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Pacific Northwest Cochlear Implant Club Newsletter

The official newsletter for the Pacific Northwest Cochlear Implant Club.

Note: this newsletter has been edited in spots to keep downloading time reasonable. Sections cut are indicated in italics. To get the entire issue, click on the Subscription link just below.

Volume 7 Issue 3 Spring 1998

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Ears, Hearing, & Beyond Second AnnualCitizen's Conference, March 4th

by Linda Howarth Virginia Merrill Bloedel Center

Open to anyone interested in learning more about the ear, how to prevent hearing loss, coping strategies for hearing loss, and what's new in current research. Registration is free.

To help you better understand, the conference will use Real-Time Captioning. Assistive devices will be available. This is a broad ranging program with hopes of appealing to people of all levels of understanding and needs. Come and go as you wish. The exhibit room will be open all day.

Conference Program

8:15 am Doors Open

8:50 am Welcome

9:00 Structure of the Ear - Larry G Duckert, MD, Ph.D.

9:30 How We Hear - Susan J. Norton, Ph.D.

10:00 Causes of Hearing Loss - George A Gates, MD

10:30 Break

10:45 Ear Damage and Loud Sounds Sharon G. Kujawa, Ph.D.

11:15 Balance and Dizziness - George A Gates, MD

11:45 Questions and Answers

12:00 Lunch

1:30 New Developments in Hearing Aids - Tom S Rees, Ph.D

2:00 Coping Effectively with Your Hearing Loss - Jacqui Metzger, MSW

2:30 Cables & Cords: Plugging in Without Blowing Up - Sue E Sanborn, Ph.D. & Kevin Franck, PhC

3:00 Break

3:15 Genetics of Hearing Loss - Eric D. Lynch, Ph.D.

4:00 Inner Ear Hair Cell Regeneration Research - Edwin W Rubel, Ph.D.

4:30 Questions and Answers

There will be time during the breaks and at lunch to visit exhibits by

Cochlear Implant Manufacturers and others. There is a cafeteria in the building and there will be some tables available in the exhibit area for those who bring there own lunch. Beverages will be available throughout the day.

For a brochure about the conference, phone: 206-616-4105 or e-mail: Bloedel@u.washington.edu. (The brochure will include a map)

[Editor Note: Everyone receiving this newsletter by mail who lives in WA state will also receive a brochure shortly afterward. If you received this newsletter other than by mail, you will need to contact the center for the brochure with the map. We urge all of our Implant friends to attend this presentation. We think you will enjoy it. If there are certain subjects you are not interested in, you can spend that time in the exhibit area. If you know of someone with a hearing loss who might be interested in a cochlear implant, tell him or her that both Cochlear Corporation and Med-EL will be there. I had hoped that Advanced Bionics would also be there but they state they have other commitments and will not be able to come. This will give them a chance to talk directly to the manufacture. There will be assistive devices available for you to see. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Bring your friends along. We will see you all on March 14th.]

First Child in Area To Receive CI24
by Rick & Pam Whitmore Renton, WA

As you may remember, our daughter Kaylie (2 1/2) was implanted on September 5, 1997. She was the first child in this area to receive the Nucleus 24. She was born profoundly deaf in both ears. With the help of hearing aids she could detect some low frequency sounds, but high frequencies didn't even register. She has what is called a cormer audiogram. We are hoping to be able to share with you the results of her 3 months evaluation but unfortunately that is scheduled for January 16th, after your deadline. We can, however, share with you some of the things we have noticed thus far. Kaylie is a very vocal and social child, preoperatively she had begun to scream all the time to get our attention and communicate with us.

Since her implant we have noticed a huge improvement with the screaming! (Praise the Lord). Because of that alone we call the surgery a success. She now uses a very light pretty voice to jabber and has begun building a vocabulary of words. Her latest words are "I love you." which come out I ov ou. But we certainly will take that. We cannot wait to see and share with you her success in the future. One thing we would like to pass along to your readers regarding coverage from an insurance company is, do not take no for an answer, go all the way to the top. We were told that our plan did not cover an implant. After many phone calls by ourselves and Children's Medical Center we found out we could go before the review board in Spokane. We decided to do this and our Dr.'s and therapist started making videos to help support our case. Once the insurance company caught wind that we were going to fight they phoned and said it had been approved. Imagine that! We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest appreciation to the wonderful people at Children's and Listen and Talk who have gone above and beyond for Kaylie. Their care and expertise is incredible. Hopefully we can give a more complete report next time.

