Bionic Ears a Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants

Bionic Ears a Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
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BIONIC EAR ASSOCIATION
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BIONIC EAR BASICS
A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
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By Advanced Bionics
HEAR BETTER, Make Stronger Connections
a wondrous journey
There are many steps on the path to making a decision to
receive cochlear implants for you or a loved one. It’s an exciting,
life-changing journey. While each journey is unique, they all
share one common goal—better hearing:
Hearing that allows you to more fully experience and understand
intimate conversations, important lessons, exhilarating music,
and all the beautiful sounds and noises that make up life’s
rich soundtrack.
Hearing that can improve your connections with family, friends,
and colleagues and help you excel at work or school.
Hearing that contributes to an overall increased enjoyment of life.
Advanced Bionics has been part of the hearing journey for tens
of thousands of families and individuals worldwide. To help you
along your journey, AB has designed this guide to provide you
with easy-to-understand information on cochlear implants and
to highlight the steps to better hearing.
As you read on, it’s only natural that you’ll have questions. That’s
why AB created the Bionic Ear Association (BEA), a support
network of recipients, parents, and professionals who offer
assistance by providing you and your loved ones with information,
education, and guidance. Through the BEA’s mentoring program,
you can directly connect with another cochlear implant recipient
or parent who can assist you in navigating the process of choosing
and living with cochlear implants. You can find out more about
the BEA and its mentoring program on page 10.
Let the journey begin!
Hearing that gives you a better enjoyment of life
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BIONIC EAR BASICS A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
Bionic EAr BAsics A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
3
hearing Loss and Cochlear Implants
The Normal Hearing Process
Before you can fully understand how cochlear
When any part of this delicate system is damaged, hearing loss can result. For adults, hearing loss, whether sudden
implants work, it’s helpful to first have a basic
or progressive, can cause frustration, isolation, even depression. It can do the same to a child, as well as impact the
understanding of how normal hearing works:
ability to learn and speak, causing the child to fall behind in his or her development. But for people of all ages, cochlear
implants may help end the isolation from hearing loss by bringing the world of sound back into his or her life.
1
The
outer ear collects sound waves that pass
through the air.
2
The sound waves vibrate the eardrum and the
three tiny bones (hammer, anvil, and stirrup) in
the middle ear.
3
This vibration moves the tiny hairs of the sensory
cells in the inner ear, or cochlea; sensory cells
convert the vibrations to an electrical signal that
is sent to the hearing nerve.
4
he signal travels up the nerve and into the
T
brain, where it is interpreted as sound.
4
3
2
1
In this cross-section of the cochlea, you can see
how the bones in the middle ear (far right) vibrate
the tiny hairs of the sensory cells in the inner ear
(center). These vibrations are then converted
to an electrical signal that is sent through the
hearing nerve to the brain (far left).
When any part of this delicate system is damaged, hearing loss can result
4
BIONIC EAR BASICS A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
Bionic EAr BAsics A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
5
hearing loss and cochlear implants
What Is a Cochlear Implant?
How Does a Cochlear Implant Work?
A cochlear implant is an electronic device that allows many
people who’ve experienced hearing loss to hear better. For
those who’ve never heard before, many experience hearing
for the very first time. It’s different and more effective than a
hearing aid, which merely amplifies incoming sound to make it
loud enough for an impaired ear to hear.
A cochlear implant consists of two main components. An
external component, called the sound processor, is worn on the
outer ear or on the body. It gathers sound with a microphone
and processes that sound into digital information, which is
transmitted to an implant under your skin.
Using state-of-the-art technology, a cochlear implant bypasses
the damaged part of an ear and sends electrical signals
directly to the brain via the hearing nerve. Cochlear implants
are currently the only medical technology able to functionally
restore one of the five senses, causing many physicians to refer
to cochlear implants as “technological miracles.”
