I owe a post that discusses EAS (electrical acoustic stimulation) and my CI journey so far.Â When I discussed my reasons for visiting UNC Chapel Hill (almost 4 hours from home) with the surgeon there we agreed that since I came that far seeking information about “hearing preservation” that we should go that route.Â By that point I wasn’t sure I really cared much about preserving hearing in my worse (right) ear, I just knew I wanted to benefit from a CI.Â I was surprised that the fact that I did not qualify for the MedEl hybrid CI trial didn’t mean we couldn’t try for hearing preservation and electric-acoustic stimulation as the end result.
How does that work?Â Well aparently MedEl has another electrode that is already FDA approved that allows a chance for hearing to be preserved.Â I’d get that electrode with their normal CI implant and normal processor.Â Then if a new hearing test showed that I still had usable low-frequency hearing I could wear a hearing aid too.Â So if that happens I may be in the market for an in the ear hearing aid.Â In the mean time I think I can wear the MedEl ‘sports’ processor that pins to your shoulder along with my current BTE.
This article has a good summary of EAS. http://www.asha.org/about/publications/leader-online/archives/2007/071016/f071016c.htm
So is this other electrode going to prohibit from full use of the CI?Â Probably not really.Â It just isn’t the extra long electrode that MedEl normally uses.
Hearing preservation with a cochlear implant is also possible with a conventional long electrode array. It had been assumed that any residual hearing in the implanted ear would be sacrificed due to surgical trauma; however, in some instances, this is no longer the case. Increasingly skilled surgeons employing soft surgical techniquesâ€”which may include a smaller cochleostomy or round window insertion and more careful electrode insertionâ€”with thinner electrode arrays and/or perimodiolar electrodes (which also may allow for a relatively atraumatic cochlear insertion) have all helped contribute to hearing preservation with standard cochlear implants.
That article also mentions using a BAHA type hearing aid after a CI. Interesting.Â Not sure my better ear is good enough to bother with that.Â There’s an article about that here.
Time to get back to work.Â Playing catch up on everything after a week out of town.