Saturday, February 2

Why Cochlear?

Drew's Dad and I have been playing around with Blogger and were experimenting with the survey feature, hence the "Which brand of C.I. Did you Choose?" question on the sidebar. It's a little coincidental since Amy recently left a comment asking why we chose Cochlear as the brand of implant for Drew. She is trying to decide which brand to choose for her daughters upcoming surgery, so I thought I would share "Why Cochlear?"

  • Cochlear is the brand that our surgeon and audiologist have worked with the most. Therefore, the surgeon has inserted the most Cochlear arrays and our audiologist has the most programming experience with the Cochlear brand. We took this in high regard. We did not feel that it would be good to choose a brand of implant that they were unfamiliar with. We know that our implant team has a lot of relationships with Cochlear, as has been evidenced in the audiologist from Cochlear attending Drew's mapping sessions, on occasion.

  • Cochlear is the brand of choice of Dr. Jacques Herzog and all other surgerons we met with. We hold Dr. Herzog's opinion in high regard, and that weighed on our decision.

  • We liked the bodyworn processor and were aware of the impending babyworn launch. We thought that having the microphones on Drew's ears was vital for developing sound localization, so we were very impressed with the Snugfit for chilren, to help keep the processors on their ears. We liked the rechargable battery option for both configurations (I do not know about the battery options for Med-El or Advanced Bionics).

  • We like Cochlear's Customer Service and their commitment to future techonology. When we discovered that Cochlear has a commitment that all current recepients of their product can take advantage of new product introductions we were thrilled. Knowing that processor and software upgrades will be available for their current paitents is wonderful. In fact, we are awaiting the current software upgrade that will program the internal device such that we never put a processor on the wrong ear again. Yeah, no more tears!

Ultimatly the equipment and customer service can only do so much. If you do not have appropriate mapping or therapy post implantation, the recepient is not going to excel with his/her implant.

So the question is, readers, which brand of implant did you choose (for yourself or your child), and why? Let's help Amy out with this difficult decision.


Anonymous said...

We chose Cochlear for many of the same reasons. Our implant center (Cincinnati Children's Hospital) bascially told us that they were no longer implanting the AB device until they got their recalls under control. They had little experience with MedEl, so that left Cochlear.

We've been blown away by Cochlear's customer service. They are lighting quick when it comes to sending out new parts or replacing potentially broken parts.

We've also been really pleased with the design of the babyworn and the ease with which he is able to wear 2 batteries on his back.

diber said...

Another thumbs up for Cochlear! We've had great experience especially with speedy parts replacement, too. I gotta say, though, the Babyworn snugfit was a DISASTER. It's back to double-sided wig tape for us, NOTHING else will do for my crazy toddler. LOL.

It's also the one that our hospital CHof Philly uses mostly. The only time they ever had a failure was with Advanced Bionics, and they don't even do Med-El on children.

(Personally, I think AB's look cooler, though)

Anonymous said...

I'm an oral deaf adult, and quite happy with Cochlear. One of the many reasons I choose Cochlear is due to many of its "international" branches and offices worldwide. So, I'm not only limited to USA, but also can get my mapping, CI batteries, wires, etc from other countries. This makes my traveling adventures easier.

Besides, on a personal note, I do want to share my personal experiences of being raised as an oral deaf to you and your husband. It's my understanding that you're looking at an option of enrolling Drew in an oral deaf educational setting. I had been to St. Joseph Instt for the Deaf in St. Louis and benefited a lot from it greatly. I would appreciate if we could exchange emails to further discuss this unique journey I embarked, and hope this would bring some insight to you and Drew. I can be reached at:

Yana said...

I had a hard time choosing and then one day my surgeon just said that the Cochlear array is better shaped for my cochlea and that was it!

I am very happy with Cochlear customer service too!

Anonymous said...

Hi all....this is Amy. I have to say after much reading and studying this weekend I am really leaning toward to Cochlear brand. I emailed our doctors last night hoping to get a few questions answered before going back for more meetings next week. Thank you all for your help! ANY advise any of you can give me would be so appreciated. I sometimes feel I am drowning in the big sea! Thank you again.