An internal component, which is an implant with an electrode
array, converts the digital information from the sound processor
into electrical signals and delivers them to an electrode array.
The electrode array stimulates the hearing nerve, which sends
signals up to the brain where they’re interpreted as sound.
Hearing with a Cochlear Implant
1
3
Sound is captured by a microphone on the
sound processor.
2
he sound processor converts sound into
T
detailed digital information.
3
he magnetic headpiece sends the digital
T
signals to the implant.
4
he electrode array on the implant sends
T
electrical signals to the hearing nerve.
5
he hearing nerve sends impulses to the brain,
T
where they are interpreted as sound.
4
2
5
1
Cochlear implants bypass the damaged part of the ear and send electrical signals to the brain
Sound Processor with T-Mic® Microphone
6
BIONIC EAR BASICS A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
Implant with Electrode Array
Close-Up of Electrode Array
Bionic EAr BAsics A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
7
choosing cochlear implants
Are Cochlear Implants Right for You?
For many people with mild to moderate hearing loss, hearing aids
are a viable, less-intrusive solution for improved hearing. But if
you or your loved has a severe to profound hearing loss, cochlear
implants may be a much more effective alternative. That’s because,
if your inner ear is not functioning correctly or has suffered extensive
damage, it doesn’t matter how much conventional hearing aids
amplify sound—you simply won’t hear it.
Cochlear implants bypass the inner ear and send sound directly
to the hearing nerve. So even if your inner ear is damaged,
sound still gets to your brain, where it’s heard and understood.
You hear music, conversation, crowd noise—whatever the
sound processor’s microphone picks up!
Many recipients of AB’s cochlear implants report being able
to hear clearly even in noisy environments like restaurants or
sporting event venues. They also state that they can clearly
hear music and conversations over electronic devices like MP3
players, mobile phones, and airline headsets.
Are You a Candidate for Cochlear Implants?
I have difficulty following conversations without lip reading.
Yes
No
I hear pretty well in quiet environments but struggle in noisy
Yes
No
environments or when in a group.
I cannot follow most telephone conversations, especially if I
don’t know the person calling.
Yes
No
I feel isolated and limited, both socially and occupationally,
because of my hearing loss.
Yes
No
If you answered “Yes” to any of these statements, you may
benefit from cochlear implants.
Are Cochlear Implants Right for Your Child?
Children begin learning to speak from the day they’re born. By
age three, they need to hear approximately 30,000 words a day
to develop the language skills necessary to succeed in school.
This need to hear language strongly reinforces the importance
of early implantation in children with deafness or hearing loss
who would benefit from cochlear implants.1
For children one year of age or older who have profound hearing
loss and are not receiving enough benefit from conventional
hearing aids, cochlear implants represent a better alternative.
They need to hear the words, inflections, and patterns essential
for developing strong speech skills. Because cochlear implants
allow many children to hear better in the classroom, implanted
children get the same opportunity for academic success as their
fellow students with normal hearing.
1. Hart B, Risley TR. (1995) Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young
American Children. Brooks Publishing Co, Inc., Baltimore, MD.
Is Your Child a Candidate for Cochlear Implants?
Does your child have delayed speech and language development as a result of his or her hearing loss?
Yes
No
Does your child rarely respond to his or her name?
Yes
No
Does your child avoid social interaction or lack the appropriate
Yes
No
skills to interact with other children or adults?
Do you have concerns about your child’s ability to hear speech
in noisy environments?
Yes
No
Do you have concerns about your child’s ability to participate
and succeed in school with normal-hearing peers?
Yes
No
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, your child
may benefit from cochlear implants.
