Music and CI

Hello,

My name is Ludomiro and I am totally deaf on my right year since February 2020.

Before my SHL episode, I had what doctor would call excellent hearing on both sides. Ironically I had my hearing tested 2 weeks before my SHL episode.

Only a few DB loss around 4K, depending on the day.

Hearing was/is one of my work tools because my profession is being a music manager.

In February, all of a sudden I felt a terrible pressure on my right ear accompanied by strong vertigo.

I now know that these are common symptoms for what happened to me but back then I thought it was something to do with the heart.

A good doctor visited and excluded issues with the heart and prescribed me steroids and rest. The hearing came back in full after one week. Unfortunately the same happened 2 more times in the next 3 weeks, hearing gone and back, until I was hospitalized. An intratymphanic inspection could not reveal anything strange, liquid liquid loss or structure damage. The vertigo in the meantime became terrible, I was not able to work or do anything as usual. The steroids and medicine taken in hospital did not bring any improvement.

I have made improvement with the vertigo only 3 months after the SHL episode and still recovering.

Like probably many people on the forum I had to face the fears that the SHL could have been caused by chronic scary conditions, which was excluded during my hospital stay with MRI, ear and X-Ray etc.

One month late, I was told that there were 99,99% chances that my hearing on the right side would never come back and that I should start considering a cochlear implant.

I apologize in advance if what I am about to say could be offending people on the forum who have to face way worse than my loss on one side only.

My left ear is still excellent. After 2 months when music sounded horrible, when I thought of giving up my career, job and even listening to music at all - I am learning to listen with one ear. It is still nothing like before, but it is bearable.

Originally the sound felt stuck on one side of my head, a painful experience that was beyond what I could imagine. Now it seems that my brain is learning how to position, in my head, what I can hear with my left ear.

I have been told that the audio from the cochlear implant is nowhere close what one needs to listen/enjoy/work with music.

Is there anybody in the forum who had to go through something similar?

If the audio from the cochlear is not good enough for music, are the advantages to hear in stereo again, “ruined” by an overall deteriorated quality of sound?

Either a music professional, or somebody with a great passion for hi end music, who would tell me if the cochlear implant is somehow useful to regain any level of stereo sound or if - for this specific subject - is an additional mountain to climb.

Music is not the only thing that would make me consider the cochlear implant, obviously, but it is one of them.

Thanks in advance to all who would like to reply to me.
Ludomiro

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I am not a music professional, but I do enjoy listening to music. I stream audio both by the phone clip, or using wired audio Technica ATH-M50X headphones. I’ve been using a CI since 2010, first using an N5 then upgraded to the N7. I am deaf on both ears, started progressively losing my hearing over time in my early 20s. I enjoy audio, music, and the immersiveness of it all. Every surgery and person and experience will be different, but on my own experience, music doesn’t sound weird to me. No one sounds like a chipmunk to me, and I can distinguish between different instruments. It’s beautiful. In fact, my only complaint has been that I only got surgery for my right ear and not my left! My mistake and I own up to it.
It’s frustrating, and my recent passion for audiophile stuff has made me pursue surgery for my left after all this time. My first hurdle was that I was told typically Medicare only pays for the surgery once on a lifetime. Then it was, they approved it again, but if they catch on they may pull the funds and the surgeon would not get paid. They had me wait a few months u til finally someone was willing to take the chance on doing the surgery with me because they had experience with this situation and said it should be fine. So, I have a surgery date of August 27th for my left ear and I am super happy and can’t wait to level up to Stereo mode! Dolby Atmos here I come. :laughing: Basically, I just wanted to share that I have great experiences listening to music and hope to give you some encouragement. Cochlear changed my life for the better and I am grateful to still be able to enjoy what I love. Audio bliss, movies, gaming etc. It’s worth a consideration, after all your research you do what is best for you. Check the track record of your local surgeon as well. I’m from California. Hope this helps. Any questions, feel free to ask.

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I can’t comment directly as both of my ears are bad and my taste in music runs more towards singer/songwriters so the words are as important as the music, I can say a couple of things. The music will almost certainly sound different at the start, but it does seem to shift over time, although no one is going to guarantee anything. I have seen where there are working musicians who have a CI so at least for some it must be good enough, but I haven’t looked into how good " good enough" is.

The other thing I would point out is that if there are solid other reasons to get a CI then you could always take the processor off when you listen to music, it isn’t going to have any effect on your good ear.

This is all new to you, take your time don’t rush things. While it is true that ability to work with a CI is better the short the time of loss those are based on people who had years of decline. I don’t think spending some time thinking about it will change the outcome.

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Thanks. Really appreciate your reply.
I was told not to rush the decision but not to let too many years pass before eventually doing it.

I imagined that if the effect is not pleasant, I could take the processor off.
Was curious to know, though, if the “different” hearing through the implant, has an effect on how we perceive the sound with the “good” ear.

Thanks a lot for your positive and encouraging feedback.
Best of luck with your surgery in August. You sound like a very positive person, sure it will be great.

As I said i am not much of the music type so I can’t say how well it works there, but I do tend to find that, especially when streaming, my brain seems to get understanding from the implanted ear and tone from the unimplanted ear. That sounds to me the same as before I was implanted, but that was after about 20 years of progressive hearing loss, so I doubt anything I hear is normal.

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@Ludomiro69 I have a Cochlear N7 and Resound HA I still love listening to music, my CI hasn’t interfered with my ability to enjoy music still. I’m pretty sure in my case it could be because my residual hearing has been preserved during to operation.
You don’t have your audiogram charted in your profile so I can’t look at what your residual is. Going on your “normal hearing” in your other ear, I can only assume that both ears were the same.
When I had my SSHL a few years ago now, I was assessed as a suitable recipient for a CI. My CI surgeon I saw in the assessment stage, told me not to leave it to long before moving forward with the CI. He went onto explain that my residual was good, but the longer I left it the harder it would be to preserve my residual. I sat on the fence for a further 18 months before moving forward with a CI.
It’s very daunting to have to make the decision do I /don’t I go ahead with the CI. I can only encourage you to thoroughly investigate all the 3 major brands of CI. Work out which one would suit you best. Don’t be afraid to ring each company Cochlear, AB, and Med-el, ask to have an appointment with a representative of the company to discuss the pros and cons of each brand.
When you have sorted what company CI you would prefer, ask the representative what surgeon would they recommend in your area. See the CI audiologist and the surgeon to discuss it further. Just because you go this far into looking at having a CI doesn’t mean you have to have the operation. At this stage you can alway still say no, I’m not ready to do this yet.
As you stand now your brain can still remember what “sound” sounds like, and you won’t have much difficulty laying down new sound pathways. By this I mean what your hearing through the CI and interpreting each sound you hear. Wether they be speech or environmental sounds.
Good luck :four_leaf_clover::four_leaf_clover::four_leaf_clover: in your decision making, don’t be afraid to come back and ask questions.