Differences between HA and CI...

Discussion in 'Hearing Aids & Cochlear Implants' started by sr171soars, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. sr171soars

    sr171soars New Member

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    This thread will highlight the differences between HAs and CIs. This should be helpful for those not as familiar with CIs and it has been a prominent issue lately. More people are familiar with HAs but not as many are personally familiar with CIs.

    My background/experience - I have had a HA for many years since 3 years old and worn them for four decades. About a year ago I recently obtained a CI and it was a tremendous success for me.

    HA (Assumes a BTE model non digital)
    1) Uses one battery - typically lasts one week (at least for me...YMMV)
    2) Ampifies sounds to ear
    3) Uses a mold for getting amplified sound to ear (get feedback, moisture issues though)
    4) Uses natural hearing system
    5) Not water resistance (maybe some recent models might provide this feature...I don't know)
    6) No surgery required
    7) Consists of BTE only
    8) A HA can mask tinnitus but never cure it (one will hear it as soon as HA is either off or removed)
    9) A HA will provide hearing that is closer to what hearing people hear (Make no mistake...a hearing loss presupposes some difference in either range of sound frequencies or distortion factors in hearing)
    10) A HA is only as good as one's hearing at the time (meaning if you have some loss in certain ranges or distortions, a HA can't make up for that)
    11) HAs have limited programmable functionality (particularly digitals - it is getting better but nowhere near what CIs can do)
    12) People with similar losses can "borrow" another's HA to use (assuming one switches molds)
    13) If deaf or nearly so, a HA has no benefit
    14) If one decides not to use a HA anymore, they just take it off and put it away
    15) There are no instant setting options available to change to the appropriate environment

    CI (Cochlear Inc. Freedom)
    1) Uses three batteries (P675 types but cochlear implant version - get three days worth because CI is a little computer and has serious power comsumption)
    2) Stimulates cochlear nerve
    3) No mold required
    4) Bypasses outer and middle ear - Goes straight to inner ear...specifically the cochlea and cochlear nerve
    5) Is water resistance but not waterproof (it can take sweat, light rain and other such water incidents)
    6) Requires surgery for implant portion - nowadays this is an outpatient procedure usally takes less than 3 hours and one is home the same day
    7) Consists of BTE and implant (A magnetic transmitter using a FM frequency transmits the electrical impulses from the BTE to the imbedded implant)
    8) A CI can sometimes cure tinnitus but it is not a guarantee and never a reason to get a CI (It cured my mild tinnitus) If it doesn't cure it, it has same ability to mask it.
    9) A CI at first will sound very different like the robotic or cartoon characters. Over time, it will sound normal as the brain is incredibly "plastic" in its ability to adapt to input. (I can recognize any sound as I heard before with my HA - Actually I'm getting more information and things like thunder are much richer than before)
    10) A CI will give a consistent range of sounds (however it is only from almost the lowest possible to up about 11khz - normal hearing is the lowest to about 20khz - not really a problem as all speech is below 11khz and most sounds are as well)
    11) CIs are very programmable and provide many possibilities as suitable for any given person (far more than current digitals)
    12) Due to nature of specific unique programming of each CI, no one can "borrow" another's CI to use (there is a identification code on every Freedom CI tied to the implant of the individual - this does two things, save the individual from accidently damaging their cochlea when using the wrong CI but also keeps theft down as no one can use it but the individual it is programmed for)
    13) To get a CI, one must get no benefit from a HA and being deaf is no barrier to using one
    14) If one decides not to use a CI anymore, put the BTE portion away but the implant stays put unless it is surgically removed (not really necessary - mostly a personal preference)
    15) The CI have an option to change to one of four programs in an instance as appropriate the environment (I just push a button on the BTE and it beeps the program corresponding to the number it is (i.e, 1 for program 1 which is my normal setting where as 4 is autosentivity for loud environments like traveling in a car with the windows down but still be able to hear the person talking to me)

    Umm...I sure there are some others and if there are please kindly point them out.

    On a personal note, I have noticed these differences...

