Assessment for Cochlear Implant - I'm a candidate!

That reminds me of an episode of House where he was going to have his leg operated on. He used a Sharpie to write, “Not This Leg”, on his good leg and then on the bad leg he wrote, “Not this leg either”. He didn’t really want the surgery.

Is the arrow on the forehead a common practice?


I had a small X on the earlobe that got the implant.
Guessing susanmarylynn’s surgeon was partially blind. Needed a BIG > for guidance.:smirk:


I didn’t have any marking which ear is being operated on. :slight_smile:

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I think the surgeon did it for my peace of mind, ha, ha. He was standing outside the operating room with me, and I just wanted to be reassured as to which ear was being done, so he pulled out this marker from his pocket and left no one in any doubt!


How are things since your AB implant?

Hi there, dieslgrl! Thanks for asking.

I am doing just great, 9 months in. I am well aware that rehab is unique to every recipient, so I am hesitant to go on about how quick it was for me to achieve really good hearing. Even music is enjoyable and has cheered me immensely over this long and socially distanced winter. I can even hear the car radio now. I am watching TV without any extra device - though I still like to have the subtitles on. I think that is more out of habit, but sometimes people talk in varied pitches, rhythms and volumes, so I can quickly glance at the caption. I can easily hear on my cellphone now, with or without streaming, and have even handled calls on our landphone which I never even bothered to pickup before. I still tend to avoid the phone, though. I think we all develop phone phobia as our hearing declines.

It’s great to be able to hear someone without having to face them - this is one of the first things a friend noticed about a month from activation when she forgot and spoke to me from behind. That said, I was in the bank yesterday and the teller spoke to me through a mask and I couldn’t hear her - I think they are trained though, to speak quietly to a customer so as not to be overheard by the other customers. I sure had no trouble picking up the speech of the woman beside me, though, who was bellowing at her teller!! She was drowning out everything!

Back to music: I started out, as advised, to listen to music that I was already familiar with. I have always stuck mostly to folk, country, and old rock n roll because of the less complicated music. Pre-implant, I had lost the ability to even recognize a familiar melody. I am happy to report that I did up a YouTube playlist of 65 of my favourite songs which energize me every evening as I stream while I do my kitchen cleanup. I hear the music more clearly when I stream, but it is quite enjoyable via a BT speaker as well.

Female voices aren’t always as pleasing as they could be - many come across as very juvenile, little girlish, on TV or podcasts and audiobooks. This doesn’t seem to be the case when I am listening in person. I have been to a couple of dinner parties with 6 guests all chatting back and forth and I did very well - no music in background. However, I overstayed the last one, and I had a big headache the next day, I think due to the auditory overload!

That’s all I can think of. It’s hard to believe a full year has gone by since my first assessment at the Implant Clinic. It was nerve-wracking ahead of surgery, but I am well and truly on the other side of that now. Generally, I feel normal again, and my energy level is up, my stress level is down without the constant stress of making sense of my environment, hearing those around me, and managing my own affairs again.


That’s great news! Happy for you that you are less stressed and able to understand words without having to see people (certain tones anyway)! Can I ask, when you are “streaming” to your CI, are you only streaming to one ear?

Do you wear a hearing aid on the other ear?

I’m trying to wrap my head around streaming and any CI being compatible with any HA- I don’t understand how that can work. AB says they have the only bimodal technology, however, all the others say they can be paired with any HA. When they “pair” can I listen to a phone call or music streamed to both CI side and HA side even if they are different brands? I feel like having my HA ear streaming at the same time, will help teach the CI side what it’s hearing. If I can only stream to one side at a time, then that’s a deal breaker for me. I have to decide on brand my Monday next week so forgive me if you can sense my urgency in these posts!

So happy for you that you have made such incredible progress in only 9 months! Appreciate your update and feedback!

@dieslgrl i have a Cochlear N7 and an GN Resound aid in my other ear. Cochlear have direct streaming, you don’t need any other streaming device eg Roger pen etc.

When you are streaming it goes to “both” ears. With the N7 it’s automatic when you answer your phone. It’s all through Bluetooth, once your aid, CI and phone are both “linked AND paired” it all happens directly for you. For me bimodal hearing is fabulous.

If you want to listen to music you need to do the rehab right from the start. You need to train your brain to listen very early to get results. I spent hours listening to the radio from my phone. Good luck to you on your hearing journey.


Hi Sarah:

I still have a hearing aid in my left ear, although my speech recognition is very limited in that ear. It was about 40%, but now that I have my CI, I feel that I can’t discern any speech without the benefit of facial cues and lipreading from that ear on its own with the help of a hearing aid. However, it does help balance things for me when watching TV or listening to music acoustically rather than streaming.