To find out if you or your child are a candidate for cochlear implants, contact the Bionic Ear Association
at 866.844.HEAR (4327) or visit their website at www.BionicEar.com
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BIONIC EAR BASICS A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
Bionic EAr BAsics A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
9
Choosing the Right Cochlear implant
Selecting which cochlear implant is right for you is a significant
decision. For something as critical as your ability to hear, you
don’t want to compromise on quality or performance. You need
the most technologically advanced, best-performing cochlear
implant available. You need a reliable company you can count
on to be by your side each step of the implantation process;
one with a proven track record of success for tens of thousands
around the world. You need the Harmony® HiResolution® Bionic
Ear System from AB.
Only Harmony uses the most sophisticated technology to
deliver the clearest, highest-resolution sound. With Harmony,
you or your loved one hears the details that make the world
of sound so rich—the singing of birds, the nuances of a
conversation, the complexities and layers of a piece of music,
and so much more. By choosing AB, an industry leader since
1993 and the only U.S. manufacturer of cochlear implants,
you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing AB is there for you today,
tomorrow, or whenever you need us.
AB is your best choice for the most advanced cochlear implant available
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BIONIC EAR BASICS A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
Selecting which cochlear implant is right for you is a significant decision
The World of Hearing Awaits
Every journey, no matter how large or small, begins with a first step. You’ve
already taken the first step by reading this brochure. All of us at AB and the BEA
encourage you to continue your journey. There’s a world of sound full of better
understanding, stronger connections, and increased opportunities awaiting you
or your loved one.
“ I would like to thank you for everything you have done for me—starting with the
process of evaluation for a cochlear implant, helping me cope with all the worry,
and thinking about me at the time of the operation. I am so grateful for having you
beside me on my quest for better hearing!”
—Gilad Borisovsky, implanted at age 23
“When we were researching cochlear implants, we wanted to learn as much as we
could about the long-term viability of the companies making the implants. We chose
Advanced Bionics because we liked their electronics best, they were developing
new products faster—and their growth potential was the most impressive.”
—Margene Bolingbroke, mother of Nathan,
Nathan was implanted at age 4; bilaterally implanted at age 8
AB will be there to help you through every step of your hearing journey
Bionic EAr BAsics A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
11
frequently asked questions
1. How do cochlear implants differ from hearing aids? Hearing aids are
designed to simply amplify sound, not necessarily to make it any clearer or
easier to understand. For many people with severe to profound hearing loss,
hearing aids are not enough to compensate for a damaged ear’s inability
to adequately hear. Cochlear implants actually bypass the damaged
part of the ear, sending sound directly to the hearing nerve, where it’s
then relayed to the brain. Most cochlear implant recipients demonstrate
tremendous improvement in their ability to understand speech, even in noisy
environments, compared to hearing-aid wearers.
AB’s Harmony HiResolution Bionic Ear System (Harmony) first gathers
the sound at a higher resolution than other implants (making it clearer)
and then amplifies it before sending it to your hearing nerve. So Harmony
recipients hear a wider range of sounds and speech with greater clarity in
virtually any environment.
2. Will my insurance cover the cost of cochlear implants? The cost of
the cochlear implant system and surgery are covered by many insurance
providers, including public health insurance providers like Medicare and
Medicaid. Replacement parts and/or repairs may also be covered; however,
not all policies, even though they may have covered the initial surgery and
cochlear implant system, cover repairs or replacement parts. Please contact
your insurance provider for the specifics of your particular plan. If you
have questions about insurance procedures, please contact the Insurance
& Reimbursement Specialists at [email protected] or
877.779.0229.
3. Which ear should be implanted? If you are getting only one cochlear
implant, there are many factors to consider in deciding which ear to implant.
Some prefer to implant their poorer-hearing ear so that they can use a
hearing aid in their other, better-hearing ear. Others decide to implant their
better-hearing ear, hoping for a better result. Other factors come into play,
including surgical considerations of each ear’s anatomy, length of deafness
12
BIONIC EAR BASICS A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
in each ear, or just general preference. Your cochlear implant team will
advise you regarding their recommendations based on your specific case. If
both ears have an equal chance of success, you may have the ultimate say
in choosing which ear to implant.
