Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Got some tentative dates for the CI

Got an email from the surgery/appointments coordinator at the CI Center with the tentative dates for CI surgery.

Follow up appointment- 2/24/12 @ 10:45
Pre Op- 3/13/12 @ 11:30
Pre admissions- 3/13/12 @ 1:00
Surgery- 3/14/12 @ 7:30 (Check in would be at 6:00 am)
Post Op- 3/29/12 @ 10:45 am
Activation- 3/29/12 @ 8:30 am
Am seriously hoping I can stick to these dates, but of course have to double-check and such, make sure they work out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Did I just hear 'principal punch'?

Had a quick hearing test with the CI audiologist today. She was making her trip through Wyoming to meet with clients for mappings and such, and agreed to do a quick hearing test with me. Originally I was to go to Cheyenne tomorrow, but then I found out she was coming HERE the day before. So I went to the special education services building and was directed to the audiology office. The school audiologist is excited that I'm working on getting the implant. He made a copy of my Medicare and Medicaid cards for the CI audiologist since she wanted to take the copy back to her office to add to my file. The CI audie and I went into the soundbooth. Took her a few minutes to get her laptop up and running. She pulled up a program and we got started. It was just a quick test, not a full-out test with beeps and tones. Just sentences. And these were difficult sentences, oh my goodness! And there were different voices being used too (male and female). I understood the female voices better than the male's for the most part. I got maybe 2 full sentences right on, but all the rest were a bunch of mumble-mumble-WORD-mumble blah blah blah blah what?

One sentence said something about personal touch like "I'm going to add some personal touch" or something like that. I could've swore it said "principal punch." Anyway, we did 2 different rounds of sentences. First round, I got 7%, second round, 21%. Well, I definitely meet Medicare's criteria for cochlear implant coverage! CI Audie and I talked some more, trying to work out a plan of some sorts. We're going to shoot for a March/April surgery date for the cochlear implant. I'd rather do it sooner, but I'd have to travel to Denver, and with the holidays and winter coming up, I decided it'd be better to wait until early Spring.

When the audie gets back to Denver, she'll speak with the surgeon and see if we can schedule the initial visit with the surgeon and the pre-op into one appointment, so I wouldn't have to make two separate trips. She also mentioned she was planning to come back here sometime in April, so if we could do the surgery in March, then I could see the audie when she comes here for activation. It would be great if this happened, but we'll see what happens.

My Medicare coverage starts up next month, and they will cover 80% of the implant, and Wyoming Medicaid will cover the remaining 20%. Late last week, the audie had heard that Medicaid wasn't covering implants for adults anymore, but that applies to Colorado. Wyoming Medicaid is still covering them (I confirmed this via email with someone from Wyoming Medicaid's office on Monday and got the update "covered services" manual as well).  Seems like everything's all falling into place for me, finally. I've been working at this for years, since I was in high school. I'm glad I can finally progress with the implant. I'm still going to do the left ear alone, and I'm definitely choosing Advanced Bionic's device as well. Hopefully by spring next year the new Neptune processor will be available. Audie told me I should be able to get 2 processors, so if that's the case, I'd like to have the Harmony for everyday general use, and the Neptune for back up and for being in wet situations (I do have some very young nephews who do like to splash and squirt water guns).

Audie told me I should be hearing from someone from the CI Center's office within the next few days or so, to get things more set in stone/planned out basically.

And now for hearing aid stuff... I see my hearing aid audie later this afternoon to have a new earmold made for the right ear. I don't think the current earmold fits as well anymore. Been more than a year, so it's about time for a new one anyway. Should be fun! Two different audiologists in one day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Advanced Bionics back on the market in the US

Advanced Bionics Announces FDA Approval For U.S. Market Re-Entry Of The HiRes 90K Cochlear Implant

-- Distribution of HiRes 90K Cochlear Implants in the United States Now Under Way --

VALENCIA, Calif., September 13, 2011 – Advanced Bionics (AB), the only U.S.-based manufacturer of cochlear implants and a subsidiary of Switzerland-based Sonova, announced today the approval of the FDA for immediate market re-entry of the HiRes 90K cochlear implant in the United States. In recent months, Advanced Bionics received approval from several other regulatory agencies, including Health Canada and the European Notified Body, TÜV, to resume distribution of the HiRes 90K implant to Canada and countries accepting the CE Mark.

