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.
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.
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.