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Why I chose Med El. Finally a candidate!


SarahDunlap
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Hi, all! I found this forum through hearingtracker.com and am so happy I stumbled on it. I look forward to reading about your hearing journeys and what I can expect as I move closer to surgery (July 1st) and then finally, activation day! (~4 wks)

Why I chose Med El and my story-

I am 41 years old, female, athletic, but also have some brain injury which may or may not have something to do with the severe to profound hearing loss that I experience in both ears. My right ear is moderate to severe, drops into profound at the highest frequencies, while my left just recently dropped into profound range with 0% word recognition.  I have been learning about CI's since 2019, first with Cochlear Americas. I had some great initial support from them but I still was pretty far away from candidacy (even though everyone working in CI field took one look at my audiogram and said I should be a candidate!) 

I was still getting help from HA's so I stayed the course but relocated my work to a warehouse type space and had to move to a more directional HA, which for me was the Phonak Marvel. This helped to not pick up sounds from above and all around me which made speech in noise a little easier. My hearing stayed the same for about a year or two and then suddenly and dramatically dropped mostly on my left side, but my right dropped some as well.  

Around this time, I was emailed by some random person who told me about Advanced Bionics and who I could maybe get a second opinion from in Pittsburgh. Just by initiating contact with AB, I felt like they were grooming me to get on board with their brand because I'm already a Phonak Marvel user and take advantage of the Roger Pen. I thought that this "connectivity" was the most important thing because I do stream a lot on my phone and want both ears to be exposed to the same noises in hopes I can make a better recovery w/my better ear in the mix. BUT, I felt like I was being sold, and I'm in sales too so I know what it looks like when a product gets "pushed." There may be many happy AB and CochlearA recipients, but nobody took the time the way Med El did in addressing each of my concerns. They described in detail w/and audiologist the many facets that the Med El implant can interpret sounds better than all the others.

The ability to simply participate in life is all I want again. I'm so exciting to get this done, I've already gotten my meningitis vaccine (Prevnar 20, one and done) and have chosen Med El, bright white on the Sonnet and black on the Rhondo. I can't wait to have some hardware on my head so I don't have to tell everyone first thing that I can't hear them! My HA's are nearly invisible. At least I hope it helps with that! Self advocacy is crucial when you suffer from an invisible disability like hearing loss, but it's also quite exhausting by the end of the day. 

I wanted to pop on this site to introduce myself. I'm looking forward to being a part of the Med El community and do wholly trust that my surgeon and support team have my best interest at heart. My activation probably won't be until the first week of August.  

One thing I might want to ask here is that I do live alone (w/one cat) and while I will have someone staying with me for my surgery, I know he won't be able to stay indefinitely. For those of you who have at least one implant already, did any of you do it on your own without much extra help from friends/family? I'm going to need the support but just not sure how vital it is a few days or a week after surgery? I plan on going back to work asap (also work alone). How detrimental is all this alone time just after surgery? If at all? I do prefer my alone time but with an implant in the head and all I wonder if I should have some company for a bit longer?

 

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@SarahDunlap

congratulations on a surgery and activation date!!  And welcome to HearPeers.  We are a friendly group so feel free to ask questions and share your journey.  Wishing you the best.

Which CI center are you using?  I go to New York Eye & Ear in NYC.

We have a monthly GoogleMeet with automatic captions so if you wish to join in, just reply in the post about the June 2022 GoogleMeet.

I took one week off of work for each CI surgery.  My recoveries were easy.

It is helpful to have someone for the first couple of days if possible.

 

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@SarahDunlapWelcome to the Forum. You will find lots of help and opinions here.

My thoughts of company after surgery are as follows:

1. My surgery, (October 21) took place about 30 miles from my home. I spent two nights in hospital, one prior to and one post surgery. I was driven to the hospital but getting there by public transport from my home is very easy, (and preferable: who wants a car in a city centre?) and that is how I go to all of my follow up meetings. However, coming back from surgery was much more pleasant with a car and driver; (my wife).

2. Once home, my recovery was quick and pretty much painless so having someone around was pleasant but not necessary.

3. Post activation is a different story. It is very helpful to have voices to listen to even if you don't understand everything they say. You mention that you want to go back to work but that you work alone so if you live alone and work alone you won't have the voices to listen to and that you can ask to repeat what they said. That's a pity and it may slow down the speed of your adapting to the CI.

To cut a long story short, had I to choose, I would prefer company post activation to post surgery. 

Good luck with your journey.

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Oh excellent feedback! Thank you! I am concerned about not being exposed to enough conversation / spoken words post activation but I'm hoping that I can make up for that with a lot of podcasts, audio books, and Netflix hopefully! But then am I going to run through batteries like crazy?  Cute story about public transportation to and from appointments and I know I will have company after surgery but I don't know that I will have company post activation. This may change the way I approach rehab if the more naturally spoken words, the better, post activation. My partner wants to be here after surgery (stuck in a long distance conundrum for now) but maybe I'll opt for more time in August. I really wish I knew my activation date! Thank you much for writing! You've helped without overloading me with clinical jargin. 🙏

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Hi Sarah, it's Fred from HearingTracker.  :)  Congrats! 

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