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CI surgery scheduled mid-May

Heather W

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Hello! New to this site. I’m a 49yo female in NC. I’m scheduled for CI surgery on my left ear in mid-May with UNC. I started losing my hearing in my late 30’s, been using Phonak hearing aids for 8-9 years with a noticeable decline in my hearing each year. My left ear is severe to profound loss now, sound very distorted and word recognition is 0%. Right is a little better (moderate to profound). I’m a working professional and unfortunately a recent widow. I’m having to decide between Med-El and Advanced Bionics CI. I’m leaning towards Med-El due to what appears to be the best cochlear coverage for range of sound as well as hardware options. 
I have many questions, but will limit them to just a few for this post. 
1. How was surgery recovery? Thoughts on time off from work which involves a mix of home office and daytime travel to various on site locations. 
2. Any bimodal folks that can comment on how Med-El CI works with a hearing aid in the other ear? I currently stream TV, music and some phone calls to my HA now. 
3. How was hearing adjustment after CI activation?

Thanks and I look forward to being a part of this community. 

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Hi @Heather W, Welcome to the community! I have posted a lot on why I made my choice and my experiences. This thread might be helpful for you. I think that there are no wrong answers in selecting a brand, but that each brand has different research priorities. I love that Med-EL has so much research on music appreciation and is building tools to make this research accessible to clinicians. I also love that Med-EL prioritizes backwards compatibility. I've read Facebook forum posts from people with different brands who are disappointed that they can't upgrade to the latest and greatest external processors because their internal components are no longer supported. Since I too am in my 40s, I really don't want to be stranded with unsupported processors or have to upgrade internal components with a new surgery as I grow older. 

1. My surgery recovery was good. My only side effect was vertigo (no pain after the first day). Since my vertigo lasted for quite a while (2-3 weeks), I ended up taking more time off than average. After the first couple of days, though, I felt safe walking around (but didn't feel comfortable driving for more than 2 weeks). This is uncommon and might have been less severe had I taken the vertigo medicine that I had forgotten had been prescribed for me. oops :) 

2. I'm not bimodal since hearing aids never really helped me much given the nature of my hearing loss and I procrastinated on my surgery until the other ear was almost completely gone. Others in the group can speak to bimodal much better than I can.

3. I'm just over a month out after my activation and it's been something of an emotional roller coaster, but overall very positive. Being able to hear and understand my loved ones and coworkers again after almost two years is just so hard to describe. I am super excited that I'm actually enjoying music now, even though it still is somewhat distorted. I can understand conversations one on one pretty well, though still turn on captions for Zoom. I love that I'm hearing low and high tones, as I lost those first (my audiogram was an inverted U instead of a ski slope for a few years).


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HI @Heather W,  I am waiting to see if I qualify for a CI and should know soon.  I live in far southwest VA and actually UNC is the closest for me at about 3 hours.  and Vanderbilt in Nashville is an option.  I, too, am waffling between Med El and AB.  I will need to use the CI with a hearing aid in the other ear as well.  I love the connectivity of AB, hands free talking for phone calls without an extra device.  Med El is admittedly not there yet.  I need to study more about how the electrodes work to create the pitches as explained on cochlearimplanthelp.com since it is the internal parts that matter down the line. I'll be interested in your decision and any insights your surgeon might share.  Thanks for sharing your process and best wishes for great success.  Keep us posted please.

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