High-Frequency Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Do you have problems hearing high-frequency sounds? Elizabeth's fictional story is based on experiences typical of people with high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss. If Elizabeth's background sounds like your own, an Electric Acoustic Stimulation (EAS) system could help you to hear.
Elizabeth has high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss, which means she can hear low-pitched sounds, like deep male voices, but most high-pitched sounds, like female voices or bells ringing, are muffled or missing. This type of hearing loss is common and can be treated with an Electric Acoustic Stimulation (EAS) system.
Looking back, I’d say there wasn’t really an “a-ha” moment when I realised I had hearing loss. Most of the time, I could carry on conversations without difficulty. Whenever I missed something, my husband would repeat it. I used my phone all the time, although I usually used speakerphone to make it a bit louder.
As time went on, I found it more and more challenging to follow conversations—especially in noisy settings, like a busy restaurant. I could hear my husband quite well, but I was really having difficulty understanding women’s voices. When we’d get home from an evening out, I’d feel mentally exhausted from straining to listen.
A Common Problem
Then one night at a dinner party, a new acquaintance noticed how much difficulty I was having. She was a general practitioner and she thought that I might have hearing loss. She recommended that I see a hearing specialist she knew. I was taken aback, and frankly, embarrassed. She assured me that hearing loss is very common and, like me, most people don’t even realise that they can do something about it.
She assured me that hearing loss is very common and, like me, most people don’t even realise that they can do something about it.
After a few hearing tests, my audiologist determined that I had pretty significant “high-frequency hearing loss”. That meant I could hear low-pitched sounds, like my husband’s voice, but all the high pitches—like female voices, a cat meowing, or birds chirping—were muffled or missing. My audiologist couldn’t determine exactly what caused my hearing loss, but he said it could be something in my family, or could have been caused by all the noise I was exposed to from managing a busy music venue.
I could hear low-pitched sounds but all the high pitches—like female voices, a cat meowing, or birds chirping—were muffled or missing.
Restoring the Balance
I tried hearing aids for many years, but I never really felt like they were right. Over time, I really noticed how many sounds I was missing. With the hearing aids, it was really hard to find the balance between low-pitched and high-pitched sounds, because I needed so much more volume for the high pitches.
My audiologist recommended that I consider an EAS system. He explained that EAS—electric acoustic stimulation—combined cochlear implant stimulation for the high pitches with hearing aid amplification for the low pitches. This hybrid approach could give me back a full range of sounds.
Taking the Next Steps
I went with my husband to meet with an ENT specialist. She explained that the implant would go under my skin behind my ear, while the audio processor would be worn on my ear, with a small ear-piece just like my hearing aids. The specialist told me that some people lose their remaining hearing ability through the surgery. But she also said that EAS is designed to protect my natural hearing as much as possible and there was a good chance I would still be able to naturally hear low-pitched sounds.
My family was very supportive, but I was still hesitant, and kept putting off the decision. Then came amazing news—my daughter was expecting. I was overjoyed! I knew at that moment that I could not let myself miss the sound of my first grandchild’s laughter. After talking again with my specialist, I decided that EAS was my best chance of experiencing that.
Bright and Clear
My surgery went pretty quickly; I was back on my feet the same day, and went home the next morning. I could hardly wait for my activation day—I wanted to try out my new ears! When my audiologist activated my implants for the first time, it was astounding. Although things sounded strange at first—and some of the lower-pitched sounds were a little quieter than before—there were also bright, clear high pitches I knew I hadn’t heard in years.
When I heard my baby granddaughter for the first time, I knew I wouldn’t trade my hearing for anything in the world.
The Right Choice
After just a few months, I was really comfortable with my new hearing. My daily rehabilitation exercises helped me to quickly improve my listening. Choosing to get hearing implants had been a big change—but when I heard my baby granddaughter for the first time, I knew I wouldn’t trade my hearing for anything in the world.
Why Elizabeth Chose MED-EL
Keeping the hearing she had left was Elizabeth's biggest concern when considering cochlear implantation. MED-EL’s EAS system, with its short and soft electrodes, is designed to preserve remaining hearing, and this was the most important factor for Elizabeth.
Speech in Noise
Not being able to understand a lot of speech left Elizabeth socially isolated and unable to connect to her world. A MED-EL cochlear implant has given her the confidence to meet up with friends in busy environments like restaurants and cafés.
Easy to Use
Elizabeth wasn’t interested in having to constantly change settings and use complicated gadgets. She much preferred MED-EL’s straightforward remote control and Automatic Sound Management technology that adapts to listening situations without manual changes.
Elizabeth knew that CI audio processors are developing at a fast rate. She wants to be sure that she can benefit from the latest technologies. MED-EL is the only company that makes its audio processors compatible with previous generations of implants dating back more than 20 years.
Elizabeth had already had a couple of MRIs in recent years. She read that SYNCHRONY 2 can undergo high-resolution MRI scans without surgery** to remove the magnet* and is covered under MED-EL's MRI guarantee.*** She knew immediately that this would be the right choice.
These profiles are composites based on real recipients’ experiences. These profiles should not be considered as medical advice or recommendations. These hearing loss profiles are designed to help people better understand the overall hearing journey. Every individual’s hearing is different, so you should speak to your clinician to find out what is best for your needs.
* The SYNCHRONY 2 cochlear implant is MR conditional. Recipients with a SYNCHRONY 2 cochlear implant may be safely MRI scanned at 0.2, 1.0, 1.5, and 3.0 Tesla following the conditions detailed in the instructions for use.
** Unless required for diagnostic reasons.
*** The terms and conditions of the MRI Guarantee can be found here.
Electric Acoustic Stimulation uses two technologies—a cochlear implant plus acoustic amplification—to cover the full range of hearing. If you have difficulty hearing high-frequency sounds, find out how EAS could help you.Discover More
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