Bilateral or bimodal, which is better?


I have been musing on which is better bilateral or bimodal.

At present I am bimodal, I have the MedEl implant in my right ear and a hearing aid in the left ear. In theory the hearing aid helps the implant with more rounded sound and especially with the lower frequencies that implants are not so good at.  Now I have residual hearing in my implanted ear so I hear the low noises the old fashioned way using my ear drum, ossicles and cochlea. The left ear hears almost everything through the hearing aid apart from a tiny amount of sound that gets through the vent on the hearing aid mould.  I really don’t like the quality of sound that I get on my hearing aids. The low frequencies are painful and reverberate on my ear drum and what happens is that I turn the volume right  down to try to get rid of this noise.  I’ve tried my Siemens Centra SP aid and my older Phonak Savia 311 and both have disadvantages and both have the same problem with the low frequencies. I think what I need to do is find a good hearing aid audiologist who can maybe adjust them a little I have had the Siemens tweaked to take down the high frequency sounds which did make it more comfortable. I did wonder about wearing the hearing aid and the implant in the same ear but I only have one pinna to hang the thing behind so that’s a little awkward.

Now, bilateral, an implant in each side. What disadvantages are there to being bilateral? I suspect that when a hearing aid doesn’t really five you any more advantages then the bilateral route is best.  Not that I currently have that choice but maybe one day.

Any thoughts? experiences?


5 responses »

  1. I don’t have an opinion to offer on bilateral or bimodal but I couldn’t overlook your use of the phrase “so I hear the old fashioned way using ear drum, ossicles and cochlea”. Loved it, Mog. Take care.

  2. I love, love, love being bilateral. The only disadvantages are pretty much the same disadvantages that could occur with just one (surgical problems, tinnitus, failure, etc.) and I guess greater costs. I am still having somme problems with pain on my 2nd CI ear, but I don’t regret getting it for a minute because it has helped me hear so much better! I wrote a series of blog posts on my bilateral experience. Check ’em out, if you haven’t already.

  3. Interesting to see that you say that the CI is not so good at the lower frequencies. That is exactly what I am finding – but thought it was just me being slow to ‘learn’ these sounds. High frequencies nae bother at all but I’m still missing out on the lower frequencies in speech. I have to confess that for something important (like talking to the doctors when mum was in hospital) that I wore my hearing aid in the other ear – which I’ve been told not to do for the first few months. Having said that, I did find that it helped the implanted ear to recognise certain sounds – does that make sense?!

    • Interesting how different centres have differing opinions. I was told to wear my hearing aid, it would support the CI and keep that ear working on the if you don’t use it you lose it principle. If I ever get to have a 2nd implant then that ear will still have been working.

      I have tried the hearing aid and implant in the same ear and this combo works the best, but as I said I just dont have space on my head for everything.

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