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18 Month Old Scheduled for CI


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I am the Mom of an 18 month old son who will receive a cochlear implant on his right side next month.  Right now, we are trying to decide between two brands...Cochlear and Med El.  How did you decide?  We've been told the good thing is they are both good and children have great success with both so we really can't make a bad decision.  But, how to decide is difficult.  I'm just reading everything I can get my hands on.  It does help to read about others experience with the CI and that it takes time.  My son received hearing aids a week ago and we know he can hear better, especially on his left side, but the progress is slow.  He's not turning towards sounds or his name, we can't read a book to him yet.  Interestingly, he is quieter.  He used to yell/grunt and slam cabinet doors and doors all over the house.  He's not doing that as much now.  I see a difference in him but it is so subtle I can't explain it.  I've always felt my words never got through to him, like there was a wall between us, but with the hearing aids I don't feel that way.  I'm sure the CI will make it even better.  Any advice you have about choosing a brand?  Expectations? Anything is appreciated.

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It's true, you really can't make a wrong decision. I've known people with all 3 brands who have been quite successful. The most important part is the rehab. I teach students who are deaf and hard of hearing and please please hear me when I say this: CIs are NOT cures! They can be wonderful and give your child sound, but you still have to work with them and make the follow up appointments for mapping and practice at home and get them the therapy and services they need. Most of my students' parents don't seem to understand that. I don't say this to scare you, only so you know what is most important for your son! And no 2 people have the exact same experiences, so there is no telling when your son will hit his milestones.


I am very newly implanted and activated (1 week post activation), so I'm a little limited on the advice I can give you. I can tell you that the reason why I choose Med-El was partly to do with a wider dynamic range (less sound compression) and a longer electrode array that is also more flexible and therefore would allow for more hearing preservation (since I did have some residual hearing, which was saved). I also had the opportunity to speak with someone who had been implanted with Cochlear and had to have those explanted for medical reasons and was reimplanted with Med-El. She felt that the sound quality was better with Med-El than with Cochlear. I had been leaning towards Med-El for the first few reasons and was convinced by this woman's testimony and rare experience.


Some people say to look at the processor and choose by the processor features, which I would have picked Cochlear if I had done that. However, I believe Med-El will catch up to Cochlear and Advanced Bionics by coming out with a more water resistant or even water proof processor at some time in the near future. If they don't, they will have a LOT of very unhappy customers! I couldn't bring myself to do this, because while a more water resistant processor would have been great (Cochlear), I was more concerned with the previously listed internal features. Cochlear has a newer implant that has a longer electrode array that's more flexible, but I was told that it is half banded, meaning the electrodes are only in half the array and it was unknown yet how this affected sound quality, etc. I wasn't willing to take that chance and I had to make a decision, so I went with Med-El.


I am 1 week post-activation and I am understanding words when I talk with people, if I have visual cues, like signs or lip reading. I can understand words in closed sets without visual cues in a quiet setting. The sound quality is still tinny and robotic, but I've been told that will go away. I had a very easy recovery from the surgery. My taste buds were minimally affected and getting better, though the metallic taste has not completely gone away. But foods taste better now, so I can deal with this if it never completely goes away.


My students have come back from their surgeries pretty much completely unaffected by any of the above. They are kids and they recover and deal with things so much better than adults! I will also tell you, they all have Cochlear. We had one student, several years ago, with Med-El. She has since graduated and is a very successful adult. I'm not saying it's because of Med-El. Rather, it's probably more likely that she had the proper follow up care and rehabilitation.


Good luck with your decision and let me know if there is anything else I can help you with!

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hello , It is very difficult to decided which implant best for your son .Best thing is do is research on website cochlear n med el that will give u more information about it .

At first i was given three option are AB,cochlea and med el unfortunately only been given med el so i refused to have med el .i want AB the reason i look at speech processor on website that is the smallest one and when i see the real AB is was huge speech processor so i refused to have that & i told them i need some time to think about it ,Then i ask people with med el they are really pleased with it n been told that will appreciated music more .

Then med el had new smallest ever speech processor which is really asset to children & adult to wear it .I was impress how med el have improving med el implant n speech processor also will improving in the future .So i accept to go for med el implant and had inserted already .The switch on was august 23rd I was exciting like a kid lol .At the moment 3 month so far i am really happy with my hearing performances outcomes also i had a hearing test and had to redo hearing test because little girl outside the room was crying that set me off pressing the button haha i was shocked that i can hear girl outside the room :D .With the hearing aids i have no chance to hear girl crying outside room .I can hear well what people saying to me and i don't have to ask them again ,again which is a bonus for me . Another thing about med el implant have very special electrode array is made of like silicone rubber and is will saved your son some residual hearing .They are good for less head trauma than AB n cochlear .

i wish u all the best which implant u have for ur son and good luck

Let us know what u decided



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  • 1 month later...