    I can now hear the higher ranges that I couldn't before (I had no idea that a water faucet can be so loud and higher pitched than I thought it was with my HA). I can depend on my hearing unlike before (somebody will start talking [and I'm paying attention to something else] and I pick it up right then and not to have to say "wait a minute" to get my attention on the person).. I never could do that with my HA except in unusal situations. I'm hearing at a much "louder" level close to what hearing people hear (if a person is speaking softly...it is not a problem for me whereas before I had to ask them to speak up). I can hear around corners and out of sight of person speaking and hear every word (really, really nice). I can hear in the dark whereas before I had to ask people to turn on the light to hear them (this is more useful than you can imagine). Keeping up with a person in a noisy environment isn't so challenging as it was before with a HA. I don't get exhausted from listening so intently putting all my energies into hearing (social settings are fun now for however long they may be). I can use any phone (don't need a special phone) anywhere including cell phones and doing conference calls.

    Sorry for the long post but I hope some people find it helpful...
     
  2. Cloggy

    Cloggy New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I think it will be very informative for people that visit.
    Also coming from you, being an experienced user, is very important.

    Also your personal experience is excellent info. I hope more people will contribute to it.

    I hope the "HA's are the same as CI" argument will be history, or at least this topic will give posters to refer to it when the argument is used.

    Thanks again
     
  3. Foxrac

    Foxrac Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Some people have problem with HA and some others are not, just depends on their hearing condition or so. HA is work on mine since profound deaf.
     
  4. Boult

    Boult Active Member

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    in my case, AB HiRes Auria (HiRes = Hi Resolution)

    1) use rechargeable battery in two size form slim - avg 10hrs max plus - avg 20hrs max

    2) cochlear nerve = auditory nerve :)
    3) ditto
    4) ditto cochlear nerve = auditory nerve :)
    5) ditto
    6) ditto hrs varies can be home same day or overnight as per dr's discretion
    7) ditto actually it is RF (Radio Frequency, not FM :) or your CI system would be interfered by FM system in certain building ;)
    8) ditto
    9) ditto
    10) the speech sounds are between 250hz and 4000hz from 20 to 50 dB
    (just for you, sr171soars, you may want to read this: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.11/bolero.html on page 2 especially )
    11) ditto
    12) actually CI can be loaned but have to be remapped temporarily though
    13) ditto
    14) actually "stop using speech processor" so meaning either BTE or BWP :)
    15) AB has 3 slots and BWP has 3 but 4 for kids.
     
  5. Cloggy

    Cloggy New Member

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    That's correct, but like Boult stated, one can loan them.
    We had that lately where 1 of the CI's of my daughter broke. Instead of not using it for 2 weeks, we have the possibility to get a "loan" which the provider will program with the MAP from the latest mapping session.
    So you can't just exchange them, it does require professional handling.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2006
  6. R2D2

    R2D2 New Member

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    Thanks for posting this. I think it's important for some people to know because there are people like me who can't benefit from hearing aids anymore and CIs is a viable option, simply because it works in a different way.
     
  7. sr171soars

    sr171soars New Member

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    Well, I was told it was FM but not in the range of the radio frequencies so I couldn't pick them up anyway...wouldn't be a bad idea if I could :D

    Read the link...nice article. Thanks for pointing it out. I agree with you on the speech range but I read somewhere that one could hear (with Freedom) as high as 11khz but that was it. I'll try to find the info.
     
  8. neecy

    neecy New Member

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    That article IS great. You should also read his book "Rebuilt: How becoming part computer made me more human" its fantastic.
     
  9. ayala920

    ayala920 New Member

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    I was going to comment with this book title! I just finished reading it, and was astounded by the amount of information Michael Chorost managed to pack into 200 pages. Great book.
     
  10. Boult

    Boult Active Member

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    Yeah, I don't know if you have visited his website; http://www.michaelchorost.com/ he's a writer though...
     
