Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Second (bilateral) Implant Insurance Approval - 1/30/2008

I just got off the phone with Blue Cross of Mass. They pulled up Nichole's records, and confirmed that an implant for her left ear would be covered 100%. Look out bilateral hearing, here she comes!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Audiologist agrees with Nichole going Bilateral - 1/29/2008

I received an e-mail reply from Nichole's audiologist at Children's Hospital Boston (Marilyn) regarding Nichole wanting to get her left ear implanted this summer (1 year after her right was done).

I see no reason why Nichole can't get a 2nd CI and in fact it's a great idea.  She just has to be prepared how
quiet things will be with her ear gear off (she may hear a few loud sounds now.)

I had to go to Nichole's High School at lunch time to check her FM transmitter (it was having some issues). After dealing with that, I told her what Marilyn said in the e-mail. Nichole's face lit right up! You would have thought I told her she won the lottery. Now I just have to check with Blue Cross of Mass to ensure it will be covered.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Decision on second (bilateral) implant - 1/28/2008

Unbeknownst to me, Nichole has been doing a lot of thinking about getting her second ear implanted. 
She loves her CI, but at first, she thought she would wait until the summer of 2009 to get the left done.
That would have been a two year delay following the first implantation.

On her own, she has been doing experiments in different settings over the past few months, enabling only her
hearing aid (left) or CI (right) to compare the benefits/drawbacks of each
. Her basic comment is that with
just her hearing aid, she can't really understand many of the words her teachers are
saying (even with the FM).
If watching TV, she only gets about 1 word every few minutes. With her implant
only, she understands almost
all of what the teachers are saying, and is able to understand TV shows quite a
bit (though she still uses the
captioning). The *only* thing about her hearing aid that she lists as a Pro, is that
if her teacher is wearing the
FM transmitter, and has left it on while conferring with another student, thus
disturbing Nichole, she can flick
a switch on her Hearing Aid's microlink to kill the FM input. Conversely, the only
Con in the CI column (and yes,
she made a Pro/Con table :-) ), is that there is no way to shut off the FM input
on the Freedom receiver. This
would be a good piece of feedback for either the Phonak rep, or the Cochlear
rep - allow the wearer to easily
shut off the FM input while still using the processor's mike. I passed this to
Nichole's audiologist, who told me
what sequence of buttons to push to disable the FM input. While not as
easy as flicking a single switch, like
with her hearing aid boot, it should be a usable option.

Driving home from one of Nichole's last driver's ed class (yes, she is eligible to get her learner's permit in just
another week!) , Nichole informed me that she wants to have her left side implanted right after she gets out of
school at the end of this year (June 2008), similar to what she did just six months ago. Time to start talking
with the team at Children's Boston to start the process!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ski Racing with a CI - 1/15/2008

This is Nichole's second year racing for her High School Alpine ski team, thought the first with her CI. I asked Nichole how the CI worked, what with wearing a ski helmet and all. She said it was *much* better than her hearing aids. She can hear a lot more, especially because she doesn't get any feedback with the CI. Last year, she would turn the volume down on her two hearing aids, to keep them from whistling. Now, since she can hear so much with the CI, she simply is turning off her hearing aid and relying completely on the CI!