Six-years of hearing with bilateral implants

February 12th, 2010 by | Tags: , , | 4 Comments »

It’s been almost six years since I’ve been hearing out of both ears.  I thought about writing this post when someone emailed me asking me about the benefits of bilateral implantation.  While I have talked over the years about the benefits of having two implants verses one, there are a few recent scenarios that made me realize that having two implants is making a huge difference.

Last semester, when I was studying abroad in France, on a regular basis I was eating in the dining hall where the atmosphere was very noisy.  One day, I noticed that I was not really outgoing, talkative, and being part of the conversation at the table, or I would have a conversation with only the people who were sitting directly across from me or next to me.  I then realized that it was because I had only one implant on, which was my original implanted ear.  At subsequent meals, I made sure that I had both implants on, and it was night and day.  I could hear clearly what everyone was saying and felt that I was really engaged in the discussion. For instance, if the person was sitting three chairs from me, I could overhear clearly what the person was saying without focusing on the person and was able to just shout out my response.

As someone who was big on using assistive listening devices in classrooms, I have not been using them in the past several semesters because having both implants has been allowing me to hear at a wide range of distance and to be able to easily grasp what all of my classmates are saying during class discussions.  I also raise the sensitivity on my processors which increases the dynamic range which is extremely beneficial for classroom and conference settings. I have to say that not always needing to use an assistive listening device in the classroom is certainly making my life easier as I don’t have to worry about dragging the equipment from the dorm to class, dealing with technical difficulties if it happens, and making sure that students use the hand-held microphone for class discussion.

My distance hearing has definitely improved too.  For instance, when I was living in an apartment in France, my bedroom was on the second floor.  I was able to eavesdrop on every single word of the conversations of my roommates who would be chatting on the first floor.  Often times, I actually had to shut the door and even lower the sensitivity when I needed some quiet time in my room!



February 12, 2010 at 7:38 pm

My Rachel (age 11) has had her second implant for a year now. The difference is amazing, even though her second cochlea is ossified. Because of the ossification, she doesn’t get a lot of usable hearing from that ear, but her brain somehow uses the hearing anyway. She no longer has problems following conversations in the school hallway or cafeteria. She voluntarily joins in group discussions now because she feels comfortable with what everyone else is saying, and she can follow along. As you noticed, her distance hearing and localization of sound is also way better. Bilateral hearing has been the final key we were looking for to getting her involved in social groups with friends.

Deaf Person

February 15, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Thanks for the information on hearing with bilateral CIs based on personal experience (beside professionals’ preceptives) . I am planning on second one for my son.

T.F. Malta

April 20, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Hi I have a 7 year old boy who had his first inplant when he was 18months. Now after almost 6 years I’m thinking of fitting him with his 2nd inpland. Can you please tell me after how long you had your second inpland inserted? Also how long it took you to be comfortable with wearinf 2 inplants? And did you had problems in your hearing and speach after the bilateral inplant. Thanks Tania from Malta Europe.

abdel khelik

February 21, 2013 at 1:48 am

hello rachal thank you for the iformation like to ask you about our son . my name is abdel and we just got our son inmplanted on 6/14/2012 with ci in his right ear and it has mad lots of improvment in his hearing and his personalty . and he still has a little hearing left in his left ear so he uses a hearing aid for that and we are dibating wather we should inmplant it for him or no we like to keep it that way for him becouse we think that it dos give him access to natural sound since he still has alittle hearing in it so what do you think about doing so i mean not to inmplant him yet thank you for the time