www.CiSurgeon.org - Information about Cochlear Implants.
Dr. Ravi N. Samy, MD, FACS

2/29/16

I am so very grateful to Dr. Samy and his staff for the daily miracle of hearing which I now experience as a result of my Cochlear Implant.

My hearing loss was the result of meningitis at age 18 months – I lost different ranges of hearing in both ears. At age 9 I was fitted with my first hearing aid which was a great help, but I feel that the overexposure to noise from the hearing aid caused Tinnitus.

Around age 30 I experienced a severe drop in hearing on my right side; at that time I switched my hearing aid to the left side. Over the years the hearing in the right ear completely eroded until there was nothing left. At that time I realized I was a candidate for a Cochlear Implant.

I put off pursuing a CI until my children were in college. How I wish I had done it sooner! Words cannot describe the new world opened to me as a result of my implant. Life is more relaxed now, it isn’t so much work to communicate with others, and as a result, daily interactions are so much more enjoyable. Relationships are easier. I am able to take on a leadership position which I could have never handled before the implant. And best of all, being able to hear well has given a huge boost to my confidence and self-esteem.

My surgery went smoothly and I went home the next day. Activation (when you put on your processor and they “turn you on”) occurred three weeks later. I knew everyone would sound like Minnie Mouse but I did not realize how soon that changes; people quickly begin to sound normal. It is important to practice hearing using the tools available to you; my favorite was listening to a book on tape while following along with the actual book. I found the website Angel Sounds to be a little more work but extremely valuable in helping me to discriminate different sounds. The exercises help you easily determine what you are good at and what needs more help. In general, simply focusing on the everyday sounds and voices you are hearing is an important way to strengthen your listening, understanding, and discrimination skills.

Once I got through that initial feeling of being overwhelmed by all the accessories, I began to make them work for me in fabulous ways. The Remote Control unit is always nearby, allowing me to cut down background noise in a restaurant or increase the range (distance) at which I can hear my yoga instructor as she moves around the room. One day in yoga class I found tears of joy streaming down my face as I realized what a peaceful experience yoga had become for me now that I am able to close my eyes and accurately hear the instructor. Namaste!

The Phone Clip is extremely helpful in providing hands-free use of my cell phone and it even alerts me when a text comes in. I am able to hear on different types of cell phones even without the Phone Clip – this was Dr. Samy’s hope for me from the beginning, despite my not having used the phone on that ear for 25 years.

Over the holidays when my family gathered for the first time since my activation occurred in mid-August, it quickly became apparent how different the dynamic had become now that I could hear everyone, whether I was looking at their face or not. No longer did working in the kitchen or being in a different room prevent me from being a part of the conversation. Naturally, this greatly increased my enjoyment of family events. A frequent, funny occurrence happened several times when family members realized they couldn’t make comments behind my back anymore! I am more in control of conversations now, and I love the feeling that gives me!

The Mini-Mic is another accessory I enjoy using; it primarily helps me hear the person/people speaking to me in noisy environments, such as a restaurant, where I simply place it on the table. I can also place it next to the television to gain a wonderful boost in sound when I’m sitting farther away from the TV than normal. This last trick I learned at a CI Support Group meeting. This group was invaluable before my implantation in helping me understand the journey ahead of me. And I have learned many tips from the group since my activation.

While I continue to learn new things at the CI support meetings, it’s now my goal to help potential CI recipients who attend the meetings. Support from other recipients and your family members is so important to your success as a CI recipient. It is a process, not an overnight transformation. Dr. Samy has many helpful staff members to assist in you in this journey. I highly recommend becoming a CI recipient to anyone who qualifies for one. It is life changing!

Becky Osborne

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2/19/16

Dr. Samy and Associates,

I want to share my appreciation of you and your staff by sharing my experience as a cochlear implant recipient.

A little history first: I have inherited SNL in both ears, high frequencies.  My father was nearly deaf when he passed, also high frequencies.  I had been wearing hearing aids for about 30 years, but needed them well before that.  I noticed reduction in hearing in my 20s.  I was a good lip/speech reader and was able to hide it for years. 

My hearing continued to get worse and worse.  I could no longer hear: timers, door bells, phones, smoke detectors, my daughter in law, children’s voices and cries, etc.  I had lost all of my high frequencies and the hearing aid specialists were no longer able to help me.  It was then that I decided to investigate cochlear implants for myself.  I got the material, started going to the community support group meetings and then got the audiology exam.  I was a candidate for the Hybrid!!

When I met with you for the first time, you, and your staff, clearly explained what would happen during and after surgery, and answered all of my questions. You even gave me your email address in case I had other questions after my initial visit. Sheree Sims, your administrative assistant, was able to schedule and then move up my first implant surgery in 2014. During the follow up visit at 2 months, you asked when I would have my second side implanted. I had not considered it, as I thought one was all the insurance would cover. You encouraged me to have your staff check with my insurance and, sure enough, I was once again eligible for a Hybrid on my other side. I had it implanted six months after the first. I have still retained my low frequencies in both ears, so far, and am expected to do so, thanks to your attentiveness.

Dr. Theresa Hammer, has been equally kind and patient with me during the rehabilitation process. She has been willing to really listen to my requests and needs and has adjusted my programming accordingly. Because of her attention to detail, I am able to hear optimally now.

You all have been amazingly kind, and even took the time to answer all of my questions and emails in a timely manner.  My life has been enriched and blessed with sounds I had long ago forgotten. I am especially looking forward to hearing my future grandchildren!

An ecstatic recipient.

Deb Turner

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2/16/16

Dr Samy,

In 1999 using the telephone became absolutely impossible for me. This made work a lot more difficult as well as creating some major feelings of despair! At the same time, if I could not read lips then conversation was not really possible either. I was using a wide variety of coping mechanisms to get through each day ‐ like reading body language, listening to voice inflections and watching context very closely. My wife was constantly running interference to help me function.

Implants appeared to be the absolute end of the road. They were an indicator that my life and communication skills were only going to go downhill.

When I was tested for implants in 2010 my wife came along with me. She was almost in tears when faced with an official evaluation of how poor my hearing actually was. For me it was an unwelcome observation of what was hammered into me on a daily basis and which I considered better kept secret. Today I am very glad that I went ahead with the procedure. My two cochlear implants are simply fabulous without any qualifications!!

Sound from the implants is so much clearer and more precise than from hearing aids. The telephone is now very easy, and, I can also use a speakerphone without any problems. Being tired at the end of the day from working to hear is a thing of the past. Music has come back into my life and is a great, great pleasure. Relationships with the people in my life are more relaxed, more satisfying and way more fun. One very nice characteristic of the implants is that temporary deafness after being around loud sounds does not occur. Another great benefit is talking to new people and conversing with them instead of avoiding them like I did previously.

My experience in life is that I have mostly regretted the things which I have not done. Not getting implants would have been the worst decision of my life, hands down.

The implants have enabled me to restart my life with new hope and what seems like unlimited possibilities. The relief of being able to function in a world of sound while actually enjoying the experience is a treasure beyond words. I thank you for this wonderful reawakening – it is an awesome thing that you do!

Brian Gallat

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9/4/2015

Dear Dr. Samy,

I don’t have the correct words, or enough of them, to thank you for the new life your skills and the hybrid have given me. Fast talking and noise still cause trouble but there is so much more that I can hear. THANKS is not a good enough word, but I’m afraid that it is all I can think of. So THANKS and praise for what you have offered to me. I only hope the other ear will be possible. It is a miracle you have offered to many! It can not be taken for granted.