I am an adult CI user who
has worn a hearing aid in both ears for more than thirty years. My level
of hearing and hearing loss has always been almost identical in both ears.
I have been wearing my HA with my CI since one month after I was activated
(March 1998). Although the adjustment to this combination took me
several months, I now obtain several "benefits" from this
(1) I can hear and modulate my speech more easily.
(2) I can hear better in certain types of background noise, especially in
situations where there are other competing conversations going on around me.
(3) I can localize sound: I know which direction the sound of a car is
coming from, for example.
(4) I can still hear a bit while changing a dead CI battery.
(5) I can significantly alleviate the tinnitus in my non-implanted ear by
keeping this ear "switched on."
(6) I can chat on the telephone in "stereo" (CI patched in to phone
adapter; HA on telecoil).
(7) I enjoy music (vocal and instrumental) much more with the HA on the other
ear providing some lower frequencies and "rounding out" the sound
(i.e., conveying the gradual fade-out of individual notes and the blending in
Over and above this little
laundry list of benefits, however, my resumption of HA use was psychologically
driven. Since my deafness (a progressive, cookie-bite audiogram) had
always been symmetrical, the sudden increase in speech and environmental sound
information on 'one side' of my head created a psycho-physical balance
problem. Switching the HA back on, after waiting one full month after
activation in order to acclimate myself to the CI sound, restored a sense of
balance and literally "centered" me. This made it easier for
me to gradually integrate the new sound information I was receiving from the
This CI-HA integration process
took several months and required patience, both on the part of my audiologist
and myself. Fortunately, we were 'both' up to the task and I now thoroughly
enjoy 'all' of my new hearing.