“Everyone at AB and Sonova is excited that we are back on the market globally. We stand by our commitment to putting patients first and delivering high-quality products for the best possible hearing experience,” said Hansjuerg Emch, Group Vice President Medical of the Sonova Group. “The support we have received across the industry for our integrity has been incredible.”

AB’s first priority is the safety and well-being of patients, which is why it instituted a voluntary recall in November 2010 after becoming aware of a rare issue with the HiRes 90K cochlear implant. Of the more than 28,000 implanted HiRes 90K devices, only two (0.007%) explanted devices were confirmed to have this issue. In the months since the recall was instituted, AB implemented changes to its manufacturing process to ensure that there is no effect on the safety or efficacy of the HiRes 90K cochlear implant.

While off the market, AB actively continued all research and development projects that were under way prior to the recall.

“Our upcoming launches and products currently in development will continue to lead the industry and help our patients hear their best and live a fulfilled life,” said Dr. Gerhard Roehrlein, CEO and CTO of Advanced Bionics, LLC.

About Advanced Bionics
Advanced Bionics is a global leader in developing the most advanced cochlear implant systems in the world. Founded in 1993 and working with Phonak under the Sonova Group since 2009,
AB develops cutting-edge cochlear implant technology that restores hearing to the deaf and allows recipients to hear their best.

With sales in over 50 countries and a proven track record for developing high-performing, state- of-the-art products, AB’s talented group of technologists and professionals from all over the world are driven to succeed, work with integrity and stay firmly committed to quality.

To learn more about AB and its revolutionary cochlear implant technology, please visitwww.advancedbionics.com.

Media Contact:
Cheryl Garma
Advanced Bionics, LLC

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Voluntary Recall Notification for Nucleus CI500 cochlear implant range

Voluntary Recall Notification for Nucleus CI500 cochlear implant range

Cochlear Limited is undertaking a voluntary recall of the unimplanted Cochlear Nucleus CI500 cochlear implant range.
While less than 1% of CI512 implants have failed since launch in 2009 , Cochlear has identified a recent increase in the number of Nucleus CI512 implant failures.   In an abundance of caution and with our recipients in mind, Cochlear has issued a voluntary recall of the Nucleus CI500 range of cochlear implants while it further investigates the issue.
No implants outside the Cochlear Nucleus CI500 range are affected by this voluntary recall including Nucleus Freedom implants which remain available.
The Nucleus 5 external devices (Nucleus CP810 Sound Processor) and any previous generation sound processors are not affected by this recall.
It is important to note that all existing Nucleus CI512 implant recipients can continue to use their system as normal.
If a Nucleus CI512 failure occurs, the implant safely shuts down.  In the event of a failure, recipients can be re-implanted with the Nucleus Freedom implant range which remains available.  Nucleus Freedom is fully compatible with the Nucleus 5 Sound Processor System which is not affected by this recall.
For people considering a cochlear implant, Cochlear recommends the use of the Nucleus Freedom range of Cochlear implants which are fully compatible with the Nucleus 5 sound processor system.  This combination of Nucleus Freedom and Nucleus 5 sound processor system does not sacrifice any of the performance benefits of the Nucleus 5 processor system.
For more than 25 years, cochlear implant reliability has been of paramount importance to Cochlear, and we remain committed to providing high quality, high reliable cochlear implant systems.
We sincerely apologise for any concern this causes.  I f you have any questions regarding this please do not hesitate in contacting your local Cochlear office.

