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A Review of ClearVoice and Neptune by a Parent of Advanced Bionics Recipient

May 3rd, 2012 by | Tags: | 9 Comments »

Andrea Patton, who wrote an article several months ago about acquiring insurance approval for the Neptune™ Sound Processors for her son, finally got insurance approval recently and not only got the Neptune Sound Processors for her son, but also ClearVoice, a new MAPping strategy.  She shares her and her son’s experience in using ClearVoice and the Neptune™ Sound Processors.

Clear Voice:

I have noticed quite a difference in his ability to pick up speech. First of all, there are three different settings you can have with CV, low, medium and high. Our audiologist at Children’s Memorial in Chicago said they aren’t programming high CV in any pediatric patients because it’s too restrictive for a child’s hearing. A few children have asked for the low setting, but she said most kids think it’s almost too soft (not a real dramatic difference) so medium tends to be the setting most pediatric patients are getting.

We live about two hours from CMH so we had plenty of time to experiment with different noises in the car as well as music. We cracked the windows a couple inches and tried carrying on a conversation with the background noise of lake shore drive through the window. He heard my mom (sitting next to him in the backseat) on the first try. I tried talking from the front seat and after a few tries for him to acclimate, we carried on a conversation without repetition. This is one of the first times he’s been able to do this in a car with background noise! He also picked up quite a few lyrics from songs varying from rock to country to whatever you want to classify Adele. These were words he missed when previously listening to the same songs. “Mommy, they’re singing this, not that” etc.

We have noticed a difference at home as well. We have a 2500 square foot home and Elliott’s room is as far away from the kitchen as it can be. We can raise our voice slightly in the kitchen (not as loud as we previously had to) and he hears us (in his room) the first time! Again, the first time we have noticed this. We carry on conversations with the tv on surround sound (usually loud hockey games) and he picks up speech without repetition. Again, before CV we often had to repeat things two or even three times. There has been a very nice absence from the word “WHAT?” around our house the last couple days :-)

He also wanted to wear the Neptunes (with CV) to school yesterday and the teachers gave me feedback. They actually moved him to a few different seats within the classroom and “tested out” how well he did. No matter which seat he was in, he heard them asking questions the first time as long as they called his name first. The assistant in the classroom said she often has to repeat things (which isn’t surprising considering the room is full of 18 loud 4/5 year olds) but didn’t have to yesterday. This was SO exciting for us!

Tonight he has soccer practice so we will test it out on the field with his coaches.

Neptune™:

He loves it! I think right now he is enjoying a little break from having to wear something on his ear and the adjustment from his hearing with the T-Mic placement (in the actual ear) and the microphone on the headpiece (with the Neptune™) hasn’t been an issue at all. He actually got pretty sweaty running around last night at Papa T’s birthday party and it was such a nice break not to have to worry about his Harmonies falling off the ear because the toupee tape gets sweaty and loses adhesion strength.

We were worried the armbands would irritate his arms after wearing them all day ( he has pretty sensitive skin like me) and he did great. There wasn’t any irritation at all and not even a spot of a red mark when we removed the bands after he wore them for 14 hours straight!

The shower was a great experience too! As you know, this was Elliott’s first time really hearing in water and he described it as sounding “bumpy” and “wooshy” and “splashy.” He loved it! One of the pics I’m attaching looks like he’s screaming, but he was actually yelling “No. Mommy wait!!! I can’t get these wet!” And then he remembered he had the “new ears” that can get wet. I suspect many kids will take awhile to get used to this. After 5 years of being told NO you can’t get your implants wet!!! He has to change it up and remember he can get his Neptune™ wet. It will sink in over time I’m sure.

He asked a ton of questions about what to wash, how to wash, what different things were and a few “unmentionable” questions for boys only :-) It was truly a great moment!

On another note, Dominc (Elliott’s 19 month old brother) loves the Neptunes! The Harmonies are still great, but Dom grabs the processors since the lights are so intriguing and often pulls on the headpieces. Elliott has been really good about understanding he is a baby and has to learn to not touch, but the Neptunes have changed all that! They are “baby proof” and besides pulling off a headpiece here and there, Dom can’t pull the Neptune™ off the armband or Elliott’s shirt because the clips for the Neptune™ are pretty strong. Dominic can even handle and touch the Neptune™ (with the controls off) and not do any damage to it. This has been a great “mom” feature in my opinion!

