The last (mandatory) pre-surgery step for me was to meet with the audiologist who will be working with me during my rehabilitation sessions post-activation and start thinking about which cochlear implant brand I will go with.
I met my audiologist, Liliane at the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre in Montreal. She explained to me that after my CI is activated, I will have to learn to hear again. The CI will not replace my hearing; it will only transmit sound signals to my brain, and therefore, will not sound the same as normal hearing. The rehab sessions help my brain learn to recognize the new sounds.
She then showed me all the possible device options. It’s kind of like chosing a cell phone – they all do the same things, but each have slightly different features.
There are three companies that manufacture CIs – Cochlear, Advanced Bionics and Med-El. I was able to have a look at all the devices and see which ones I would be confortable with. They all come in a range of color choices, but I would not want to wear something flashy and visible from 50 miles away. I could even get funky skins for them if I really wanted, like these:
After comparing the black and brown ones, I decided I would get a black one so I can hide it under/in my hair. I’m still deciding on a brand as they all have features that I like but don’t like at the same time. I love Cochlear’s waterproof option as I’ve never been able to hear in the water before. They also have advanced bluetooth options for phones and TVs. Advanced Bionic’s T-Mic option is intesting as it would allow me to wear earphones normally, but their waterproof option is a bit of a burden. Med-El seems to offer the widest range of internal electrode devices, and is the safest for MRI scans. Il n’y a rien de parfait dans ce monde.
Liliane also explained that I would have to choose a backup one, and that before the surgery, I would have to sign an agreement allowing them to use another one in case they have trouble inserting my first choice.
Here’s a really cool X-Ray video of an electrode being inserted into the cochlea.
Next: I’ll have a choice and a timeline soon!