When a person receives a cochlear implant, that’s not the end of it. Getting the cochlear implant inserted is the easy part. The hard part comes in Rehabilitation therapy, which includes speech and listening therapy tailored based on the patient’s background.
A cochlear implant won’t magically help a person hear on the phone and hear the words on the radio. That might happen for those who postlingually deaf (deaf after learning speech/language). Anyone considering a cochlear implant needs to be prepared to invest time and money (some insurance companies pay for all or some of the therapy) into therapy to make the most of the cochlear implant.
This decision requires a lot of investigation and research before pursuing the cochlear implant. I looked into it for over a year before my surgery (this post lists some of the resources I used — I don’t remember where I researched beyond that.). I signed up for cochlear implant discussion groups, talked to those who received a cochlear implant and had a background similar to mine, and met with the doctor several times. Don’t let the doctor be the sole driving force for your decision because some doctors, unfortunately, will give anyone a cochlear implant.
Not everyone qualifies for LASIK (eye) surgery. I did, but my husband didn’t based on the amount of astigmatism he has. Had the doctor told him to go ahead and have LASIK, we would’ve learned the hard way about the effects of astigmatism on LASIK. While the surgery can help those with astigmatism, people with astigmatism have a higher risk factor for retreatment according to this medical report. eMedicine also states, “Astigmatism, like myopia or hyperopia, can decrease visual acuity. However, astigmatism is much more complex because it has both magnitude and orientation. Thus, it is more difficult to correct in spectacles, contact lenses, or surgery than are spherical forms of refractive error.”
Similarly, some people with cochlear malformations aren’t considered good candidates for a cochlear implant. Other reasons exist, but this one is an example of an ear problem where the patient may not benefit at all from a cochlear implant.
The “rehab” part of receiving a CI is exactly why I do not consider getting one. I live a good 2 hours away through mountains and some heavy traffic from where I would need to go for mapping, etc. I think the CI might be alot more popular if it wasn’t for all the traveling it involves.
Lantana, Lantana’s Latitude
Also, I am not sure I would have the patience it takes.
But it is very interesting to hear about those people who have received one.
Lantana, you’re right that it requires patience. I live in a major city and yet, I have to drive to the far part of town and try to make my appointments in the middle of the day otherwise traffic is killer. Remember that cochlear implants require programming — something hearing aids don’t deal with (some digital ones may, but not to the extent of a CI). I never look forward to these trips.
My speech therapist is wonderful and conveniently located. Unfortunately, I’m too overwhelmed to go on a regular basis.