A mom’s perspective:

Clear Voice is effortless and I don’t have to do anything for Elliott to use it. The Neptunes definitely take some practice. The color covers are hard to snap off (especially for a mom like me that wears artificial nails) but I got the hang of it after a day. I understand they have to be water-tight but they will definitely take some getting used to for most parents. The rechargeable AAA battery option is great as well as the disposable battery option. We used to have to lug the charger and cables around to all the grandparents homes (when he would spend the night) but with the disposable batteries for the Neptune™ that will be much easier on the grandparents and traveling.

As far as taking the Connect part of the Neptune™ off the processor, you are actually given a little tool in the kit that you can use to disconnect the Neptune™ Connect from the processor. I’m not strong enough to push the lock in, so I just use the tool to push the lock in and it pops right off. It’s much easier than struggling with my lack of muscles :-)

The aqua-mic headpieces / cables and the universal headpieces / cables are very simple to change out and click in place very securely (an audible click or snap) to make it kid-proof. Dominic can’t pull it out and Elliott can with some effort if he needs to ever do it by himself.

All in all, Elliott seems to be loving it for the last couple days and I must say it’s easier than I thought on my end. The Neptune™ kit comes with a Zephyr dry-n-store kit so there’s no out of pocket expense for that when the Neptune™ has to be dried after getting wet. The only drawback I can see at this point is how water-tight the pieces fit together. It is a struggle at first to get it all taken apart but something that can be done after some practice.

9 Comments

Amy B

May 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I am so glad Elliott is enjoying his Neptune’s!! It seems like awesome technology and I hope all the brands will offer it soon. Looking foward to more updates!!

Gerald

May 17, 2012 at 12:32 am

I wish more investors would get involved. Here something I would love to see a cochlear implant that is wireless and a size of a dime th where someone wouldn’t know you have implants. There always a way!

Andy

June 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm

This question is in reference to your other blog post where you were trying to get insurance approval for a “replacement” vs. “upgrade” to the Neptune.

What finally convinced the insurance company to pay for the replacement implant?

Were you required to turn the old implant back in, or do you have the old implant as a backup in case of loss or equipment breakdown?

Thank you.

Heather

June 22, 2012 at 3:06 am

My daughter is getting her implant in a couple months she is 16months old. I had a question , well I have many. concerning the new Clear Voice, on the website for Advanced Bionics it says that it is not available for pediatric patients in the US as well as Hires fidelity 120, is this not true? just read the post stating that your son received it in his Neptune?

Rachel

June 22, 2012 at 3:19 am

Hi Heather,

Even though the website states that ClearVoice is not FDA approved for pediatric recipients, audiologists can place ClearVoice pediatric recipients’ sound processors at their own discretion. I personally know quite a few pediatric recipients who are already hearing with ClearVoice and are doing fantastic. If you would like to get in touch with them, please feel free to get in touch with me at cochlear@rachelchaikof.com.

ole haugland

July 11, 2012 at 3:57 am

Heather,

Same goes for HiRes120. We live in the US and our son who is 22 months old had it activated from the first day he got his CIs when he was 12 months old.

Jen

January 4, 2014 at 2:03 am

I loved reading your review of the Neptune! My husband and I are having the device selection appointment in 4 days for our son and its so hard to pick. Our son loves water, so I automatically went towards the Neptune but we’re still unsure. How did you make the choice? What was the deciding factor? All 3 companies look good and I haven’t read anywhere that someone hated what they selected…everyone seems to love the brand they chose. Any tips for selecting would be appreciated!

Rachel

January 4, 2014 at 2:10 am

Yes, it is true that all three brands are fantastic and you can’t go wrong. Here is an article that has a section on how to choose a brand (Scroll down until you see the section “Candidacy”) – http://cochlearimplantonline.com/site/the-cochlear-implant-process-from-identification-to-candidacy-to-activation-and-beyond/

We also have a brand comparison chart – http://cochlearimplantonline.com/site/cochlear-implant/brand-names/brand-comparison-chart/

Deborah Robinson

April 23, 2014 at 9:21 am

Looks like Elliot is bilateral, so of course he would hear better than with just the one and I think the degree of your hearing loss determines how much you hear also.

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