Cochlear shares plummet on product recall

Cochlear shares plummet on product recall
Eli Greenblat
September 12, 2011 - 10:29AM
Shares in bionic ear implant company Cochlear fell 17 per cent in early trade after the global leader in hearing technology announced a voluntary recall of its unimplanted CI500 Cochlear range.
Shares were down as much as $19.41, or 27 per cent, to $52.77. They were recently 18 per cent lower at $60.00.
The Sydney-based company said in an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange that it had begun notifying healthcare professionals and regulatory authorities about the recall.
Cochlear said the financial impact of the recall was difficult to forecast at this stage.
Cochlear said in its announcement that all existing recipients with a Nucleus C1500 series implant can continue to use their system as normal.
Cochlear said less than 1 per cent of CI512 implants had failed since its launch in 2009, but that it had identified a recent increase in the number of Nucleus CI512 implant failures.
To be cautious the company had decided to recall the Nucleus CI500 range of implants while it investigates the cause of the problem.
Cochlear has implanted its bionic ear device in more than 250,000 people over the past 30 years and the company has managed to dodge the types of problems that have led many of its competitors to recall their own devices due to health-related problems linked to the devices.
Over the past 10 years its key rivals in the United States were forced onto the sidelines due to problems with their own devices, handing Cochlear a clear run to capture a bulk of the North American market. The last time a rival of Cochlear was forced out of the market the Australian company boosted its market share well above 75 per cent.
The affected CI500 implant range includes the Nucleus CI512 implant plus the following implants which are only available in limited markets - Nucleus CI513, Nucleus CI551 double array implant and Nucleus ABI 541 Auditory Brainstem Implant.
Its Nucleus 5 external device range and any other previous generation externals are not subject to this recall.
More than 10 years ago Cochlear was the target of a US Department of Justice investigation into payments made to physicians and providers. No charges were ever brought against Cochlear or any of its executives.
The company recently unveiled a full-year profit of $180.11 million, up 16 per cent, as revenue increased 10 per cent to $809.6 million.
Continued technological innovation has helped Cochlear maintain its dominant market share in the implant industry, with its Nucleus range of implants touted as the next generation series of devices that would help Cochlear stay ahead of its competitors as well as encouraging greater take-up rates among doctors and patients.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Purple VRS

And I am now  an owner of a Purple VRS phone number. Whaaaaat? I didn’t even know you could download the P3 software to any computer with a webcam and use it to make relay calls or video calls (I knew they had their own Purple Netbooks they were offering/selling). Cool! Don’t have a webcam on the desktop, only on the netbook. A deaf friend suggested I download P3, as she needed to ask me something about photo but she couldn’t explain it. But hey, at least it’s free so why not. So I have an i711 Relay personal number (which I’ve had for 2-3 years now), and now a Purple VRS phone number (and you can make IP-Relay calls through the P3 software too!). Hm! So now I've got 2 different options for making relay calls.

Oh and I just now discovered the Blackberry has applications to make relay calls with too. Usually I just use AIM instant messenger to make my calls with i711. At least with AIM, my AIM name is connected to my i711.com account, so I can just say "audiology" and they'll dial the number for audiology and connect me, I don't have to type in a number! I couldn't do that with the i711 relay application on the Sidekicks. Don't know how it will work on the Blackberry but couldn't hurt to try it out I guess.... maybe. Gotta read the reviews of the apps first.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Advanced Bionics device coming

So Advanced Bionics has a new processor coming out, huh? The Neptune. Someone over in Europe attended a conference and found out a bit about the new device. That person also scanned and uploaded the brochure for the new device as well. Check it out! http://www.mediafire.com/?5swv2zy4wwn60tr (XPS) or http://www.mediafire.com/?0mr216dvmxw0vfc (PDF).