  11. neecy

    neecy New Member

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    Yes Michael Chorost is a very good writer. I really enjoyed his book, and his comparisons to hearing and deafness were really cool. That's why I use one of his quotes in my sig file :)
     
  12. Cheri

    Cheri Prayers for my dad. Premium Member

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    I do know that there are the differences between hearing aids and cochlear implants. While some might not benefit with cochlear implants or hearing aids, Looks like they're stuck with nothing. While there are some others who benefit with cochlear implants not with hearing aids, and there some can benefits with hearing aids don't need to get cochlear implants. Which means identifying differences between sounds, describing how pitch or loudness changes, and repeating back words and sentences, can hear phone and etc. (Most of those people are hard of hearing) I know two members of AD, that I've met in person can hear better with their hearing aids, Which Roadrunner and Vampy. I remember calling out his name and he turned around. It's like wow he can really hear with hearing aids, Same with Roadrunner too. ;)
     
  13. neecy

    neecy New Member

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    It all boils down to how much residual hearing is available to be worked with. Many deaf are able to do very well with hearing aids because they have enough residual hearing to benefit from them. Those with little or no residual hearing, who get no benefit from a hearing aid will most likely get some with a CI.
     
  14. Cheri

    Cheri Prayers for my dad. Premium Member

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    Not everybody, It depends on the individuals.
     
  15. deafdyke

    deafdyke Well-Known Member

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    Correction, the amount of resdiaul hearing can vary from awareness of enviromental sounds to being functional hoh and every and anything in between! It's probaly very rare that NO response to sound is gotten.
     
  16. sr171soars

    sr171soars New Member

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    Update on CI info...

    I just had a nice talk with my Audi (I was getting my second processor finally - it took forever to come in due to the color I chose [Blue]). Anyway, she got me straight and stated that the highest I could possibly hear at this point was about 7khz not the 11khz as I originally thought. She did point out that the 20khz threshold (the high end) is always a moving target as a newborn to toddler will probably hear that easily but it goes downward as one ages. That is probably very indicative of our noisy society.
     
  17. ismi

    ismi New Member

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    15) There are no instant setting options available to change to the appropriate environment

    Do you mean multiple programs, and possibly automatic switching? Because I know I've had aids that have done that. My previous set of aids (Phonak) had 3 programs, and I'm told the generation after that (same line, new model) switched automatically. My current aids don't exactly switch programs, but they do dynamic noise filtering, so they do adapt the the environment. And some of the current Oticons (not sure about other brands) have multiple programs - I think you can have them switch automatically or set it to manual only, as you wish.
     
  18. sr171soars

    sr171soars New Member

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    Thanks for bringing that point up.

    One question though, are these HAs you speak of digitals? Please excuse my ignorance as I only had analogs and now I obviously have a CI.
     
  19. Boult

    Boult Active Member

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    apparently so...
     
  20. ismi

    ismi New Member

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    My current aids are, as are the new Oticons I mentioned (I was thinking specifically of the Sumos and the Adaptos, but I think some, if not all, of their others are as well). The previous generation I mentioned were called ... wait for it ... programmables. Unfortunately, that particular model was controlled by a remote control for some idiotic reason (my audiologist speculated that the target market was geriatrics, for whom dexterity might be an issue).

    Current "digital" aids, the set I'm wearing now (or would be, if not for the fact that I'm waiting for a mastoidectomy) have multiple modes. They can be set to digital, analog, or a sort of happy medium. From watching my audiologist program it, and from what she tells me, the major distinction is that this mixed-mode gives more granularity (so there are more frequency bands that can be tweaked based on audiogram and personal preference), but not quite as much as the digital. The other major distinction, as I understand it, is that the digital mode tends to do more autonomous stuff (switching programs, squelching noise, compression) while the mixed mode acts more like an old analog aid (less switching of programs, less noise filtering, less compression).

    Most of her patients are young; she says that the younger patients tend to prefer the pure digital mode while older patients tend to prefer the mixed and analog modes. Whether this is actually due to age and adaptability to changing settings, the "In my day ..." phenomenon, or the tendency of the brain to mold to what it knows (sort of the same idea as with implanting CIs early) she doesn't know.

    I don't know for sure, not being all that familiar with CIs, but I suspect that the level of programmability and automated-ness is pretty much the same as with a digital BTE. Probably more so with a bodyworn CI, given that you have more room to play with, but otherwise I'd guess it's largely the same. The confusion, if that's the case, could be due to the fact that you're switching to a more modern technology that you haven't used before (and would be doing so even with HAs) or could be due to the fact that sometimes the more modern technologies aren't available in the most powerful aids (so, pre-CI, the aids available to you were less bleeding-edge). Again, I'm just SWAGing here - it's just a guess.
     

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