Thursday, February 15

Study Looks at Benefits of Bilateral Cochlear Implants - Link

There have been many decisions made along this journey so far, but one of the more easy ones is to have Drew bilaterally implanted. While this is a new practice, studies show that having both ears implanted positively impacts the recipients ability to localize sound and hear in crowded places.

Most pre-lingual, single cochlear implant recipients develop speech and language equal or almost equal to that of their hearing peers, but they still struggle in "cocktail" party settings, where loud background noise makes it hard for them to hear. This study shows the benefit of two implants for sound localization as well as hearing in crowded places.

The one struggle we are having is whether or not to have Drew implanted simultaneously or sequentially. There is not a lot of research out there on bilateral implants, and the research that is there is primarily for sequential implantation. I know that there was an 11-month old simultaneously implanted in Columbus in late December, the first in this area. What I can not understand are the risks associated with the simultaneous implants. Wouldn't it make sense to only have one surgery, if the risks were the same as having one implant?

We are continuing to gather information to make an educated decision for Drew. If you have any information regarding simultaneous bilateral implantation, please leave a link in the comments.


Kristen said...


My son is also profoundly deaf due to Connexin 26. He was just implanted bilaterally at the age of 9.5 months a few weeks ago and gets activated in 6 days! I might not be able to answer all of your questions, but feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this with me since you are in the same position as we were. We weighed all of the pros and cons as well. Thanks, Kristen

Sam said...

I think a lot of it has to do with how much hearing is available in each ear. In my case, since I have some residual hearing in my left ear I decided not to risk the possibility of losing it in case something went wrong in my right ear. Now that I am activated and running, I would certainly consider doing the left ear. And, without any risk other than in the surgery itself.

Jason said...

If you've made the decision for Drew to be bilaterally implanted and, given that he is still so young, I don't think there is that much to think about.

Tom had his first implant done in June 2006, his second in September. The only reason they were sequential was because our PCT (UK funding body) refused to pay for both so we had to get the second funded ourselves. He bounced back from the surgery really quickly both times so that wasn't an issue although I'd still prefer to have had them done simultaneously - mainly becuase we were sick of hospitals by then!

If you're interested in how things have gone for us -

I know it will all work out for you - our thoughts are with you,

Jason, Nik and Tom.