Successful First Year
by Shelly Larsen, Lewiston, ID

I have been hooked up to my Clarion C.I. since January 9, 1997. I was implanted by Dr. Neil Giddings of Spokane ENT on November 25th, exactly five months after suddenly losing my hearing due to an illness.

The year passed quickly while I recovered from illness and learned to hear again. I'm excited to report that little by little sounds and voices are becoming more natural and recognizable for me. One of my most exciting moments was during Thanksgiving holiday break. I was driving a car load of four of our children and three of my brothers when they began singing. I didn't pay much attention for it was dark and I couldn't lip-read what they were signing. Then suddenly I realized that they were singing "Jesus Loves Me." I asked them if I was right and they said "yes" and we sang the song together several more times as well as other familiar tunes.

This experience taught me a lot. For me, learning to use the implant has been a frustrating road because so much of what I hear now is noise. But I am now beginning to understand some of the noises better. The kids can talk to me from a near by room and ask or make a short statement and, many times, I will understand it. The dinner table is slowly getting easier for me too. We have a family of seven and this is our hour to catch up with each other. So now rather than several conversations going on at once, we try to take turns and listen to each other. In this situation, I have adapted better to the C.I. and learned to use it better. So my word of advice to new implantees is that learning to use and adapt to the C.I. is slow but very rewarding.

One tip I'd like to pass on to women is that I hook my processor on the inside of the wire support bras that I wear. I ordered a shorter cord and find it much more convenient to wear there than on my hip. Its works for me and I hope it will work for you. Gordon, thank you for publishing the inspiring letters you receive. Your time and effort you put forth is a blessing to many.

I have recently sent out a letter to over 40 friends and acquaintances telling them about the C.I. and asking them to contact me if they need more information about them for a family member or friend that may be hearing impaired. It seems like many people I have talked to know of someone who has a hearing problem. So I hope to be passing on your name and Dr. Giddings to people who need you as I did.

New Updated S- Series Clarion Implant
by Ginny Buckley, Seattle, WA

I was originally implanted with the Clarion device in November of 1996 at Virginia Mason by Dr. Alan Langman. I subsequently developed an infection that did not respond to conservative treatment with antibiotics and had to have that implant removed in April of 1997. The entire staff at Virginia Mason was totally supportive of me during this time. We had to wait for the implant site to heal before re-implantation in May of 1997. At that time I was given the updated S-series Clarion implant with the knowledge that a new updated processor would follow by the end of the year.

The mapping process with Suzanne Quigley began and I was surprised to find out that we did not have to start over again at square one. Suzanne was able to pretty much start where we had left off with the old implant. I was more familiar with the processor and better able to work with her with during the mapping. I continued to add new sounds to my repertoire. The environmental sounds were becoming clearer and easier to identify. I gained increased levels of comfort when out walking. I could hear cars approaching, cars starting up their engines in driveways, people walking up behind me. At home the phone, doorbell, microwave timer, the noisy beep of the computer, and all my squeaky hinges were all identifiable now. In conversations I continue to speech read, but not as much as before. I understand my grandchildren maybe 70 percent of the time and now can enjoy their laughter. at the first informational meeting that was held at Virginia Mason clinic in the large auditorium, I was able to understand all of what Suzanne said and most of what was said by the other people using the pocket talker instead of the regular microphone. The telephone itself, I need to look into new models as mine is an old rotary dial phone and not adapted for use with hearing aids or any amplification. I am able for short conversations to keep up with family members, but not enough to make it practical for all conversations. The new processor arrived on December first for me. It is more compact, not as long nor as heavy as the older model. The battery is the greatest thing. It is an enclosed battery and removes as one piece and slides and attaches across the bottom of the processor. You get a lot more bang for your buck with the battery.