Cyborg Queen said...

Hello, I recently got activated with Freedom processor (on 2/1), and implanted with Freedom implants. I'm 29 years old, and grew up deaf, and attended a total communication school. I can speak fluently and sign fluently. Best of both worlds eh?

Why did I pick Cochlear? Well, basically it boiled down to the fact that my 2nd audiologist only deals with Cochlear.

However, after seeing the forums - This is basically for Amy. I know nothing about Med-El, but I do know there has been a small percentage of failure rates, and their implants are...umm, eww. (IMHO!)
So, I'm only comparing between CA and AB.

CA - Been around the longest

AB - Had some recalls, but they took care of it right away. It's been resolved.

Freedom processor has 4 different programs, giving more personal choices for what program to use for various environment. Quiet, Noisy, Music, Meetings, etc.

Harmony only has 3.

Both is very good with music. Harmony has been reported to be better with music, but the results was shown before the Freedom implants/Freedom processors came out.

AB - Only has rechargeable batteries. Can be a pain if you're out somewhere, and there's no way to charge it. They do have 18 hour batteries, but...
CA - Has both, rechargeable and disposables.

AB - More color choices
CA - more color choices for Mini-BTE (this is a good option for children as it's very small..however, no accessories can attach to it)

AB - Body worn processors
CA - Body worn only has batteries...processors is still behind the ear.

CA - Has BabyWorn accessories
AB - I'm not too sure! :-)

AB - newest implants has the capabilities to have 120 Spectral bands
CA - I really have no idea. Sad isn't it?

Freedom Implants - Have contour advance electrodes...basically, it's a curly tail, and will cause LESS damage to the cochlear, and it can be possible to save residual hearing. (I *still* have residual hearing...because my surgeon spent a very long time making sure that my cochlear hair cells are not damaged...hence 3 1/2 hrs surgery, compared to 1 to 2 hour surgeries).

AB - does not have curly tail.

I also am glad that I went with Cochlear because they have been very good with backward compatibility, while someone who had a 10 year old AB implant, they can't get the newest processor because it won't work. So, this is a big negative for children. However, it seems that AB has given the newest implant a lot more head room. I also went with Cochlear because of the batteries. My insurance will cover the batteries 100%, so I never have to worry about paying for batteries. Rechargeables will need to be replaced as it gets older and loses charge.

Hope I was some help. :-)
Good luck with everything!

Drew's Dad said...

cyborg queen,

Thank you for your excellent comment regarding your experiences with Cochlear. We appreciate you taking the time to lay out all that information!

Does anyone else have any inside info on Advanced Bionics or MED-EL?

Kauan Tyler's Mom! said...

We chose AB for our son for many of the same reasons you chose Cochlear. AB Customer Service is excellent and if we need any replacement parts they send it to us right away. Also, if we need any help with mapping, they send their clinical specialist to UCLA to make sure everything is working properly. The batteries are wonderful, the powercell works 14 hours and the big ones 18-24. They are rechargeable and the small ones are great for kids.
The baby worn is really good too. They have one battery for both processors and if you use the big batteries, they last all day long and there's not a lot of cables hanging around.
Something else that helped us in our decision is the fact that the Cochlear device does not ever use all 22 electrodes in any one sweep of their electrode array. At most you are ever using 12 electrodes at a time to deliver information. With AB all active electrodes are being used and information is being delivered to them with each time info is delivered. So, it is not just as simple as the number of electrodes equals the amount of info delivered on them, it is really how they are designed to deliver that information.
The body worn processor is great because the coil is attached directly the body worn processor, and you don't have to wear anything behind the ear, the microphone is in the headpiece. We think that's great for when our son grows up, less accessories to wear and he will be getting the same quality of sound as if he was wearing the BTE. We love the design of AB, it looks nice, it's small and very discret. There are a lot of color options for kids and adults.
We have no complaints about AB, they're excellent and the most important thing is that Kauan is getting all the support he needs and we're seeing wonderful progress!!
Good Luck with your decision!
Isabelle and Kauan.