Bilateral Cochlear Implant
Jake is now 14 years old and in the 8th grade. He received a second cochlear implant on September 30, 2008 at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill. He already has the Clarion C1 internal device in his left ear which was implanted back in February 1999, at age 5 years old. He wears the Platinum Series BTE on the left ear. His audiogram with the left ear has stayed consistent throughout the years in the 25dB range. However, as he is entering high school soon and will be learning to drive we though he should consider a second implant to help him function in the noisy world.
He was implanted with the Advanced Bionics 90K internal device in the right ear and will have the Harmony external device. You may ask why we waited so long to get the second implant. There are several reasons we waited.
He was doing exceptionally well with one implant.
We were waiting for better technology.
Hoping for a waterproof device because we are at the beach a lot.
Hoping for a completely internal device.
We wanted to let Jake understand the pro's and con's and decide when to implant.
This was Jake's audiogram 2/12/08. We felt he was having a great deal of difficulty hearing when we went to his appointment, which was his 9 year post implant evaluation. The C is for the left cochlear implant thresholds. It was adjusted/mapped and the black dots above the C's are the thresholds after the adjustments. These were acceptable thresholds but his had been better and he was struggling to hear in class. The circles are the thresholds for the right unaided/unimplanted ear. He stopped wearing a hearing aid in that ear shortly after he got his left implant because it "sounds funny and I don't like it" per his reports. His SAT results were 15dB/left and 80dB/right.
We got information about bilaterals and the current processor options and went home to process the info and decide if he would go bilateral. We had been considering this for about a year before he said that he agreed it would help him. We had decided by the end of March that he would benefit and he agreed. We had hoped to have the surgery over the summer, but UNC had so many surgeries for the first implant in little ones anyone getting a second that was getting along well had to be on a waiting list. We found out that it would be the end of September at that time.
The hardest thing about the preop was trying to keep him from eating before surgery. The surgeon asked him right before surgery for about the tenth time if he was sure he wanted to do this and he stated "sure". (Unfortunately, we later find out the he says "sure" to a lot of things when he does not know what to say or did not understand.)
It seemed like forever, but this surgery was a lot shorter than the first one. Dr. Craig Buchman at UNC performed this procedure. The technique had also improved over the years with a much smaller incision and relatively no hair removal. He had told the doctor once he would do it if they didn't cut his hair. Ha! This was right after surgery when he was still very sleepy. He looked so pitiful. The first thing he wanted was his left cochlear so he could hear what was going on.
Sleepy head after surgery!
We were able to come home late that evening. Jake posed on the front porch just like he did when he came home from the first surgery. He was not too happy about it being that he was so tired and had some mild discomfort. He was a trooper and posed for me so I would let him go inside and get lay down for some rest. He went to sleep for a few hours and then was up playing video games and eating us out of house and home.
October 13, 2008--Jake returned to school after taking about three weeks off after his cochlear implant surgery. He received Home/Hospital teaching during the time he was out of school. We did not want to risk exposure to germs post op. His implant will be activated shortly after he returns to school.
October 28, 2008-Activation of the new implant. It was not that exciting. Because he already hears with his left ear it was not a huge AHA moment and he didn't really seem to care one way or the other about getting the new 90K activated.