NEWSFLASH: A new site is available at www.cochlearimplantHELP.com with everything you ever wanted to know about cochlear implants!
I discovered during my cochlear implant journey that the medic team don’t give you a lot of information, just some general ballpark end-user results and info on the implantation process. Once I started digging, I discovered a whole lot of stuff which enabled me to make an INFORMED decision. As I’m the one wearing the thing for the rest of my life, I want it to be as effective as possible. Hopefully, the information here will help those considering a cochlear implant to make an informed decision too.
It’s important to remember that a cochlear implant will not give you normal hearing. However, it will give you better hearing than with hearing aids, and it can take up to 2 years for the rehabilitation process. Some will do well within a few months; others, particularly those born deaf, can take much longer. Many cochlear implant users report ongoing improvements for years after activation.
There is some debate around the criteria and testing used to determine whether you are a cochlear candidate or not. Myles de Bastion published his views on this subject, which I am in agreement with – ‘NICE Guidelines: Introducing a Flawed and Discriminatory Practice’.
All brands will work well for you. They are slightly different and one brand might suit your needs and wants better than another.
Having a cochlear implant implanted isn’t Plug ‘n Play. It’s like a computer – Garbage In, Garbage Out. You will need to work with the cochlear implant to help it along, and retrain your brain to recognise the new sounds. So, as well as keeping your expectations low, you need to do some rehabilitation work to get the most out of your implant.
WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE THROUGH A COCHLEAR IMPLANT
Be aware that if you listen to these links through your hearing aids, you will be listening to sounds processed twice, once through your hearing aid, and again through a cochlear implant simulation. So OF COURSE it’s going to sound screwy. I’d suggest asking a hearing friend to have a listen and give you their thoughts. Don’t forget that your brain will adapt and learn to process the sound signal over time, so it will improve.
Sometimes this goes away with a cochlear implant, sometimes it doesn’t. Roll the dice and see …
COCHLEAR IMPLANT OPERATION
This is a very informative video as the surgeon comments on the surgery and cochlear implants throughout. Well worth a watch in my opinion as it you get the explanation along with it. (After the jump, click on High Bandwidth under the video screen, it seems to play better. Click on CC for captions or check the transcript button. Not for the squeamish!
Should you have a meningitis vaccine? Read about Kathleen.
COST OF COCHLEAR IMPLANTS
THE FUTURE FOR COCHLEAR IMPLANTS
Cochlear implants : Where we are and where we’re going – a Powerpoint slideshow by Amber M. Gardner, Ph.D., CCC-A University of Virginia Health System, which offers a fascinating look at the progress of cochlear implants with photos that will make your hair stand on end! There were some very brave pioneers and we are eternally grateful to them.
Cochlear implant hybrids (2006)
Totally implantable cochlear implants for middle ear deafness. A paper was presented, The development of a tympanic membrane sensor for a totally implantable cochlear implant or hearing aid, (1997) but as yet, nothing has been developed from this. However, see this article by Rahul Sharpeshkar, Analog VLSI and Biological Systems lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2006). You can read an explanation of their system at Mimicking the ear.
NICE guidance TA166: Cochlear implants for severe to profound deafness in children and adults (Updated 2011)
Hearing Journey – the largest Cochlear Implant forum : the best place to meet cochlear implant users and ask for friendly advice. All brands are welcome however more technical advice can only be given for Advanced Bionics.
Bionic Ear Association – Join the cochlear implant community, connect to a mentor, use online rehabilitation tools
MedEl – User community
British CI Group – Find your local cochlear implant centre in the UK
National CI Users Association – Find your local cochlear implant support group and information on cochlear implants
UK Cochlear Implant Users Group on Yahoo
Case studies – read about cochlear implant user experiences
CI Theory – Optimize cochlear implant performance, downloads
NHS – Annual Evidence Update on Hearing Disorders
NICE – Cochlear implant guidance
Deafness Research UK – Cochlear Implant Research
Interview with Professor Graeme Clark
Comparison of bimodal and bilateral cochlear implant users on speech recognition
FAQ – Air travel with a cochlear implant
Love playing sports, or working in construction? Here’s my article on helmets for cochlear implant users, which is continually updated with new resources.
If you’re technically-minded and want a deeper look at cochlear implants, check out this book: Programming Cochlear Implants
MAUDE (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience) – FDA database of reported cochlear implant problems. Open the Product Class drop-down list, and choose ‘Implant, Cochlear.’ Choose the results per page at the bottom and date range. You will be able to see how many problems occurred with each manufacturer and what they were.