I have emailed my audiologist, and she just got back to me today, basically saying it could be possible for me to go bilateral with Medicare coverage.
I spoke with Dr. ***** and I think we can get it covered if you want to pursue a 2nd implant. Medicare rules state that you must be able to meet their qualifications with your current implant – and since we implanted your poorer ear; I think you would meet their guidelines. Let me know if you want to pursue a 2nd implant.
Since I had my bad ear (dead ear) implanted, there's a good chance I will meet Medicare's CI coverage criteria and they will cover it. When I first sent the clinic an email regarding the possibility of going bilateral, the office person right off the bat said the clinic did not do bilateral implants for those who have Medicare coverage. Which I thought was odd, since I was hearing from other implantees online who were able to get bilateral coverage with Medicare. So I emailed my audiologist, and she spoke with the surgeon about this, and got back to me saying it is possible. Medicare does not say anything about bilateral implantation in their criteria, does not say they only do unilateral implantation, that sort of thing. And just knowing there are other adults who were able to get the second implant coverage, I knew there was a possibility it could be possible for me as well. But of course, had to contact the clinic/audiologist and have them do some research and discussing.
It would be nice if I could get the second implant done this summer, before school starts up again in September. But who knows if that would be possible. In the meantime, I will keep in touch with my audiologist, and discuss this with my family, and consider my options.
I just feel like I would do better if I had bilateral implants, and was able to take full advantage of all the new features available with the Naida CIs from Advanced Bionics. They have UltraZoom, which I've heard is handy for noisy situations, and they even have bilateral features as well. A single implant processor wouldn't be able to use UltraZoom, one would need to be bilateral to take advantage of that feature and DuoPhone, and some of the other features. My hearing aid audiologist had to call Phonak and get help with creating a specific program on my Naida hearing aid for noisy situations, since I couldn't use the Zoom features since I only had one hearing aid. So if I went bilateral, I think that would open up my world even more and give me more opportunities to take full advantages of the current new technology, and improve my hearing more.
It's a lot to think about, for sure. But I am indeed seriously considering going bilateral. My implant picks up on more sounds that my hearing aid doesn't pick up on (clock ticking, and other random little sounds like that). Just on Saturday, I was over at my mom and stepdad's house, talking to my mom, and I realized I was hearing a clock ticking in the living room. I removed the headpiece for a few minutes, and couldn't hear it with the hearing aid. I'm just amazed with what cochlear implants can do. Been a bit more than 2 years, and there are always new sounds I encountered that has me amazed at the technology available, and wishing for more.