With the old processor I had to recharge for eleven and a half hours and got eight to ten hours of life. With this newer processor I recharge for two and a half hours and get eleven to twelve hours of use. The charger is a "smart charger." IT knows when the battery is fully recharged and does not recharge for the whole two and a half hours if it is not needed.

The mapping process continues with Suzanne. I have one program to use for two weeks that has all the pitches incorporated into it. for the second two weeks I will try a program that deletes the two highest pitches that I find hard to listen to. The third program is for use in noisy background situations. When watching television, I find the newscasts the easiest to follow. The closed caption is distracting and I try to turn it off when practicing listening. I was able to follow along with the President's State of the Union address and able to understand about 90 percent of the words. When riding in a car, I have the other person with me wear the lapel mike and I am able to hear them quite well without having to look at them all the time. When not using the lapel microphone in the car, if I am the passenger, I do fairly well as my microphone and implant is on my left side.

People have asked if it has been worth the effort and energy it has taken for the implant and then the re-implantation. The answer is YES! I can enjoy the company of others and be a part of what is going on in the world and within my family. When I used hearing aids I would have a bone tired feeling at the end of the day. Trying to get along with the aides and speech reading was a very draining experience and made me feel like crawling into a hole at the end of the day. I did not want to be part of family get together as I felt isolated by my lack of hearing. The implants have changed that. I am more aware of my surroundings and feel more secure than I have for years.

Well Gordon, as usual feel free to do with this what you will. Thanks again for all your encouragement and help you extend to all of us in the quest for better hearing and understanding.

[Editor's note: see related article on telephone accessories, next column]

New Clarion Software
by Sandy DeQuesada, St. Paul, MN

The extended frequency software finally made it to my implant center last last week. I got it loaded on Tuesday. There isn't any significant, blatant change, but rather an overall subtle improvement in quality of sound.

One thing I've noticed is my batteries are lasting longer! These are old batteries (19 months) that were down to 7.5 to 8.5 hours. I didn't pay any attention yesterday, but today my pack lasted 10.5 hours. That made me stop to think about when I put in and changed batteries yesterday.

That one lasted about 10 hours. Has anyone else noticed their batteries lasting longer? I know the new software has the "efficient power set" (don't know what it's called) built into it, but haven't heard anyone comment on a noticeable difference in length of use.

And, last but not least, after reading the posts on music tonight, I went upstairs and plunked some keys and chords on the piano. I can hear the differences between the keys and the sharps/flats. I can also really hear a chord now. The piano sounds much more normal now with the extended frequency. Cool! I'm sure that has been something to do with it being extended down to 250, which is approximately where middle C is. I've been fortunate with my CI and love music, and often surprise myself at recognizing a song by the first few bars. Before, I liked the piano when others played it, but didn't like how it sounded when I played it - not natural/normal. Tonight, it really did sound good - at least for the few scales, chords, and random plunking I did.

Telephone Accessories

When Ginny was at my home the other evening she was telling me how she hated the suction cup type deal they gave her to use. She also hates to use the phone without any accessories because it is so unnatural to hold the headpiece back by the mike. I am in total agreement. While she has the Clarion and I have the Nucleus 22, we both have the same likes and dislikes. I also hate the suction cup and hate to use the phone without accessories. The new Clarion Processor has the same standard plug in as the Nucleus 22, CI24 and Med-EL. I assume you will be seeing more and more accessories that are common to all three.

I checked with Clarion users around the country and several told me that they use the Cochlear Corporation TL-102 with their Clarion. They also informed me that Vendor Dynametrics INC. has devices like the TL-102 available to use with the Clarion. The price is under $50 and you can order by their web site; www.dynametrics.com. or call 1-800-525-6925. Some people prefer the Tele-Link by Williams Sound. The TLP-102 has automatic amplification which I sometimes find too loud. The Tele-Link has a amplification device so you can control the sound level you require. It sells for about $85. If you live in the Seattle Area, you can check with the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center in Seattle. They have one available that you can go in and try. Or you can check with any assistive device store in your area.

