In his latest TECH Talk, Bill Shapiro Au.D., Supervising Audiologist of the NYU Cochlear Implant Center, discusses the importance of thinking ‘Beyond One Ear’.
Dr. Shapiro explains that evolving candidacy criteria and technology development mean that professional understanding and patient counseling regarding either a bilateral or bimodal solution is critical to maximizing patient outcomes.
Focusing on the experience of his patient, Dr. Shapiro describes the case of a unilateral Nucleus™ implant recipient who was fitted with a ReSound hearing aid on the contralateral side (known as a Cochlear™ Smart Bimodal solution) Over the course of the first year, the patient continued to experience improved outcomes, including a ‘bimodal bump’ from the hearing aid. Recently she started to have reduced performance on the non-implanted side, so Dr. Shapiro will soon see her for a sequential evaluation and expects she will likely move to a bilateral implant. He feels this is a reasonable progression and that professionals and patients should always consider how to maximize the performance of both ears.
Dr. Shapiro continues on to suggest that audiologists should refer anyone that may be a candidate to a cochlear implant center, stressing that even patients with one better ear may benefit from a cochlear implant. “You cannot over-refer,” says Dr. Shapiro, reinforcing that with expanding criteria and developing technology, cochlear implantation should be considered as a treatment pathway.