“I chose to have mine put in my left ear because that was my stronger ear
in the days when I could still hear with the help of hearing aids—implanting
the left ear would let me hear through the side I was accustomed to using,”
says Michael Chorost, 42, an educator, technology expert, and writer from
San Francisco, California, USA.
4. Should I get a cochlear implant in both of my ears? People with hearing
loss in both ears sometimes get a cochlear implant in both of their ears
at the same time. This is called “simultaneous implantation,” and it’s done
to achieve bilateral hearing (hearing in both ears). Bilateral hearing is the
way normal hearing works, and it offers several advantages over unilateral
hearing (hearing with one ear), including better sound localization (the
ability to better locate the direction from which sound is coming) and
improved hearing in noisy environments. Many recipients need, or choose
to get, only one cochlear implant. Others choose to get a second implant at
a later date (sequential implantation), after first experiencing life with one
implant for awhile.
To find out if bilateral hearing is an option for you or your child, contact the
Bionic Ear Association at 866.844.HEAR (4327).
5. If I get a cochlear implant, can I still wear my hearing aid? Yes. Many
people choose to continue to wear a hearing aid in the non-implanted ear.
Continuing to use your hearing aid in the other ear may help you hear better
in noisy environments and assist you in localizing sound.
6. What is the surgery like? Cochlear implant surgery is relatively simple and
minimally invasive. In most cases, surgery can be done on an outpatient
basis. The actual operation generally takes two to four hours, with additional
For answers to any of your questions, call the BEA at 866.844.HEAR (4327)
time in the preparation and recovery areas, because the surgery is done
under general anesthesia.
During the surgery, the doctor first makes an incision in the skin behind
the ear to access the area where the implant will be placed and where the
implant electrode will be inserted. Typically, a small area of hair is shaved
away from the incision site. The doctor makes a place for the implant on the
bone under the incision. Then, the electrode is inserted into the tiny cochlea.
The doctor finishes by closing the incision and applying a bandage. Most
people recover quickly from the surgery, and many are surprised by how
little postoperative pain there is.
7. What happens after surgery? Depending on your situation and your
doctor’s preference, you may go home the same day or spend the night in
the hospital. You should be provided with post-surgery guidelines, including
bathing and bandage treatment instructions, medication procedures, and
possible activity restrictions. Adults often return to work or typical daily
activities within a few days after surgery. You will likely experience the postsurgery roller coaster of “hurry up and wait.” Activation of the cochlear
implant typically takes place three to five weeks after surgery, depending
on how you heal. Then, once it’s turned on, the steady, rich flow of sound to
your brain will begin.
Usually, initial stimulation of your cochlear implant will take place in
your audiologist’s office. First, your audiologist will test the implant with a
computer to make sure it is working correctly. Next, the audiologist will create
a customized set of listening programs for your implant’s external processor.
This initial session—the process is known as programming—will vary for
different cochlear implant centers. Follow-up programming and training
sessions are typically scheduled in the weeks and months following the
initial session. Long-term, adults typically have annual check-ups; younger
children generally require more frequent check-ups.
8. Cochlear implant technology seems to advance rapidly—should I wait
for newer technology? Young children need immediate access to sound
to develop strong speech and language skills. So time is of the essence,
and professionals typically recommend implantation as early as possible.
Many adults wish they had not waited so long after they became deaf to
experience the life-changing benefits of cochlear implants. In this age of
rapidly advancing technology, there’s usually something new coming down
the pipeline. That is why it is important, when choosing cochlear implants,
to consider the technological capability for upgrades without additional
surgery. Therefore, you can enjoy tomorrow’s advanced technology in an
implant you choose today.
