debate.  Many many FB groups become heated with debates about CI brands.  
 

This forum is never like that and I am thankful.

 

 

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On 1/15/2020 at 2:36 PM, Mary Beth said:

One of the things that I like very much about this forum is that it never gets bogged down in the CI brand war debate.  Many many FB groups become heated with debates about CI brands.  
 

This forum is never like that and I am thankful.

 

 

You have to admit it would be nice to say this one is best. For me I would like to know how things sound to other people. Lately, 9 months on, in the evenings I find voices sounding gravelly (croaky?)  .

I think it we agreed on a particular piece of music, then we could try and describe what we hear. It's not going to prove which is best. But could be interesting. 

Whatever my ci sounds like, it sure beats my old hearing aid. 

Peter 

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@pdk

Start a new topic under MUSIC, Select a piece and provide a link so we all listen to the same track.  I will participate.

As to feeling that things sound off at night, that may just be listening endurance.  Time will help you build that up.  This journey continues way past the one year mark that professionals tend to mention and improvements that can not be measured in the booth (but are important quality of sound and life functioning improvements) continue.

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4 hours ago, pdk said:

You have to admit it would be nice to say this one is best. For me I would like to know how things sound to other people. Lately, 9 months on, in the evenings I find voices sounding gravelly (croaky?)  .

I think it we agreed on a particular piece of music, then we could try and describe what we hear. It's not going to prove which is best. But could be interesting. 

Whatever my ci sounds like, it sure beats my old hearing aid. 

Peter 

I agree with you Peter about how much better the CI is compared to my old HA, it’s just amazing. I’m only about 3 months in after my activation & now I notice the deeper tones are giving me the hardest problems with voices. Making them sound muttled & hard to understand. Something I’ll have to see if they can correct at the next mapping. Not sure why it’s changing like that but I think it has something to do with the mic sensitivity because if I cup my hand behind the Rondo2 the voices become much clearer.

Definitely would be cool to see how everyone does with a selected piece of music also. Some music I hear sounds great while others don’t do as well. I think the style has a lot to do with it! More heavy rock with defined percussion always seems to do better than complex pieces. I’ll keep an eye out & try to get in on the experiment!

Rick H

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@Rick H

Sounds like a MAP adjustment would fix that for you since it improves when you “funnel” sound to the mic.  You may just need a slight boost of some electrodes.  Keep us posted.

How are you enjoying your Rondo 2?

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3 hours ago, Mary Beth said:

@pdk

Start a new topic under MUSIC, Select a piece and provide a link so we all listen to the same track.  I will participate.

As to feeling that things sound off at night, that may just be listening endurance.  Time will help you build that up.  This journey continues way past the one year mark that professionals tend to mention and improvements that can not be measured in the booth (but are important quality of sound and life functioning improvements) continue.

Thanks Mary Beth, I'm due for a mapping session in March. This session has been a loud one I have volume down to 1. As for a piece of music, I'll think about it. My taste limits around the 1990. My latest would be Susan Boyle and Katie melua . My favourites Ella and Barbara Streisand are disaster. Maybe that video of Peter and the wolf?? 

Peter 

 

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3 hours ago, Mary Beth said:

@Rick H

Sounds like a MAP adjustment would fix that for you since it improves when you “funnel” sound to the mic.  You may just need a slight boost of some electrodes.  Keep us posted.

How are you enjoying your Rondo 2?

Thanks Mary Beth, yes I’m enjoying it very much & am doing great. At my last doctors /Audi appointment they told me after 6 weeks of activation I was sitting where most people are at 6 months so I feel very fortunate for it to be working so well. Still waiting for the Sonnet2 to get here for the swap. I really can hardly wait to see how well does!😁

I’ll  keep you posted

Rick H

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I just qualified to have CI's about 2 weeks ago and have been inundated with information from the manufactures. Spoke with reps from MED-EL and Cochlear but not AB as  yet. I appreciate the info this forum has given me, especially the comments on music as that is one of the issues I was interested in too. From what I have seen so far is that all of them have similar features and just determining what will suit my needs is the key. Cochlear pushes their customer service as the best. Was glad to hear that MED-EL customer service was also very good as per one of the comments I just read.

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@Dave M

It is confusing for sure.  But the 3 brands do differ quite a bit on their internal components, which have the biggest impact on how music sounds to us.

Be sure to compare the internal components.

Wishing you the very best.

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@Dave M

hi Dave welcome to hearpeers. Be sure to read this weeks Medel blog story about  being able to appreciate the color of music  again. It’s the story of a man who had another brand CI, & then switched to a Medel. There is also a related story at the bottom of the article from a woman who  also had a Medel & another brand as well. When I made my decision I really took to heart the stories from these types of recipients. As they are very rare people to have  2 different brands installed & makes them the real experts that can truly say if one brand sounds or performs better than another! Doctors & audiologists can tell us a lot about reliability issues, or ease of mapping or installation of CIs but both my doctor & audiologists said that all the brands seemed to be the same in those regards. But someone who actually has both installed can give invaluable info as to which brand really performs better in regards to sound quality, MRIs & so forth! I was very happy with my decision as it was but when I read stories like these it just reinforces me that I made the right choice. This next year I’ll be getting my other side done & I'm sure it will be another Medel synchrony! 

Do your research well & you’ll do great!

best of luck to you bud & what ever brand you choose keep us posted! 

Rick H

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Appreciate the response. Will check out those stories.

 

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Is it possible to swap processors? The electrode is a passive device so it should be possible to activate it with any processor. I'm convinced the result we hear is due to the programming. I'm up for my year mapping session. Currently I have turned my volume down to it's lowest and am only using my music program. I'm going to ask for a program with as little adjustment intelligence. If I sing to myself, midscale strange compensation happens. When wearing headphones it cuts volume occasionally. 

On the plus side music is definitely improving, but vocals have a long way to go. 

So when I hear someone say music is great can they say what does not sound great. 

Peter 

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@pdk

We must stick to the processors made by our cochlear implant brand.

If we wish to use a different brand, it requires removing all of the other brand and implanting all of the new brand.

Each brand processes sound differently.


And people’s experiences with the same brand vary.

I am enjoying all parts of music.  Nothing sounds bad.  I love how everything sounds with my bilateral CIs.

MAPping is very important.  I agree.

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31 minutes ago, Mary Beth said:

@pdk

We must stick to the processors made by our cochlear implant brand.

If we wish to use a different brand, it requires removing all of the other brand and implanting all of the new brand.

Each brand processes sound differently.


And people’s experiences with the same brand vary.

I am enjoying all parts of music.  Nothing sounds bad.  I love how everything sounds with my bilateral CIs.

MAPping is very important.  I agree.

Hi Mary Beth 

Knowing your story, that makes a big plus for Med-El. However this is my first year and the speech side has been great from the start. 

Peter 

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@pdk

I am glad speech has been great for you Peter.

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@pdk 

for me speech has been great & at times music really comes across great as well but depends on the type of music. My biggest issue I’ve been having lately is the deeper tones for voices are so over powering that the words are muttled  & hard to make out . Of course I’ve only been activated for a little over 3 months but I’m thinking of having the audiologists turn down or turn off the deepest electrode to see how that works. Even at that though my last mapping I tested out at 92% word recognition in the booth with my implanted ear as opposed to 18% presurgery with both ears so I can’t complain! Life is much better now!😁

Rick H

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