Many implant users are finding the Audex Cordless phone as one of the best to use with the implant. I have had mine for over a year and cannot even imagine going back to the other systems. It is quite expensive, but to me, is well worth the cost. Again, if you live in the Seattle area, you can try one at the Hearing, Speech, and Deafness center in Seattle or check with the assistive store in your area.

What type phone do you use? What accessory do you use with it? Please give us the type of implant you have and the best phone and accessory for you and we will publish it in the next newsletter.

Congratulations New Implantees

First Med-EL in Seattle
Vicki Howard of Bellevue, WA was the first Med-EL in the Seattle area. There was one previous Med-EL in Spokane but we have had no contact from that person.

Vicki was first denied insurance coverage but fought back. The insurance company did agree to fund hers, as well as all others beginning January 1, 1998. Vicki's surgery was performed at Virginia Mason by Dr. Douglas Backous. She will be mapped by Suzanne Quigley, Ph.D. We expect to have her story in the next issue.

CI 24 for Reba
Reba Moen, Monroe, WA., was scheduled for surgery on January 22nd. Surgery was to take place at the University of Washington. Dr. George Gates was the surgeon. I have known Reba for about 7 years through SHHH and was very happy when she called me with the news. We expect to have her story in the next issue.

Child to Receive CI24
Madi Bradley, Port Angeles, 19 month old daughter of Rick & Tami Bradley, is scheduled to receive the CI24 at Children's Hospital in Seattle on February 10th. Surgery will be performed by Dr. Kathleen Sie.

Madi had normal hearing until Thanksgiving. At that time she developed pneumococal meningitis which resulted in a profound hearing loss in both ears. I know what it is like for us as adults to suddenly lose what hearing we have and how frustrating it is. I can not even imagine the frustration Madi must be feeling. I can imagine the excitement in that home in March when she is programmed.

All of us have high hopes that Madi will once again return to the world of sound. Her mom promises to write an article for us for the next newsletter.

Herschel receives Clarion
Herschel David, Port Orchard, WA was implanted in November at the Virginia Mason Medical Center by Dr. Douglas Backous. He received his mapping by Suzanne Quigley, Ph.D. on December 8th. We hope to hear from him soon.

Young Boy received Clarion
Tran Anderson, son of Pat Anderson, Port Angeles was implanted at Virginia Mason in October by Dr. Backous and was mapped in November by Suzanne Quigley Ph.D. We wish the family success.

Judy Selects Clarion
Judy Boyd, Portland, OR. was recently implanted at Virginia Mason by Dr. Douglas Backous. Suzanne Quigley, Ph.D. will be doing the mapping. We hope to hear from her soon.

David Selects CI24
David Burlingame, Bremerton, WA will be implanted on February 23rd at the University of Washington by Dr. George Gates. David was born hearing impaired so hearing sounds will be a new experience for him. We wish him success and will be looking for an update for our next newsletter.

Calling all Parents
by Suzanne Labry, Austin TX

Your help is needed to develop a booklet for parents of young deaf children who are strongly considering, or who have already obtained, a cochlear implant for their child. The objective is to provide information that will help parents cope with the emotional stresses imposed by a newly implanted child.

The results will be published in book form and will offer practical "parent-tested" tips in lay terms on what to expect and do after the surgery is over. The booklet will be offered to parents free of charge. If you would be willing to participate in a survey to gather information for this purpose, please contact
Suzanne Labry, 4001 Avenue H, Austin, Texas 78751.

Parents of Implanted Children Support Group
by Karen Biernat, Bristol, CT

I am happy to announce that another parent and I have started an e-mail circle for parents of children with cochlear implants. The purpose of our circle is to provide support to parents of children with implants and to parents who are considering implants for their children. We currently have 24 parents in our group. At this time we cannot offer automatic subscription to our list (still looking for a listserv provider) so each new member must contact me directly at: misku@snet.net.

Enjoying Spectra
by Eunice Borg, St. George, UT

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your informative newsletter. I have had my Spectra 22 for 3 years now and I am so grateful I can hear and understand as well as I do. I encourage everyone I know with severe hearing problems to have the implant. I am able to communicate on the telephone and understand most of what I hear.

