Saturday, August 09, 2008

I've Got the Blues

Glitter Graphics

Okay, I am sure that some of you are curious about the CI brand I chose.

First of all, I want to thank everyone again for their input, knowledge, and experience with the CI brand of his/her choice, even if he/she was given one choice from the ENT. The feedback really helped.

Both AB (Advanced Bionics) and CA (Cochlear Americas from Cochlear Corporation) are very good brands. I had to look at all the pros and cons of each.

Man, I can tell you, it was NOT a very easy decision.

I decided that the FM system (Zoomlink) compatibility was important to me, along with the CI company's repuation and integrity (which both have). I thought about rechargeable vs disposible batteries.

I still hadn't made my decision when I found out that our insurance company denied approval for the CI because they were not "proven safe and effective." It was also, the facilitiy told me later, a matter of the fact that the insurance company didn't think a CI could treat Usher syndrome, even though hearing loss is a part of Usher syndrome. Obviously someone didn't do his or her homework on exactly what Usher syndrome is. Sure, the CI would not help the vision problem, but that was not all Usher syndrome was about. Add to the fact that the insurance company we had turns down CIs repeatedly. Maybe they hoped we'd just give up.

Advised to check Let Them Hear Foundation (LTHF), I went to the website and sent an application. Right away I was asked which CI brand was I choosing. Good question. I had to make a decision. I wanted to wait until I was able to see a sample and compare how they felt and how comfortable they were, but I didn't have that option.

This was when I had to look at my list of pros and cons again. I liked the disposible battery option and the FM system set-up, so I decided to go with the Cochlear Freedom. I was sure either brand would be a good choice.

LTHF said that Cochlear Corporation (CC) withdrew their sponsorship and will not help finance appeals, because they (CC) started their own support system. The only way LTHF would help me is if CIs were an exclusion from the insurance plan. They did, however, do pro bono appeals on a limited basis for CC clients. Otherwise, I would be charged a fee.

Then I checked out OMS Insurance Support, a division of Cochlear Corporation. I went to the Cochlear website and sent an email. I had not heard anything for about a month.

The facility wanted me to write a letter to the insurance company asking them what "literature" they based their denial on. What was the internal rule, guideline, or protocol that was relied opon to make the request for a CI a denial? I never did get an answer.

Meanwhile, I asked a blogger friend who said she could give me an email address of someone she knew that was with the Cochlear Corporation. She responded right away and referred me to someone in my area. Then the ball started rolling. OMS made an appeal on my behalf. I got the approval and then had a minor delay because the facility didn't have a copy yet. I sent them a copy of my approval. The rest of the story, as they say, is history.

I have chosen two colors for the BTE (behind the ear) speech processor: Blue and silver. I could only get one battery so I chose blue as the battery color. I am tired of the boring old beige color. So what if it's skin-toned? I want it to STAND OUT!! I do hope no one mistakes it for a bluetooth. I can't believe some thieves try to snatch it off a person's head.

I have no intention to start brand wars. Both brands, the AB and the CA are very good products and many CIers are happy with their choices. It's like, would you want a Chevy or a Ford? An Oldsmobile or a Buick? Dodge or Toyota? You do your homework and look at the features you want and you make a decision.

Update: I'm healing and doing normal activities. The tip of my ear is still numb, but the area around my incision gets less of that tight feeling. Also, I get a kind of a weighted pain, like there's pressure pushing on the tip of the ear (nothing is there, it just feels that way) and it's a dull pain. The incision doesn't itch, but once in a while I'll feel a pinprickling sensation that is supposed to be a part of the healing process. The numbness is only centered around the magnet area with a radius of about two-three inches all around.

I guess you can say I stopped "milking" it as an "invalid" about a week ago. LOL I do walk slower so I don't bang my head on something.

I guess that's it for now.




At Sat Aug 09, 10:39:00 AM , OpenID suddensilence said...

