Yesterday I had my one-year follow-up appointment with Dr. Leonetti, my skull-base surgeon/ENT, and it could not have gone better! After he wished me a “happy ANniversary,” (get it? AN = acoustic neuroma?), he reviewed my MRI scans from May and told me how pleased he was with the post-surgical results. “Dr. Anderson did a tremendous job! Don’t tell him I said that though.” I had to remind him that he, too, did an amazing job! My head scar is a serious work of art.
I’m scheduled for another MRI in November, per Dr. Anderson’s orders, which will be the 4th MRI I’ve had post-surgery. If Dr. Leonetti had it his way, he wouldn’t order another MRI for three years! That’s how confident he feels about the job they did on Trudy and how satisfied he is with the results. His comments certainly put me at ease!
My second appointment was with Stephanie, a wonderful audiologist, to assess my hearing. She also tested my hearing before surgery last year and remembered my case quite well; she even referred to me as the “miracle child.” Can you believe that?! Anyway, the results were as expected: 100% hearing on the right, fully deaf on the left—duh.
(I too, had to sit in a soundproof box like the lady in blue above. That’s also not Stephanie, but I’m just trying to give you a visual)…
The good news is SSD (single-sided deafness)-individuals have options to aid in hearing. We discussed two of the options. They are called the BAHA, bone-anchored hearing, and CROS, contralateral routing of offside signals, hearing aids.
First we discussed the BAHA implant. This option requires surgery, yuck! “Bone-anchored hearing aids use a surgically implanted abutment to transmit sound by direct conduction through bone to the inner ear, bypassing the external auditory canal and middle ear. A titanium prosthesis is surgically embedded into the skull with a small abutment exposed outside the skin. A sound processor sits on this abutment and transmits sound vibrations to the titanium implant. The implant vibrates the skull and inner ear, which stimulate the nerve fibers of the inner ear, allowing hearing.” It looks something like this:
The coolest part was Stephanie was able to let me “try” it out by using a BAHA simulator. I plugged my right ear, she spoke to me in my left (while wearing the simulator), and I could actually hear out of the deaf ear! Pretty amazing!
The other option we discussed was the CROS. These hearing aids “involve two behind-the-ear units connected either by wire or by wireless transmission. The CROS systems use the conductivity of the skull to transmit sound.” Stephanie told me I can order a 45-day trial for a small-ish fee. I am looking forward to trying these out in different settings (noisy restaurant, loud bar, social outing at a friend’s house, classroom, etc.) The CROS hearing aids look like this:
Both the BAHA and CROS options are pretty expensive, but it is nice to know I have options to aid my hearing, as this has been one of my biggest struggles and complaints post-surgery. I’m just happy I’m here to discuss these options! 🙂
How ’bout these facial nerves?! Happy ANnivesary to me! Cheers!