A couple of days ago I had an appointment with my audiologist and surgeon to discuss going bilateral.
I had very few questions compared to the first time around. My audiologist actually asked a couple of weeks ago if any of my questions would require research before the appointment . 🙂 I had done a lot of extensive research, reviewed case studies and had tons of questions when I got my first CI. I have stayed somewhat up-to-date on CI information since I was first implanted which helped make this appointment go a lot quicker.
My surgeon basically discussed with me that they do not have any patients with my hearing background and communication mode who have chosen to go bilateral. Since I get very minimal benefit from my CI compared with the majority of CI-users, he said he was not going to push me to go bilateral but he was not going to prevent me from pursuing it. None of their bilateral patients have regarded going bilateral.
Both my audiologist and surgeon feel comfortable with my decision to go bilateral because they have seen my commitment with my current CI. Oftentimes people with my hearing background choose not to continue wearing their CI after a while.
We all are in agreement that getting a second CI will NOT help me understand speech without lipreading and that I will get the same benefits as I have with my current CI which is mostly environmental awareness. What a second CI will help with will be the ability to pick sounds out better in loud places. It will help with one of the things I find frustrating which is not being able to hear people speak to me when they’re on my unimplanted side. This oftentimes results in me not looking up in time to start lipreading.
I will likely get the newer implant which is basically the same as my current one but a bit thinner. He did say there’s a possibility that a new type of electrode/implant may come out next year. He doesn’t feel like there is anything coming out that I should wait for. I agree since I don’t pick up a lot of stuff that newer implants and programs are designed for anyways (quality of voice, accents, and speech).
It was a big change for me going from hearing out of both ears with hearing aids to hearing out of just one ear with the CI. I HATED hearing out of only one ear with hearing aids so much that when one hearing aid didn’t work…I wouldn’t wear the other (basically I preferred not hearing at all over hearing out of just one ear). As silly as it may sound, I do miss hearing out of both ears. I have tried the bimodal approach with several different hearing aids and settings and it just doesn’t do it for me.
I tried adapting to hearing out of one year for 2 and half years. The funny thing is right after I got my CI I remember thinking to myself there was NO way I would ever go bilateral. I was just so overstimulated. That thinking went away and I started considering getting a second CI 2 years ago. I kept putting it off because it involves surgery and I was hoping to find something else that would work for me. If I’m going to do it then now is the time.
Going Bilateral Step #2 will result on Wednesday when I go back in again to have testings to prove that I am still a candidate for a CI. Then hopefully I will get the surgery scheduled.
Although I have a different hearing background, I do think you will really notice a difference being bilateral. Whenever one of my processors dies, I am always amazed at the difference in sound when I can only hear out of one ear. It certainly makes sense- we have two ears for a reason!
You’re right, we have 2 ears for a reason! 🙂 I have been surprised at how few people are bilateral and how it seems to be a fairly “new” thing.