I had many of the same questions as you when it came to HAs and the CI processor. At the moment, I am wearing a Q90 Advanced Bionics processor, as I await my promised trade-up to the latest M90 (Marvel) processor which has just finally been approved in Canada. So my HA and my CI processor are working independently. When streaming, I can either stream from my CI, or I can stream to my old Widex HA with the neckloop. But it is one or the other. Obviously I stream from my implant processor as I can hear SO much clearer from it, and it is important to train the implanted ear.

Once I receive the new Marvel - very soon - I will purchase a dedicated HA by Phonak - which is called a Phonak Link. It is designed to pair with this latest Advanced Bionics processor, the Marvel. That will mean I can stream into both ears at the same time. This is exactly why I opted for Advanced Bionics. Med El does not have a paired option for an HA, but I think that Cochlear might with a Resound HA. I am not completely sure about that.

I have realized that, on the one hand, (or ear) that by streaming only into my AB processor, which I do constantly with audiobooks and podcasts and music, that I have probably really helped with my rehab. However, I have probably neglected my hearing aid side. Some days I forget to even put my HA in. That shows how well I am doing with the implant, but it is important, too, to keep the other ear stimulated and functioning. I would like to retain the hearing I have left in that ear as long as is practical. I have a fear of becoming totally deaf if I get implanted in both ears, which would mean no chance of hearing a smoke alarm etc. at night when everything is off.

Another consideration for me was rechargeable battery life. My surgeon seemed to be favouring a MedEl implant, and the Audi was endorsing the off the ear processor for ease of use. It was attractive, for sure, but the poor battery life was a deal breaker for me. I rarely have to switch batteries (I use mediums and stream a LOT) to get me through a 15-16 hour day.

I like the idea of the T-mic which is exclusive to Advanced Bionics. It allows me to hold a phone to my ear like a hearing person. However, I have no experience, obviously, with the users of Cochlear or MedEl. I will throw this out there for what it is worth: if you prefer ease of use, MedEl’s and Cochlear’s off the ear processors definitely have their place. They are probably more comfortable, and certainly better for folks who have dexterity issues. The processor is just taken off the scalp and set on a charging pad. I can see a real value there for elderly folks who aren’t interested in streaming and have arthritic hands. However, from your post, it seems to me that connectivity is a big thing for you. I happen to have just qualified as a senior, but I am still keen to be as up to date and connected as possible, hence my choice of implant. I hope this helps.

Good luck - it’s hard to gather all the information and make your decision. If it is up to date connectivity you are after, I would endorse AB first and Cochlear a very close second … but that is strictly a personal decision. Every implant is going to give you improved hearing.

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Susan - Your final rankings seem to confirm what I have researched so far. Thanks for your input on this question. The other thing I like about AB is that it pairs with a Phonak which means I can use a Roger device if needed for even more assistance at meetings or in the car, etc. I hear great things about Roger. I like that I can ask others to either wear a mic, or use a central table version for a restaurant or meeting.

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Roger is compatible with many hearing aids and also cochlear implant processors. Roger is very flexible.


Seeing that I already have Phonak Marvel and a Roger Pen, my natural inclination is to choose AB. But! I have respect for a privately owned company that focuses on the technical details of hearing better over all the other things that we, as consumers, think are going to most important to us.

Y’all are very knowledgable folks so your input means a lot. And susanmarylynn- thank you for clarifying streaming is only to one ear or the other unless you are already set up with the compatible system or are choosing to change/upgrade HA to be compatible. I’m never not going to be wearing a HA on my right side, so yes, streaming to both sides at the same time, is important and I feel that would be essential to the rehab. Having the HA side tell the CI side what it’s hearing.

My surgeon’s suggestion is crucial to my decision as well. So, I circle around and around but it’s probably going to be Med El for me. However, I haven’t heard about the less-than-adequate battery life. I don’t have a contact at Cochlear anymore or else I’d be considering them equally.

It’s so hopeful to hear that you refer to your CI side as your strong side now! That’s wonderful!

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Well, you are ahead of the game already accustomed to a Phonak HA. I will be switching from Widex, so I hope I am happy with the Phonak Marvel Link. I want to reiterate that your old phonak won’t give you that dual streaming capability, you will need the Link. I decided to use my points for other things because I am due for a new HA - my provincial healthcare plan subsidized about every 4-5 years. By ordering it from my HA clinic, I will receive all the set up and maintenance as part of the packge. Out of curiosity, I inquired how much it would cost if I had them set up and maintain an HA if I got it from AB through the points. It was a pretty hefty cost - probably more than the cost of purchasing it from them, in the long run. It made much more sense economically to buy it from my HA clinic and have those charges included in the cost of the HA. Seeing as it is only the one I need, now, I hope I will still get at least one compatible accessory - the TV connector perhaps or a Roger device. I don’t really need them, but they would be useful at times. All those accessories are very pricey afterwards, so I am trying to get the best bang for my buck. I don’t have private health insurance.

