The decision to get a cochlear implant can be quite daunting and asking your surgeon some questions can help you to move forward with more confidence. The first step is to find out if a cochlear implant is the best choice for you. To determine this ask: Am I likely to obtain more benefit from a cochlear implant compared with my hearing aids? If you are likely to benefit and you feel it is the right time for you, there are some specific questions about the surgery you might want to ask. Will I lose the hearing I currently have? Are some implants better for keeping my remaining hearing? What does the surgery involve? Is there anything I can’t do after surgery? Will the surgery affect my balance or tinnitus (sounds in the ear)? How long will I be in the hospital? How long does it take until I can hear with the cochlear implant?
The answers to these questions will help you prepare for the surgery and understand what to expect. If you have decided to go ahead, you will also need to decide which cochlear implant is the right one for you and your lifestyle. You could ask:
What implants are available and what are their differences? If you are receiving only one implant, ask if there is an implant compatible with your other hearing aid so that they can work together post-surgery.
It is also important to consider what you enjoy in life and compare your needs to the options that each implant can provide. If hearing in water is important, you might ask about the options for swimming and bathing. Consider asking about phone use, connecting to your television or music and the ability of the implant to be upgraded for use with future technologies. It can also be important to ask about how the implants themselves work on the inside to replicate hearing. If choosing for your child, ask about wearing options, ease of use and monitoring and availability of accessories for listening in school. These questions will help you make a decision as to which implant might be best for you and why. It will also give you some information as to where to start if you want to do further research into your options. The choice of implant is a very personal decision. Explore all the options and choose what is right for you and your family. Whatever you decide, you will open up a whole new world of hearing.