I’ve started this post twice now and it has morphed into something else… Let’s try again.
There are lots of reasons to get a cochlear implant. There are also many people who will be happy to go on and on about the reasons not to get one, or more specifically why you shouldn’t get one for your 12 month old child. I’m not getting into that. This is about My reasons.
As I said in the last post, I had a CI evaluation done about two years ago and decided not to do it. Why?
Well, I am getting by quite well just as things are now thank you very much.
Big reason number one has to do with that too. A cochlear implant will destroy any residual hearing you have left. If I’m getting by fine now, why would I make such a permanent change?
Reason number two goes like this:
“I have but a mere ten electrons that replace the 180,000 some hair cells that at one time did the job of firing sound at my auditory nerves.” - David at Five String Guitar (but not the first time I’ve seen that thought expressed)
Research is slowly unraveling how the ears work. Hearing aids are no where near as effective as glasses are. Cochlear implants are even more mysterious.
Another reason, that middle-ear-implant I wrote about before. It doesn’t use a microphone, it is totally implantable. I don’t care about invisible, but waterproof sure is nice! They are trying to get it to work with a cochlear implant eventually.
Another reason, stem cell research. They should have a cure for deafness in the next 15-20 years or so. What if getting a CI damages your ear so much that you can’t benefit from this?
My biggest reason though is that I’m a musician. I started playing alto saxophone in 5th grade and played for four years before I lost my hearing. I am still playing now. I play in a band weekly and for the last year I’ve also been playing in a saxophone septet. It’s a hobby that requires a commitment so I try to go to rehearsals whenever I can. I listen to music in the car on the way to and from work. I truly enjoy music. What if a CI makes it sound awful? I’ve heard that it’s hard to even recognize different notes on a piano, how would I ever be able to tune?
Just recently I was looking into new technology known as a Hybrid Cochlear Implant. The technical name is “Acoustic-Electrical Stimulation”. The idea is that a short electrode is used for the CI that doesn’t damage low frequency hearing. Thus you can use the CI for the high frequencies and use the hearing aid for the low frequencies. The benefit may be a more natural sound. It’s still in FDA trials.
I sent an email to the company, Med-El, to ask about their trials. One more surprise waited for me in their answer. They told me that my hearing loss was too profound for even a hybrid CI.
Once again I’m wondering, am I really That deaf?