What I Hear

Life with hearing loss

Holidays and Hearing Loss

Come one, come all. Sing, celebrate, eat, drink. I won't hear you, but I'll be happy. Read More

Bilateral CIs DO get insurance coverage

Bilateral CIs do often get insurance coverage. I know many people with two who paid nothing for them. I have one and will probably get another for free - my doctor and his staff have assured me that will be the case.
I have the Advanced Bionics implant and I think it is TERRIFIC in noise. The new Naida has a zoom program that drowns out background noise and zooms in on the person you are facing. It's amazing and I find myself doing great. Their Clearvoice program is also pretty neat.
Honestly from reading your posts and your book I think your hearing limitations despite state of the art technology are more a brain thing than an ear thing. I don't think you are spending sufficient time training your brain to hear with your instruments. It's a HUGE part of hearing successfully.
Anyway, happy holidays.

Bilateral ci and insurance coverage

Medicare will cover only one cochlear implant.
The same is true of much private insurance, including some coverage for young children.
Read about Yahushua van Schalkwyk on Facebook, and donate to the fundraising campaign to raise enough money for a second implant for this little boy.
You're lucky to have the Naida. If I wanted one, it would cost me $10,000 to upgrade.
Also, we really shouldn't comment on others' ability to hear. We all hear differently. We all experience correction with hearing aids and cochlear implants differently.
Your experience sounds good. Congratulations. Enjoy it. But don't blame me for not being able to hear as well as you do.

A Touching Side to Hearing Loss

Katherine, I was moved by your personal experience of hearing loss. I am one of the people who helped in the initial fundraising for a first cochlear hearing implant for little Yahushua through 'Yahushua's Journey' on Facebook. This was a huge learning curve for me...to fully understand the impact of hearing loss as it relates to ones understanding the confusing pantomime of the silent world around you. Everyone else seems to be on the same page, going in the same direction...unless you cannot hear. As much as I know all this now, I was so very touched by you sharing how Christmas will be for you. I'm not sure why it brought me to tears...it sounds like you are surrounded by a very loving family...but knowing that the happy jibber jabber of family reconnecting with each other is out of your easy grasp, that the laughter and jokes and verbal connection eludes your hearing. It seems a shame that the medical profession will work at fixing a heart, a liver, a leg, a broken tooth, a damaged eye, a worn knee joint, but not make the effort to attempt to fully cover and restore hearing. That is left for money to solve, not medical compassion or consideration.

I hope the Steve Jobs of hearing technology is out there right now, creating, designing and championing on behalf of everyone with a hearing impairment.

But for now, I wish you a lovely holiday filled with love and blessings, and know that you will see the joy and happy antics of your dear family.

Free upgrades every 5 years

I don't know how long you've had your current processor but upgrades are free every five years - so, if you've already had it for say, 3 years, you can get the Naida in two more.

I am part of a cochlear implant support group (ages 30s-70s) and find that a lot of what you write in this blog does not jive with our experiences. Most of us have been able to get second implants without paying out of pocket. Others are hearing very well with just one. We have upgraded our processors every five years without paying. And we by and large feel that Steve Jobs would be very impressed with the technology, especially the noise-drowning programs like ClearVoice (Advanced Bionics).

I would just hate people to read your blog and think that CIs basically suck and are not worth it. For a lot of us they have been miracles.

cochlear implants

I've never said cochlear implants suck -- and I never would. What I have said is that I love my cochlear implant. I just wish it allowed me to hear a bit more.

My primary issue is with hearing aids, and I think you will find very few users who will defend the way they work, the way they are sold, the cost, the lack of insurance coverage. But I would never say that was a reason not to get one. It IS a reason for the hearing aid industry to make some consumer friendly changes, and for the insurance industry to realize that not reimbursing for hearing aids will come back to haunt them when they have to pay far more to treat the conditions that untreated hearing loss can cause.

I plan to get another cochlear implant in the coming year. I'm really looking forward to it. I plan to get a Naida. And I won't have to pay for it. Even though Medicare will pay for only one implant, it didn't pay for my first one. So I'm eligible.

There's one thing you don't know and that is that I had total hearing loss in the c.i. ear for almost 20 years before I got a c.i. (and partial hearing loss for 10 years before that ) For the vast majority of that time, it was not correctable by a hearing aid. And I was not eligible for a cochlear implant because the hearing in my right ear was only moderate. Until quite recently, the FDA approved cochlear implants only for those with bilateral profound hearing loss.
The longer the speech pathways in your brain go unused the harder it is to relearn to hear. You must know that. That's why in cases of sudden hearing loss, ENT's recommend a c.i. as quickly as possible. And that's why we practice with our c.i.'s and that why we do rehab. Because we have to train those speech pathways to learn to recognize language again.

Meanwhile ,I'll repeat what I said in the last comment:
Everyone hears differently and everyone experiences hearing loss differently. We should not judge other's success or lack of it.

There's lot of room for improvement in this area and we should all be working to make things better for people with hearing loss.

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Katherine Bouton, a former editor at The New York Times, is the author of Shouting Won't Help: Why I—and 50 Million Other Americans—Can't Hear You.

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