Occasionally the static is a problem, but for the most part it is great and my friends and family are grateful I can hear them. I am able to hear and enjoy some music and that is a definite plus. I am looking forward to improvements in the future. Thank you again for the time and efforts you put forth in our behalf.

BEAMformer Reports
M. June Knudson, Roy, UT. Writes

When I first wrote to you, I really didn't know if I would keep it or not. But the more I used it (and I don't think that 30 days is enough time to know if it is going to benefit you or not) the more I enjoyed hearing better than I have for quite some time. From time to time, I would use the old cord that I have before without the BEAMformer (B.F.) and could immediately tell the difference.

My husband and I like to go dancing and the first time I went with the BEAMformer I told him I was going to go home and send it back. But knowing the way it takes time to get used to any new device, I decided to give it a try. So have used it about four times now going dancing and, although I still can't tell what tune the orchestra is playing, I hear the beat so much better and can carry on a fairly intelligent conversation with those whom whom I dance.

Now for the bad part. (There always has to be a bad part.) Anyway, I really dislike all the cords coming from the B.F. and of course, the length of the batteries. I did get a chargeable battery unit for the B.F. but have never quite gotten them to coordinate with how long I can wait for the battery. As a result I am still using a set of AA batteries every day which you know is very expensive. But hopefully I will get it altogether soon so I can use that also.

I was wondering why they couldn't include the B.F. information into the Nucleus 22 cochlear implant. It would save a lot of expense and trouble and would help us all to hear much better.

I was reading about the B.F. in the latest issue of SHHH magazine. It is just amazing to me how they keep inventing new things to help us hear better. A few years ago people like us who lost their hearing late in life had no hope of hearing again and now have so many opportunities to do so.

I really appreciate all the Dr. and researchers and audiologists who spend so much time in our behalf trying new things to help us hear better. I feel really blessed to be able to be hearing all that I do. Every time I put my implant on in the morning, I never cease to marvel at this wonderful invention.

So there is my thoughts on the B.F. and I enjoy your paper so much. Thank you for all you do for all of us. We all learn from each other. Hearing how the new implantees feel takes me back quite a few years to when I first got mine I can say to each and every one of you. Just hang in there and it will only get better.

Lyn Morton, Toronto writes:
This is the week when I must decide whether or not to keep the BEAMformer so I'm really weighing the pros and con of it.

On the pro side it really does help me to hear better in noisy places. I feel much more confident walking into places I would've dreaded entering before. I visit noisy classrooms and can have a half decent conversation with the teacher. It's not perfect and if there's noise coming from behind the person I'm listening to, I pick that up even on program #4. I like the #3 program at my office where there's usually a lot of talk going on. I used to turn my sensitivity way down unless someone specifically wanted to talk to me. Now I can leave it up and feel much more a part of the group I got a good test of it when I met a friend with an N22 but no BEAMformer for coffee. I could hear her easily while she was frustrated by all the background noise in the coffee shop.

On the con side I find the added bulk of the device difficult to conceal and often uncomfortable to wear. It uses batteries like crazy. I sometimes walk about in a "cocoon" after forgetting to reset the program back to 2. ( I never use #1). I often wear the two devices side by side rather than piggy back. It produces less bulge around my waist that way. I sometimes take the second mic off my ear and place it close to a speaker to hear the TV or radio better.

I find that I'm becoming rather dependent on it. I'd like to go for a day without it -just to compare- but I just can't leave home without it Guess I'll have to keep it.

Emily Mandelbaum, Seattle, writes:
I've had my BEAMformer for just 2 weeks. Initially I was shocked by two things - first, the terrible battery life. I was getting about 6 hours, using 4 batteries per day. Since then it has been more variable and I am keeping a record for different battery brands -Panasonic, Duracell and Energizer so far For the 2 brands with self testers I always find they show 50-80 power remaining when the BEAMformer shuts down. I'm not sure, though, how accurate those self testers are.

