Thursday, June 4, 2009

Questions Answered

Most of my friends, family, and loyal readers of this blog know that I've been worrying, ok more like stressing, about what to do with Christian's other ear. On Christian's 1st Hearing Birthday, our questions were answered.

In addition to tweaking his MAPs a bit, Christian also had two audiograms done. One measured his hearing with his CI ear only, and the other measured his hearing with his hearing aid ear only. We learned that with his CI, he was hearing between 25-20db across all frequencies (remember, this kid has a PROFOUND hearing loss in that ear!!!) With his aid, we showed responses in the lower frequencies at 35 and in the high frequencies at 50.

Wow.

Christian then had some speech perception testing done. With his CI ear only, he tested at 96% accuracy (go buddy go!) and with his hearing aid ear only, he tested at 75% accuracy.

Wow.

So, what do all these numbers mean? Well, ends up that Christian's aid is doing much more than we thought it was. We know that he has a considerable amount of residual hearing in his aided ear, and it now performs in a moderate hearing loss range. We now know that Christian's left ear, with these test results, is too good to be implanted with a CI.

Here's what the experts say on staying bimodal:

"Specifically, the lower frequencies provided by the hearing aid can provide information about the fundamental frequencies
of a talker’s voice and vowel information, while the mid- and high-frequency information from the cochlear implant can
provide information needed on manner and place of articulation of consonants.It has also been suggested that localization ability, sound quality, and music perception may be enhanced by bimodal devices compared with bilateral cochlear implants." (Hearing aids plus cochlear implants: Optimizing the bimodal pediatric fitting, Steven A. Huart and Carol A. Sammeth, The Hearing Journal, NOVEMBER 2008 • VOL. 61 • NO. 11)

Can you tell I've spent countless hours trolling the internet for information on this?

While I am so happy to finally have some answers and a clearer picture of where we will be going with Christian these next couple of years, I still feel a bit unsettled. I have been inundated with information on the benefits of bilateral cochlear implants, and see how well both pediatric and adult patients do with them. On the flip-side, I've also collected some first-hand stories from bimodal users and know that model works as well. I know that Christian will do well regardless of what he has in his left ear. He is my superstar, and he is amazed all of us with just how well he is doing.

3 comments:

Val said...

go Christian, hey that sounds great. He's doing well enough to wait.....all you can do is watch and wait. The great thing is that he can keep it aided so if he ever does need a ci in that ear, the transition may be smoother having kept that nerve stimulated.....go boy go!

The Pink Totebag said...

I totally agree with Val. It sounds like he is making too much progress at this point to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. It seems to me that, just as you decided with the ear that you decided to have implanted, you need to be sure that he is at the point where his aided ear has maxed out its true potential (and allowed time for him to develop the skills needed to use it to the best of its ability) before you can truly know whether that is a step that you feel it would be wise to take. As you've told me time and again, there's a real benefit in certain situations for him to have the aid over the CI. It's just good to know officially that he's actually able to hear with it! What a wonderful dilemma it is to have options, though. Amazing.

tammy said...

Wow Christina! Christian is doing so well! This is amazing! You all are doing such a wonderful job "teaching" both ears to hear. We had to decide pretty quickly between bimodal/bilateral, and were really torn. I think if Aiden's aided hearing was down to 35db, we would have definitely gone the bimodal route too! Know you are doing all you can (like you said - WOW!) and feel good about this decision. Christian is a rockstar and only time will tell if he'll need that second CI. Like Val said, if that time does come, at least Christian has had such good use from his aid, that a transition to a CI may be smoother. And I'm sure you will be all over it if that time ever comes!