Questions about getting a cochlear implant

At my last hearing test my speech discrimination score was low, and I think it’s getting worse even when I wear my aids. And my wife and daughter are complaining about my hearing, again. At my last test the audi and doc both mentioned the possibility of a CI and I could be a candidate. I’ll know more in a couple of months.

And I have questions leading up to my next appointment.

I have a major tinnitus problem in my left ear. Is it likely the CI would do there? How does the CI affect tinnitus?

How common is it for someone 60+ to get two CIs?

Do most people, or people 60+ with a CI also wear an aid on the other side?

I currently wear Phonak aids and from what I’ve read Advanced Bionics and Phonak are compatible, so streaming to both sides with a CI and an aid should be OK. Not being able to stream would be an issue for me.

Here is maybe an odd question: What about wearing a hat? Does the CI interfere with hats? I have a shaved head and I wear a hat when I’m outside and when I play golf a hat is a necessity, so do hats interfere?

Also, with those who have a CI and speech discrimination issues did you have or not have issues using Bluetooth or input devices? If I’m on the phone connected via Bluetooth to my aids I hear the call fine, most of the time. And I hear most of a phone call in the car with the sound coming through the car’s speakers. Or if I’m out in a restaurant or a meeting and I use the Roger I do OK. Without the Bluetooth connection, the Roger or the car I don’t do well at all. Is that due to the direct input to my aids? Did anyone with a CI have same sort of issue where you struggled with aids but did fine with a direct Bluetooth connection.


I don’t have CIs but have been impressed at the results people on the forum have gotten. @Raudrive has gotten 2 CIs in the last 6 or 7 months and is quite pleased. I don’t know, but pretty sure hat is no problem. Poke around a bit on the forum. There’s lots of info on cochlear implants. The near universals I’ve seen is that 1) Everybody is a little nervous approaching this decision and 2)The typical response is being pleased that they did and wishing they hadn’t waited so long.

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If you don’t wear your hearing aids all the time you will lose word understanding much faster than if you wear them. Your brain needs that sound all the time or it forgets it.

I had terrible tinnitus before the implants. Now I have very noticeable tinnitus when not wearing the processors but it’s not noticeable when wearing the processors.

I got two implants at 65, Medicare and supplemental paid for them.

You are correct about Phonak and AB. Resound and Cochlear are similar.

Yes and no. Processors can be on the ear or off the ear. Hats/caps can be worn but they need to be large enough to go over the magnet area of the implant. Your existing hats/caps will probably be too small to do this or maybe not.

Not sure what you mean here.
Before implants yes, lots of difficulty understanding speech with or without Bluetooth.
After implants speech understanding is way up with or without Bluetooth.

Reading your post has me wondering if you are wearing properly fit hearing aids all the time. If you can not do that you will have a difficult time wearing implant processors. Implants are not for everyone. You really have to have a desire to hear better. It takes patience and work with implants to learn how to listen and understand speech again.
But maybe I misunderstood your post.
Let us know and good luck.


I wear my aids almost the entire time I’m up. I don’t put them in immediately when I get up, but not too long after and I wear them until bedtime

My wife and daughter complain about my hearing when I have my aids in.

How long between implants?

What I mean is: is speech discrimination much better when the sound or voice input is through Bluetooth? If I’m in a restaurant I struggle to hear conversations; however if I use the Roger I can hear and understand what is being said. So is speech discrimination improved because of the Roger is putting the sound directly in my ears?

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Three months between implants.

I’m not worried about the fit. I’ve seen the same audi since I got my first pair of aids and I think the fit is fine. I wear them most of the day.

Bluetooth has much better signal to noise ratio.
I understand now.

Ok, thanks.
Sharing your audiogram would help us help you.
What are your word understanding scores at what dB?
In quiet.
In noise.

I don’t have access to my audiogram where I am currently

I’m not sure what the dB level was, but in the booth for my last hearing test my speech discrimination was 40.

If you do consider CI, your next step is to get the CI evaluation. If both ears are bad, get both ears tested. If you score better than 50 in quiet as to be tested in noise.
The evaluation is more than hearing tests. They will test you medically too as well as ask many questions about your life. They want to know if CI is really right for you.


I read where you are wanting to use your Phonak aids if you get a CI. From my understanding not all Phonak aids are suitable you need a Naida or Naida link. I could well be wrong though.

I also have tinnitus, but when I have my N7 processor on I don’t hear it at all.

A lot of people choose to get bilateral CI’s. I just made the decision yesterday to remain bimodal for the time being. Or at least until I have further deterioration in my L) ear. I was 68 when I got my CI. Bimodal meaning a CI snd HA, all paired and works through my iPhone and BT.

When I had bil HA’s Phonak Bolero I had a aided binaural WRS of 36%. My aided Binaural WRS is now 94%. When I was doing my research on CI’s my Phonak bolero’s weren’t suitable for using with the AB CI.

I’ve needed BT for 10 yrs or more to answer the phone. I can’t hear without BT.

Do your research into what CI you prefer. But also be aware if you do get a CI it could come down to what your ENT surgeon prefers. Some surgeons will only use one particular CI and others will let you choose.

The assessment is a 2 hour intense evaluation of your hearing status. This is followed by dozens of questions. If you move forward and do get a CI the rehab is a long arduous process. I set myself a minimum of 2 hours a day for rehab. It can be intense and very frustrating for the recipient, when your running around the house trying to work out what that noise is! Good luck.
Good luck.


I would like to use an aid on the non-CI ear and I guess that will be a requirement for a while anyway. I didn’t think my current Marvels would work with a CI.

I said Phonak because that’s what I’ve worn for years. The surgeon does AB, her office is listed AB website anyway.

I realize post-op there is quite a bit of rehab. What did you do for two hours a day as a part of the process?

I run around now trying to locate noises. We just purchased a new refrigerator and I found out when the door isn’t close completely it beeps. It took me awhile to find that beeping source.


I was very lucky, I could understand some speech on activation. So I streamed audible books and read along on a hard copy. I listened to talk back radio programs. Ted talks or just anything I could listen to streaming. I Angel sounds and Hearoes are just a couple apps I used very early on, but they are designed for those struggling with understanding speech as they are very basic. ABC talk back radio.

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My tinnitus is much worse in my left ear. Did you have the CI implanted in an ear where the tinnitus was worse than the other?

Another question: I realize insurance will cover a CI, but if an aid is necessary on the other side does insurance usually cover an aid for bimodal hearing since the aid is usually specific to the CI?

Your audiologist should know about your insurance question.
Does your audiologist do CI or just hearing aids? A second opinion can be very good sometimes.

I went with Cochlear. They set me up with a Cochlear representative who helped me with anything I needed pertaining to the surgery, appointments, insurance, which doctor, which audiologist etc., she was absolutely great. The other implant manufacturers probably have representatives too.

Good luck

OK, just going from impressions, but I don’t think hearing aids are really specific to CI. I think any hearing aid can be used with any CI. I think compatibility is mainly regarding streaming. I think I’ve also heard that for some people hearing with the CI is so much better that they don’t bother with the hearing aid. I’m sure this would depend a lot on what the baseline hearing was in that ear. I’d encourage you not to get too far ahead of yourself. An eval will answer a lot of questions.

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I only have tinnitus in one ear before my CI and I had that ear implanted. Being in Australia our insurance is totally different to the US. I can’t answer any of your insurance questions. I encourage you to speak to a company representative as they know all the ins and outs of the CI. Also your CI Aud is a great source of information on the CI.

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