The second shock was the way the BEAMformer changed sound. It was louder, especially on program #1. It seemed less balanced and sounds that were comfortable using the processor alone (like crinkling paper) bothered me. I previously set the sensitivity at 3 or 3 1/2. I now usually keep it at 2 1/2 or 3.

After 2 weeks wearing the BEAMformer all the time, I am beginning to appreciate its value. I use program #1 when the speaker is on the side of the implant but I turn the volume down. I use program #2 most of the time. Getting sounds from both sides of my head is wonderful.

My experience with programs #3 and #4 gets better as I gain more experience. They do cut out sound somewhat like the S setting, but not as much. I finally realized that the key to using programs #3 and #4 is to position one's head precisely in front of the speaker, especially with program #4.

Sitting next to someone in a bus, it did not work well unless I turned to face the speaker head on. Unless one is in the correct position, full benefit of the beam is not available. The volume controls are very helpful for TV listening. Otherwise I haven't yet learned how to best use them.

A few nights ago I had my first successful restaurant experience with the BEAMformer (eating with 3 other people). The restaurant was moderately noisy and I certainly didn't get 100% but I was never out of the conversation. My previous visit to that restaurant (with processor alone) was much more difficult. Wearing it is a nuisance, cords tangle every time I put it on or take it off. I partially solved that problem by braiding the cords together with strands of elasticized thread. I liked to wear the processor in a vest pocket where I could use a shorter cord and it was never an obstruction.

But most vest pockets are too small for the combined devices. Even when the pockets are big enough, the processor and BEAMformer weigh down the vest and make me look lopsided. I called Cochlear to ask if I might purchase a long cord to connect the BEAMformer and processor. I could thread such a cord through loops sewn inside the back of my vests. Then I could wear the BEAMformer in one pocket and the processor in the other.

Sergio Martinez, Seattle, writes:
I have had the Audallion BEAMformer for about two weeks now. There are four different settings. I very rarely use the first setting, which is just normal speech processor (spectra 22) operation with the one microphone on the implant side. I only use it when I'm on the phone without a phone adapter. In setting two, the second microphone on the other ear is activated. It's definitely good to hear from both sides of my head, like when I'm out walking with someone. I don't have to turn my head as much to hear the person optimally, or keep him/her on my implant side I am on setting two nearly all the time.

The third and fourth settings generate wide and narrow angle beams, respectively. There's no question people sound louder within the beam than when I face away and put them to the side, outside the beam. This effect is absent or barely apparent in setting two. I've tried the beam in noisy restaurants, a bar, on the bus, etc. It's definitely improved my listening comprehension in face-to-face conversations in most of these situations. Each beam also decreases the overall sound level, the narrow more than the wide. It's usually fine for the wide beam. Somehow, cranking up the volume (when needed, and using the BEAMformer controls) didn't seem to work as well as for the narrow beam. It seemed the narrow beam was better only in the noisiest situations.

I think the BEAMformer effect might be modest compared to having the speaker talk directly into a directional mike a few inches from the mouth. But it does makes listening in noise less stressful.

The BEAMformer uses two AAA batteries. When the AAA batteries get low, I hear the voice say 'one'. The BEAMformer drops to the first setting and doesn't respond if I try to change the setting. The voice doesn't say 'two', 'three', or 'four'. Silence comes afterwards in a few minutes as the batteries discharge further.

Now I had one or two batteries to change at different times, a minor pain! I have found that if I just change all three first thing in the morning, I don't have any more batteries dropping dead during the day. I prefer discarding partially discharged batteries, than have them drop dead during meetings with my boss or in conversations. In the past, this happened many times. One ironic moment was when the Fed Ex package arrived containing the BEAMformer. When the delivery person knocked on my door, the spectra 22 battery dropped dead the next instant!

The BEAMformer kit comes with a couple of clips for the two microphone cords. I use one of then to clip them together at the back of my neck. This does a good job of keeping them close to the skin. My only complaint about the BEAMformer is one common for hearing devices: the cost! $2,000 was just the introductory price. I hope the cost drops as the BEAMformer technology comes into general use in other ALD's, and maybe even hearing aids themselves. My advice for the Audallion is to take advantage of the 30 day trial period and experiment with different settings in different listening situations.