When you see your surgeon on Monday, it’s perfectly okay to ask him why he has a preference. My guy was going to implant Med-El and I expressed my mild disappointment. It turned out that he actually had no preference between the two, so I got what I really wanted without lobbying. I was willing to accept his decision.


You may not need a Roger once implanted, I don’t and most on this forum don’t either from reading here over the years. I received a remote mic that I have yet to use. Sheryl uses hers and likes it.

I hate to be bias but Cochlear has very good representation here in the states. My surgeon made this very clear, highly recommended Cochlear over MedEl and AB in San Antonio Texas. A quick email to Cochlear might get you a representative helping you again.

AB is compatible with Phonak and Cochlear is compatible with Resound and MedEl is universal I believe but needs a neck loop to do this. Not positive about this, worth checking out.

I wore only Phonak aids prior to CI. The only thing I missed was the real deal hands free phone calls Phonak has. Took a week or so to stop walking away from my phone when on the phone.


I’m laughing here because if I put on my back up Oticon Opn’s I do the same thing! I don’t even like that the mic is behind the ear. Good point.

I did have someone locally a couple years ago when I first started considering this as a possibility, I will look her up, as well as ask the CI lady I see on Monday about Cochlear Americas.

You know, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not need my Roger everywhere I go. I know they say this is for bigger events and such, but I can’t even get by in a normal workday without having my Roger pointed directly at the person I’m talking to! I pray I won’t need it! Thank you for everything here! So much help clarifying everything!

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Hey, just going back to this thread! Have you gotten your new HA to pair with CI yet? I hope so! Because of your mention of battery life w/Med El, I made sure to ask about that during my web call with them on Friday and I was pleasantly surprised with the detail to which they took the time to explain everything. I also stream a lot but hopefully, I can start to act like a normal human and just hear/ understand what is happening around me. Would you say that you’ve become to live a more normal life? If someone turns away from you mid-sentence, can you stay with them to know what they’ve said without looking at their face?

I was lucky to get a single meningitis vaccine, Prevnar 20. Only one and you’re done. Sorry you didn’t have that option! My arm is so sore today! Will also get another Covid booster before surgery.

I feel like I’m walking in your footprints from last year and hope I have as good of an outcome as you have! Thanks again susanmarylynn!

Hi, Sarah - ohhh, my arm really hurt from that shot, too. Almost immediately and way more sore than the Covid shots. On the plus side, we are far more protected from pneumonia and meningitis now!

You ask if I feel normal now :joy: ha, ha. Well my hearing feels pretty normal! Even when people speak from behind I hear it - that’s in quiet situations, perhaps it wouldn’t be so great in noise. I might add, that I deliberately left off my HA for large parts of the day, sometimes even putting an earplug in that ear in the early days of activation - to force myself to hear with the processor only. My hearing is so good in that ear now, that I often forget all day to put in my current HA.

I haven’t yet ordered my Phonak Link. One of the Audi’s suggested waiting until my promised M90 processor arrives - not sure of his reasoning. So, when I stream, it is in Mono for now.

So, which implant brand did you decide on?

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@Dani has 2 MedEl implants. He tried the off the ear Sonnets, the batteries didn’t last a full day for him so he returned them for on the ear processors. Hope he chimes in to correct me if wrong.

@phobos512 has two MedEl implants also, I believe. Last I heard he was doing very well with his on the ear processors. He has not responded on the forum for a long time but he has great posts if you look for them.

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Oh look at you all “normal” and everything now! Good for you, girl! That’s great! I do like the idea of training the implanted ear to hear. I was told that will be an exercise as I move forward in progression, that they will have me try to take my HA out to “strengthen” the hearing “muscle” per se. I went with Med El btw. I hope I can be feeling “normal” someday too!!

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Cool, I hope they do chime in! I like that there is both rechargeable and disposable battery options for the Sonnet. That always scared me about my rechargeable HA, that it might die halfway through the day and I’d be stuck waiting for a recharge, but they have both types, I won’t feel like I’m up against a wall waiting to recharge. I’m always learning from you folks, so feel free to mention if battery life was an issue, isn’t any more, or has always been, and how you cope, etc.