9. How well will I hear with cochlear implants? The details of each person’s
hearing loss are different, and so is every person’s unique journey to better
hearing. The hearing potential of you or your child with cochlear implants is
dependent upon a number of biological factors, including:
• How old you or your child was when hearing loss began
• How long you or your child has been hearing impaired
• How old you or your child is when you get implanted
• The medical health of your or your child’s inner ear
• Other medical conditions that could affect you or your child’s hearing
It’s important to understand that better hearing through cochlear implants is
a process, not an instant fix. Just as those with normal hearing had to learn
to hear as children, so too must you or your child learn to hear again—or for
the first time—with cochlear implants. Every person who receives cochlear
implants should expect to make continual progress. How much progress,
and how rapidly, you or your child progresses depends on three factors:
(1) the technology used, (2) individual biology, and (3) the education and
rehabilitation effort after implantation. Your results will be uniquely yours, so
it is important to choose a cochlear implant that best meets your needs.
Bionic EAr BAsics A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
13
the next steps of your journey
Learn more about how Harmony can change your life or the life
of your child. To help you learn more, AB has created the Bionic Ear
Association (BEA), a support network of recipients, parents, and professionals who offer assistance by providing you and your loved ones
with information, education, and guidance. The process is easy, and we’ll make it even easier by
helping you with each and every step.
2. Learn more about life with cochlear implants by connecting with a
recipient. Contact the BEA at 866.844.HEAR (4327)
today and
request a personal mentor or connect online at
www.BionicEar.com.
3. Ask for a FREE DVD and brochure, Getting Ready for a Bionic Ear. AB believes the more you know, the more
comfortable you will feel.
That’s why it developed this informative
DVD that explains the surgical process, what to do to prepare yourself,
and what to expect in
the recovery process and during initial
stimulation. For a copy of this free DVD, contact the BEA by calling
866.844.HEAR (4327),
visiting the BEA’s website at www.BionicEar.com, or sending an email
to [email protected]
Call the Bionic Ear Association at 866.844.HEAR (4372) or email the BEA at [email protected]
It’s EASY to CONTACT
One of the best resources for learning more about what
to expect on your journey to better hearing is a person
who’s gone through the process and can relate to what
you’re going through now. Through the BEA’s mentoring
program, you can directly connect with another
cochlear implant recipient or parent who can assist you
in navigating the process of choosing and living with
cochlear implants.
the Bionic Ear Association
Want to learn more about life with a cochlear
implant or the Harmony HiResolution Bionic Ear
System by AB?
• Call the Bionic Ear Association Hotline (866.844.HEAR)
The BEA hotline is staffed by experienced cochlear
implant audiologists who can answer your questions,
provide support, and connect you with a recipient
volunteer to be your personal mentor.
Just complete this postage-paid card and drop it
into any mailbox. A representative from the Bionic
Ear Association will contact you.
• Connect with a Mentor Online (www.BionicEar.com)
Read the stories and profiles of many Bionic Ear
recipients who volunteer as personal mentors. From
these profiles, you can select one or more mentors who
you feel might best understand your own experience.
Once you’ve identified a mentor, or mentors, it’s easy to
initiate an online communication.
Address:_ _____________________________________
• Join the Hearing Journey Online Community
(www.HearingJourney.com) Share your own experience
with other recipients and candidates.
Telephone:_ ___________________________________
• Find a BEA Chapter or Local Seminar/Event
(www.BionicEar.com) You can meet recipients in your
region who will help you learn more about life with
a bionic ear. Make new friends with whom you can
share your journey.
14
BIONIC EAR BASICS A Journey to Choosing Cochlear Implants
Name:________________________________________
City:__________________________________________
State/Zip Code:________________________________
Country:_ _____________________________________
Email Address:_________________________________
GLUE AREA
To get started, simply:
1. Discover if you are a candidate by checking with a
qualified audiologist and your insurance company. To locate a
center
near you, and/or to find support for insurance authorization,
contact the BEA at 866.844.HEAR (4327) or visit
their website at
www.BionicEar.com for a list of
clinics worldwide.
MAKE a CONNECTION
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