Joyce McDaniel, Port Angeles, writes:
Gordon re the BEAMformer--I think I am happy with it, I only use the 2,3,4 settings: #2 or 3 I like in the car, quiets the road noise. During a regular day in our office or home I always use #1, I am still "playing" with it at meetings or large groups trying to figure out which setting is best.

My big complaint is the battery life. I finally went to Costco and got 3 pkgs. One package has twice the batteries that the reg. Payless had and is about the same price so I saved some. I find if I put new batteries in the BEAMformer each morning when I put in a newly recharged processor one, they last all day and maybe part of the next.

Another problem, maybe more for women than men, is the bulk now. I don't always wear a belt, or have a pocket that is handy. Dresses without front openings and a belt are impossible--I have several I haven't been able to wear because there is no way to keep the device handy and get the cords out of the way so I don't get caught in them and pull them. Maybe other women have a better way.

Even right now typing, the processor and BEAMformer are fastened to a scarf around my waist under a sweatshirt, but my arm is brushing against them. Just sort of in the way and bulky. Ask others how they handle this.

Gordon Nystedt, Kent
Several of our readers have tried the BEAMformer and I only know of one who returned hers. She states that it was not due to dissatisfaction but her schedule did not allow her to experiment now but would try later.

There are a couple of things that have surfaced. One is the Pouch. Does anyone know of someone who designs pouches and would be interested in making them for those interested? The second item is Women do have a much more difficult time. Maybe with a redesigned pouch and a longer connecting cord, the problem could be solved. We would like to hear from all women who are wearing it and how they overcome the problem when not using a belt. The deadline for trial has been extended to March 31st. If you have not tried it and are thinking you might, please contact Cochlear Corporation before the trial period expires. I asked Cochlear Corporation to file a claim with Medicare to see if they would pay. I called Medicare yesterday as I have heard nothing. They said the request was denied. I did have a problem. One day I took off the BEAMformer for few minutes to change clothes. When I put it back on I heard a continue loud noise like a siren. I immediately notified Cochlear Corporation.

Their response was fantastic. They had another one on the way to me immediately. When I got it and tried it, I got the same noise. Then when I replaced one of the cords it cleared up. So I recommend all of you get another spare cord (the long one) just in case you face the same thing. I never dreamed how attached I have become to the BEAMformer, especially with noisy backgrounds. Anyone who does try the BEAMformer needs to remember you cannot test it in one day. It does take time.

Thanks to all of you for your report. This will end our report on the BEAMformer unless some exciting new information surfaces.

Listen for Life Center Established at Virginia Mason Medical Center
Douglas Backous, M.D., Director, Listen For Life Center
Suzanne Quigley, Ph.D., Director, Cochlear Implant Program

The Section of Otolaryngology/Audiology at Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) is pleased to announce the establishment of the Listen for Life Center. The Center provides comprehensive services for the one-in-four families in our region who live with hearing loss. Services established now include: comprehensive diagnostic hearing testing services for all ages; the largest and most established cochlear implant center in the Northwest; a large hearing aid dispensary, which incorporates the latest technology; FM system and other assistive listening device demonstration center and sales; real-time captioning for patients with hearing loss during any clinic visit; workshops on a variety of topics relating to hearing loss and to assist our patients in maximizing their hearing aids or other devices. We will utilize telemedicine hookups around the region to better serve those who are unable to come to our Seattle campus.

In March, we will be rounding out our pediatric services by adding a pediatric rehabilitation audiologist, Hyla Dobaj. Hyla joins us from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where she has gained a wealth of expertise helping children with cochlear implants reach their auditory, language and learning potential. Hyla will be a resource for serving as an advocate for children with hearing loss in the schools, provide assessment and outreach in the community and provide on-site auditory therapy and cued-speech instruction. She be a great asset to the community! She will complement the staff of 8 certified and licensed audiologists and 2 speech-language pathologists who are already a part of the Listen For Life Center. To learn more about our Center or to schedule an appointment please call 206-223-8802 (voice) or 206-223-6362 (TTY).

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