Thank you so much for your replies.  We decided to go with Med El for several reasons but basically we felt the technology is further advanced than Cochlear with the exception of water-resistance.  I believe our son will experience better sound quality with Med El.  We like the smaller processor, the longer, more flexible electrode array and the fact that our son will not need to change the settings using a remote when he is in different hearing situations.  I understood with Cochlear the remote is necessary to change the settings and I think the remote was more complex to figure out.  We did seriously consider Cochlear because of its water-resistance/proofing but I kept reminding myself that Luke is 18 months old now but this is a life long decision.  He will be with Med El when he is 8, 18 and 38.  We felt this was the best decision long-term and I feel like we made the right decision for us.  I have been assured that Med El is working on water-resistance/proofing but they want to offer a good solution when they do.  It is coming though.


Our son's surgery was on October 26th and it went very smoothly; he was out in under 2 hours.  The doctor said it was one of the simplest surgeries he's had in some time.  He was activated on Tuesday, November 20th and is doing great.  He is turning his head to different sounds and is enjoying hearing new things.  He is babbling more word like sounds although we haven't heard any true words.


We are 100% committed to getting him the therapy he needs to do his very best and we are working with him at home.  He is going to therapy once a week.  Is that typical?  Should it be more? 


He is in a Kids Day Out program two days a week with other kids his age.  The other three days he stays with a neighbor and one other child.  I'm beginning to wonder if it would be helpful for him to be in a pre-school program.  Perhaps when he is 2 years old.  Any thoughts?

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Hi! I'm a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. I see so many kids come to me and get implants and are unsuccessful. I believe that a deaf and hard of hearing child can be successful either with or without an implant, but when choosing an implant, the younger the better! So, that said, I'm glad you didn't decide to wait! Does your son have 1 implant or 2? It's GREAT that he is already responding to sounds and babbling more!!! As far as the therapy goes, 1 time a week is not bad for such a young age, but it really depends on what you are doing at home. The more you do at home, the more successful your son will be. I think it's enough for now, if you are doing your part at home. As far as preschool goes, YES! I am a huge believer in preschool, no matter what challenges a child may or may not have. Look in your area and see what is available. Usually public school systems offer services. My system that I work for has preschool available for students when they turn 3. This my classroom, actually. But we sim-com, so we sign and speak. There are pluses and minuses to this mode of communication, and I can go more in depth if you want me to. You will need to just research what is available where you are and what you want for his future! But, he is already making great progress!! :)

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Thanks Sarah.  I appreciate your replies and they are helpful.  For some additional background, Luke passed a newborn hearing screening after birth.  Well, he failed it twice in the hospital so we went back one month later and he passed.  So, either the test was wrong or he could hear for some time after bith.  We just don't know how long.  I say this because there is a possibility he had some exposure to sound prior to getting a hearing aid and CI at 18/19 months.  He is wearing a hearing aid on his left ear and has the CI on his right ear.  The left ear has better hearing but there is a good chance he will get a CI on the left side next year.


Our ENT strongly recommends AVT theraphy and that is what we are going with although I have read different arguments on both sides.  I have read and heard different arguments on both sides.  I am open to hearing your observations as a teacher or your thoughts on either side.


As parents, we are totally (100%) committed to doing whatever is best for Luke and gives him the best possible outcome.  That includes working with him at home, getting him additional therapy, pre-school, etc.  However, we both work, and need to, to afford Luke's continued care so our time with Luke is somewhat limited.  Luke is in a Kids Day Out program two days a week and stays with an individual the other three days.  She also keeps one other child that is 3 years old.  Our sitter is also committed to working with Luke.


I found a local pre-school that has a 2 year old program.  I'm currently trying to decide if we should put him in pre-school at 2 or wait until he is 3.  I don't want to waste precious time but I don't want to push him to hard either.  I plan to speak with his audiologist about her recommendation as well.


Thanks for listening/reading.

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  • 2 months later...

hi kristi,my little boy was implanted on 29th jan with two implants,it is hard to decide which one's to go for,we have gone with the med-el O2,because it is much better for the little one's,he gets swiched on,on 25th feb,we can't wait to see his little face! we know we have a great journy ahead,but there is light at the end of the tunnel ( as we say) and we will have to take one day at a time.  

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Hi Kristy.


Sure you already saw it, but here I explain my thoughts about choosing a brand for my 3 year-old boy




Really wish you the best with your decision. Whatever one you choose, I'm sure that you will success through love and dedication.

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