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SWC Online Voices

September 2009

Ask the Audiologist

by Olga Lish

Question:
I have been activated 6 months. I have to turn down both S and V on my everyday program in order to tolerate environmental sounds, especially sounds of lawnmowers and even vehicles passing by. Sometimes it sounds as if they are in my house. I informed my mapper audiologist of this but she does not seem willing to try to do a map whereby I would be more comfortable. All she says is to turn down the settings a "little". Well I have to turn them down a lot. Also setting for noise is no different sounding than everyday setting. I am thinking of looking for a different mapper. Would this be a good idea? Oh by the way I have the Nucleus Freedom.
Bobbie

Olga:
Dear Bobbie, congratulations on getting your CI activated! As you know, getting used to the new type of stimulation is oftentimes challenging and may seem overwhelming. Gradual increases in loudness are typically recommended. With the Nucleus Freedom you have the capacity for four different programs. You probably should ask your audiologist to create four different programs of increasing loudness so that you can get used to the input a little more gradually. Based on your specific example of environmental sounds appearing as if they are inside your house, it appears that your sensitivity setting is too high for you. You can try lowering your sensitivity setting while leaving the volume setting alone. That way sounds that are closest to you will be perceived louder than those further away. As far as changing audiologists, you want to find someone who is experienced and who you are comfortable with. It is important to be heard when you describe your listening experiences, and itís essential to have an audiologist who is able to set realistic expectations regarding your progress. Good luck with your CI journey.


Question:
What can you tell us about the Hybrid cochlear implant? Who qualifies for it? Whatís the difference between a CI and the Hybrid implant?

Olga:
Hybrid cochlear implant technology is designed to help patients with high-pitch hearing loss who need more than a traditional hearing aid. With this technology patients will wear both a digital hearing aid coupled with the new Hybrid cochlear implant and speech processor. These technologies are working together in the same ear to improve speech perception for patients by combining conventional digital amplification and electrical stimulation of the auditory system. Traditional cochlear implants bypass damaged hair cells in the inner ear, providing useful hearing and improved communication to those with severe to profound hearing loss in both ears and who receive little or no benefit from hearing aids. The new Hybrid cochlear implant is designed for patients with normal or near-normal hearing in the low-pitch range and severe to profound loss in the high pitch range. Patients who are considered candidates for this new device do not benefit sufficiently from hearing aids.

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