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Hybrid or Bilateral


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In five months, it will be 2 years since I have had my cochlear implant in my right ear.  As I mentioned in a previous post or two, it has truly surpassed my expectation.   I am truly thankful.  Yes, I have had and continue to deal with minor challenges, but it still has been an awesome journey.  They say that at some point a person with a CI may reach a "plateau", meaning receiving all you can expect to receive in your hearing journey and then it stabilizes.  Although CI moments have been few and far between, I won't say that I have reached that point yet.


Meanwhile, with music, I have been very fortunate to play the piano at several events, with this last event, earlier this month, being the very first time I played two piano solos with just my cochlear implant, not adding  my hearing aid in the other ear.  It gets better and better and then I think that maybe I can go bilateral.


Then, I will add the hearing aid for listening to a particular piece of music and I will say oh man, I don't think I am ready to go bilateral. smile. It just provides a fuller sound that is not quite there with just the CI alone.   With a hearing loss of over 100 decibel, I'm surprised I have any hearing left in that ear, but somehow the hearing aid "taps" into that bass and the CI in my right ear greatly compliments it.  Of course if I try to listen to music with just the hearing aid it sounds like noise, but somehow, if there is a significant bass line, it is heard faintly and can only be appreciated when the CI is added.  It is like the CI is filling in for all the high frequency losses and the bass line via the hearing aid is given the chance to come through.


So that brings me to the next question.  I am not sure the quality of the bass line will be appreciated by going bilateral.  So my question, should I wait until a hybrid is available?  At the rate of how my hearing loss has progressed through the years, I don't know how much longer I will be able to retain what little I do still have.  Otherwise,  should I just go ahead and go bilateral and hope like crazy that the fullest of music will be experienced this way?

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Hi Angela

Not sure if this would be helpful or not as I have only had my implants 10 months. I received both implants at the same time.  My left ear had better clarity from day one compared to my right ear.  The right ear has better bass tones and fullness of sound than the left.  It is still that way but both have improved since then in terms of clarity and sound quality.  The fullness of sound is definitely possible if the electrode goes in deep enough and if it attaches to the right ganglions.  That is in the surgeon's control and your anatomy etc.  For me, hearing aids did not help as it was all just noise, although I may have had a similar set up with the right ear only getting low tones too. And I cannot remember now what it sounded like but what i have now is still way better as I can hear words to songs etc which I did not get before and I can distinguish between semitones and majors and minors which I couldn't do even up till one month ago. With two implants there is better localisation of sound, and more fullness of sound than with one.  The left is improving and low tones are improving.  So it will be an individualistic thing and unfortunately not something that is predictable.


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Your hearing sounds similar to mine and I am very strongly considering going bilateral soon.  The only difference is: I've never been able to really appreciate and understand music - and this is a bummer for me as my son is a musician.


Only you can decide when you are truly ready to go bilateral, but my feeling is that you are not quite ready yet.  There is no hurry to go bilateral is there?  Why don't you wait until it's what you really WANT to do.


Good luck,


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Hi Karen and Lisa,


I am so sorry. I am now just reading your posts.   Karen,  you are so right. My cochlear implant goes in deep and my surgeon did an awesome job.   So really my success with my cochlear implant is really because of her and how skillful she was in placing the electrodes in my right ear.  I am definitely encouraged by what you had to share,


Lisa,  you are right.  There is no hurry at all.  But with what Karen shared, I wondered if I will be missing out by not going bilateral sooner.  Yet, she is right that it is an individual situation.  At this point,  I feel like the sleeping giant who has been awaken, meaning, the music that had pretty much "died" because of my hearing loss has been "resurrected" and  I would be nearly heart broken if I should get the other ear done and it is not as successful as my right ear, with no hearing aid to fall back on for a fuller sound.


Lisa, if I may ask,  how long have you had your implant?    You said you really haven't been able to appreciate music at this time.  Is it that you can't appreciate any music at all?  Have you thought of adding the hearing aid in the other ear to help make it fuller?      At this point, the only time I wear the hearing aid is when I want to hear certain types of music to get a fuller sound.  Otherwise,  I can not wear the hearing aid all the time because of sound sensitivity coming from that ear over time.


Again, thank you both for your replies.

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