Wednesday, October 31, 2012

From Freedoms to N5s

Aiden finally joined the bandwagon and got the (not so) new Cochlear Nucleus 5 system (external) last week (they actually came out within the same year that Aiden was implanted, so they're about three years new and who knows when the next upgrade will be out). We were at a CI clinic who would not submit for an upgrade to the latest and greatest unless the current external equipment was five years old OR it could be proven that the newest equipment allowed for better hearing (which we tried and it didn't work). I get this and we loved our audiologist there, so we decided to just wait it out since his Freedoms were doing just fine. Once I found out though, they wouldn't submit for repairs with his Freedoms either (which were out of warranty), I had no choice but to switch clinics. (Yes, I could have bought the extended warranty offered by Cochlear, but why do that when our insurance will cover repairs/replacements at a cheaper cost ... I just needed a clinic who would submit the claim if anything did happen).

Anyway, it was very hard to switch as we love us some Dr. Rachel. Long story short, she has always went above and beyond for us and it was there that we finally reached a point of stable maps. She was also the one who completely stepped up when I called her from JTC in a tizzy, and said, "I want to try this phonemic mapping approach." As soon as we returned to Ohio, we did just that. She.is.ABOVE AND BEYOND.AMAZING. We are so lucky to have had her as part of our journey, but we had to move on.

BUT, before making the final switch, I called our local CI clinic and asked them if they'd consider the phonemic mapping approach with Aiden, if they wouldn't, we'd stay put. So be it, we met another amazing audiologist who stepped right up to the plate, worked with Dr. Rachel, and Project Talk, to understand this new phenomena of "out of the booth mapping". Our new audi got her whole team on board, including the team's AVT who came in and worked with us AS A TEAM to make sure Aiden's maps were up to par and that he was in fact hearing all sounds of speech (prior to the booth, in the booth, then after the booth). SIMPLY.AMAZING.

and I think this is one of his best maps yet.

OH, and the reason for this post, they submitted for the latest Cochlear N5s.

Some differences:

  • much smaller (see pics below)
  • Splash proof - he can wear them through sprinklers, in the rain, playing in a pool or in the bath, but cannot fully submerge his head with them.
  • older recipients have claimed being able to hear ending sounds crisper with them. Aiden's teacher reported that he seemed more in-tune and chatty since he rec'd them.
  • the controller is on the processor - so now it's just the processor, the coil, and the rechargeable battery vs the processor, the controller, and the rechargeable battery;
  • the coil and coil cord are separate vs both together; this is good because if one is bad, you just have to pay for that and not both together.
  • the processor has a tiny blue dot indicating the left ear and a red one for the right; so helpful t for siblings, grandmas, and friends (and mom & dad) to know which CI goes on which ear.
  • did I mention they're smaller??!!! LOVE

Funny story - when they busted out the big ol' briefcase of choices, all Aiden wanted was the PINK CAMO covers.

{SMILE}.

I'm all about encouraging him to play with dolls and play house and all types of toys (in fact, his favorite is his little people house, which I LOVE), but sorry dude, not getting the pink camo covers for your new CIs. His favorite color right now is pink, which is just fine (Ryan always wanted to be the pink power ranger when he was four), but pink camo covers, not happening.

Let's move on. Check out the differences:

front view with Freedoms (and his first ever school picture)
front view with new N5s! you can't see them!
Freedom (minus snug-fit) vs. N5s (which he doesn't wear the snug-fit with since the ear hook is much sturdier and holds on better - we do still use the critter clip though).
Look how much more slender the N5s are
Such a difference! We LOVE them!
and yet to come (once I can get time to edit it), what Aiden thinks of his new CIs.

and for those who haven't switched or recently switched PLEASE NOTE!
We found out the hard way that the 1 magnet on the N5s can be a bit stronger than the 1 magnet on the Freedom. When I was washing Aiden's hair the other day he kept saying "it hurts" so I checked out his magnet sites to find one side was near infection and scabbed over and the other was a little red. I immediately put some Neosporin on the sites and called his doctor and audiologist. I then called Cochlear and they sent me the 1/2 strength magnet (another difference - Freedoms didn't have 1/2 strength), which I received the very next day. He hasn't worn the left CI for two days now as we wait for that side to completely heal. His audiologist told me that she has seen both cases, where the N5 magnet was stronger and on some it seemed weaker. Lesson learned for mom to check the magnet sites much more frequently!

4 comments:

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Tammy,

Hurray for YOU, for making good decisions - when to roll with things and when to change and "push". I'm convinced that Aiden wouldn't be doing nearly as well without your good mom-sense.

So glad he's doing well with the new technology, and so thankful for what is available to us :D

Julie G

bioniclissa said...

I switched from freedoms to N5 around a month ago and since then there has been NO change in my hearing(one of the issues I'm going to bring up at my next appt)
Regarding magnet size I went from a 2 to a 3 :0 I have been a size 2 since a day 12 yrs ago!

dlefler said...

Oh my goodness, the N5's are SO MUCH SMALLER! Aiden is, of course, as cute as ever. I have some serious catching up to do on blogs - I feel so "behind!"

Alice said...

I think he could rock the pink camo!