Looks like a pretty neat processor, and you can go swimming with it on! Neat! You don't even have anything on your ear. There's the coil, then the processor is a small body worn processor. From what I've read on the HearingJourney.com forums, the Neptune is due to be released in Europe in September. As for the US, who  knows, since the FDA has to approve of these things. They still need to re-approve AB's implants first. But I do think this is real exciting for Advanced Bionics!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Supero is a weird hearing aid

I've not been wearing the Supero hearing aid in my left ear much for the last few months. Mostly, it just sits in the Dry and Store. I thought maybe there was something wrong with it, that it wasn't working properly. But when I tried it out on my right ear over the weekend, no problems! Until, oops my hair brushed against the mic on the Supero, and book bye bye. Oh duh! How did I forget the Supero would frequently cut off due to hair or static electricity messing with it? Even when I first got it in May 2004, I had this issue. Of course, then, it didn't happen as frequently. And it usually gets worse when there's moisture. But even after sitting in the Dry and Store overnight, it'd still cut off frequently. It's kind of pointless for me to keep wearing the Supero in the left ear, if it's going to frequently cut off without my noticing anything for hours (since I can't hear anything at all whether or not the hearing is actually working). The point of the hearing aid in the left ear is to keep the ear simulated for the cochlear implant, but it sure isn't going to get any simulation with a hearing aid that's been cut off.

I am going to stop by audiology after work and the assistant will take a look and see if something can be done about it. I do recall the Supero having been sent in once last year for repairs, had some components replaced, new casing... Ah I don't know. I just don't get the Supero at all! I've not had this issue at all with the Naida! I think even my friend who wears Superos have had the same issue from time to time too. If the issue can't be resolved with my Supero, I'm just going to go find my old analog purple hearing aid, and wear that for simulation purposes. At least then I'd know it won't be cutting off on me, just need to be careful with the volume wheel as sometimes it'll turn up or down very easily on its own. Only con with that would be I'd have to keep some size 13 batteries on hand (easier to have both hearing aids using 675's, so I'm not having to buy 2 different size batteries). We'll see what happens I suppose.

Also, I recently switched my wireless phone service from T-Mobile to AT&T. I wasn't at all that impressed with the new Android Sidekick that T-Mobile has released. From watching the demo videos that popped up online, I just didn't quite like how the menu was set up on it, etc. I spent about two weeks last month internet relay calling AT&T and Verizon, using their online customer support chat, and visiting the stores at the mall, getting information, comparing devices and prices, etc. Everyday I would keep checking the status of AT&T taking over Alltel in Wyoming, and checking different devices on both Verizon's and AT&T's websites. I went into the Verizon store a few times to play with their different phones. Then when AT&T finally arrived, I played with their phones too.

The Blackberry Torch from AT&T grabbed my attention. QWERTY keyboard, touch screen, nice size screen, decent camera (5 mp; the other Blackberry's cameras were 2 or 3 mp's). I was just really impressed with it. That was that, I decided I was getting the Torch! So I ordered it online, requested to have my number switched over from T-Mobile. Free overnight shipping, activation fee waived, I only paid about $52. Then on April 20, I activated the Blackberry (the same day my contract with T-Mobile expired), filled out the application for the TAP plan and a doctor from the audiology's office signed off on it. I faxed in the application and within two or three days, I was switched over to the 200MB TAP plan. Awesome! The whole switching over, activating, etc. processes, they were all easy and smooth going. I've not had any problems at all. I'm still getting used to the different QWERTY set up (the QWERTY on the sidekicks is more similar to the full keyboard on the keyboard, but on the Blackberry, everything's squished together into 4 rows). I still frequently forget to hit the alt key if I want to use a number or punctuation. But I'll get more used to it as I keep using it. And the camera on it is great! It even has different settings/programmings for different situations, which is pretty neat. Sending photos via text messaging or to Facebook/Twitter/etc., much faster than on the Sidekick. I am extremely happy so far.