Oh Shari, I had to laugh at the "milking it as an invalid" comment. I know what you mean! That is so funny. :)

You know, I think of CI brands like I do hearing aid manufacturers. Everyone makes a choice that works for them and all that really matters is that it helps them hear. I support all the CI manufacturers because the technology they give us is invaluable. There's no wrong decision!! :)

I think the only time I even register if a person has a different CI brand from me is when the discussion centers around mapping & programs used...only because they are different between brands, so you can't really relate to the terms that are used (SmartSound versus Fidelity 120 and all that). Other than that, I just relate to people as a CI user rather than an AB, CC or Med-El user.

Anyway, I can't wait to see a picture of you wearing your new CI! I love both blue and silver -- you picked great colors. :) Just a little over 2 weeks now. YAY!!



At Sat Aug 09, 11:44:00 AM , Blogger Shari/"Whiger" said...

Excellent, Wendi!! I should have thought of that. It is just like different hearing aid brands. Choices. We always have to make choices.

Many CIers are happy with whatever CI brand they have. What's important is how it helps us hear once the brain gets adjusted to hearing with it.

At Sat Aug 09, 12:43:00 PM , Blogger Laurie said...


OMS was instrumental in assisting me get approval for my second CI. My doctor only implants Cochlear and when I asked if I could go bilateral, he connected me with OMS. It took eight months but was so worth it. And I was my doctor's first adult bilateral patient! And he has been doing CI's for over 20 years.

Sounds like you picked some great colors. I chose brown to match my hair color. . . I don't want mine to stand out that much.

Looking forward to hearing about your activation. Glad you are healing well! And milking it, too!

P.S. How are your "girls?" :)

At Sat Aug 09, 12:51:00 PM , Blogger Candice said...

That's the same brand that Rebecca uses! I have had a good experience with Cochlear and excited that that is who you chose.

I never knew that BTE meant behind the ear. How obvious!! lol

At Sat Aug 09, 04:58:00 PM , Anonymous Kila said...

Blue sounds pretty :)

I hope you keep feeling better.

At Sat Aug 09, 06:52:00 PM , Blogger Becky said...

Wow, persistence really does pay off! That was a long, drawn-out ordeal to be able to get your CI, but so worth it. I'm glad that everything seems to be healing nicely, and that before long it will be doing what it was intended to do!

At Sun Aug 10, 12:27:00 PM , Blogger hillgrandmom said...

Glad to know you're getting ok in laps and bounds :)

At Sun Aug 10, 04:02:00 PM , Blogger Beth said...

You had to go through so much to get to where you are!
So glad to hear you're back to normal activities.
And blue is my favourite colour!

At Sun Aug 10, 05:34:00 PM , Anonymous Carlos said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Mon Aug 11, 08:55:00 AM , Blogger Breazy said...

I am just glad that the surgery is over with and you are recovering, I was getting really nervous for!

Hope you are having a wonderful day! :)

At Mon Aug 11, 02:33:00 PM , Blogger Shari/"Whiger" said...

Laurie-Thanks for the OMS help. Maybe five years ago, I would have gone with a beige one, but hey, my fave color is blue and I don't want ot hide my hearing problem. The vision problem, however, is another story. I still want ot hide that. I guess I have to work on that.

LOL, the "girls" are doing fine. I do have to go back in for another "peek" (picture) for a baseline comparision. Should I be flattered? Winks.

Candice-That's right. She has a Cochlear, too. We learn something new every day, don't we?

Kila-Blue is my favorite color. :)

Becky-Yeah, it took a lot of work to get them to approve the CI.

Hillgrandmom-Hi!! HUGS. I'm more myself every day, though the tastebuds are still numb.

Beth-Welcome Back!! I love BLUE!! Yeah, getting better all the time.

Breazy-Aw, thanks for the concern. I was nervous for me, too. You too, have a great day.

At Tue Aug 12, 03:22:00 PM , Blogger Cyborg Queen said...

Yay! I'm so happy that you finally got your implants!! It will all be worth it in the end once you get activated.


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