Have been going to physical therapy once a week for my headache issues. I've been having a lot of tension headaches in the last year (lasting weeks, even months at a time without a break). The therapy is helping a bit, and it helps that I've been drinking more water too. Therapist put me on the NeuroCom once, to get an idea of what my balance was like and that sort of thing. Found out I have a vestibular dysfunction, but that's no surprise at all, considering I had meningitis when I was 2 (and with my deafness and vision issues, all that combined can cause problems with the vestibular system).. And doctors told my parents I'd have issues with my balance for life. This week, we worked on my balance, and he gave me a few balance exercises to do at home. He's going to put me back on the NeuroCom next week, see if my balance has improved any. Hopefully it will have improved somewhat, if I keep working on my balance exercises at home.

And now, I shall quit rambling for the time being. Got things to work on/do/etc.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meningitis deaths prompt CDC to recommend vaccine for teens

Meningitis deaths prompt CDC to recommend vaccine for teens

WY meningitis vaccine bill moves forward


Meningitis vaccine bill moves forward

buy this photoRoosevelt High School senior Sierra Sterling, 17, testifies in Casper via video hook-up to the state Senate Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee on Wednesday morning. The committee voted unanimously to pass a bill written by Roosevelt students that would require Wyoming children to be vaccinated for meningitis. (Tim Kupsick/Star-Tribune)

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A bill that would require Wyoming children to receive meningitis vaccinations cleared a legislative committee Wednesday.

The vaccinations would protect against bacterial meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. The disease can be fatal and is more common among young adults.

State health officials already have the authority to make meningitis vaccinations mandatory. But they don't have the money to fund such a requirement. The legislation would provide for $335,000 annually to pay for the vaccinations, which cost about $80 a dose.

Students at Roosevelt High School in Casper wrote the legislation. They watched via live video hookup as the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee unanimously voted in favor of the bill.

Senior Sierra Sterling told lawmakers the students decided to get involved after hearing the story of a Colorado college student who died shortly after contracting the disease.

Funding the program would protect future generations of students, Sterling said.

"Who could put a price on a loved one?" she asked the committee.

Wyoming now offers the bacterial meningitis vaccine to children for a minimal administration fee. Last year, 3,400 children received the vaccine, State Health Officer Dr. Brent Sherard told the committee.

Making the vaccine mandatory would boost immunization rates, Sherard said. Among the state's adolescents, vaccination rates for meningitis are considerably lower than rates for the DTaP vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough, according to figures from the National Immunization Survey. The DTaP vaccine is mandatory.

Under the bill approved by the committee, children would have to reach a certain age before they are required to receive the meningitis vaccination. Phasing in the vaccine over several years will be less expensive than immunizing all children at once.

Vaccinating all children between 11 and 18 during a single year would cost the state $2.3 million, according to a state Health Department estimate.

The legislation, which now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee, does not specify at what age children will be required to be vaccinated. The Health Department would make that decision if the bill becomes law.

Bacterial meningitis can kill within hours of a person feeling ill. Its symptoms -- fever, headache and a stiff neck -- initially mimic less serious illnesses, said Sen. Bill Landen, R-Casper, who sponsored the legislation.

"Frankly, it is one of the most feared infectious diseases we have," he said.

Meningitis is contagious and people in community settings, like college dormitories, are at increased risk of being infected. That fact hit home with the students who wrote the bill, Sterling said following the vote.

"It is scary you could get this disease and not even 24 hours later you could be dead," she said.

SOURCE: http://trib.com/news/local/d2c717b5-a40d-5c89-b692-e291581d031b.html

I am completely supportive of this bill, and I do hope it passes. Meningococcal meningitis is very scary stuff. I didn't have this type (I had HIB meningitis), but I have seen the effects it's had on people of all ages. It is a very debilitating disease, and even deadly. Brain damage, hearing loss, loss of limbs, heavy scarring, life-long medical problems, etc. Get vaccinated!